Call him a cherry picker, a goal hanger, or just call him lazy. Either way, this guy is a classic.
Annoying, in fact extremely so. But a classic nonetheless.
He is one of those rare players on a soccer field that can unite both opponents and teammates alike in mutual contempt (the other guy is John Terry).
And he is a beast totally unique to rec league or pick-up soccer.
He needs little introduction because we have all run into this guy, and he finds his way to plenty of basketball and hockey games as well.
Urban Dictionary (which also gives us the excellent synonym ‘Cheesy Domper’) defines him thusly:
A centre forward in the game of football (soccer) who does nothing all game except stand within 6 yards of the goal to score easy goals.
Now, in competitive soccer, you won’t really find a goal hanger. You might find a goal poacher, but he is different simply due to the fact that he must master one skill that the cherry picker is blissfully ignorant of: the offside rule.
If you’re playing pick-up or in a rec league with a shortened field (5v5, 6v6, etc.) chances are the offside rule does not apply, allowing the goal hanger to flourish with his natural behavior.
Don’t get me wrong, this guy could have some actual skill, but he only chooses to utilize it within a 25 foot radius.
He also doesn’t play defense, and will never set up a teammate on purpose. He’s got to make the most of his 90 total seconds of possession, you know?
A lot of the time this is an aging, or overweight, or aging and overweight person, but the reality is you become a cherry picker by choice.
And there is little you can do (within the rules) to combat his style of play. If the rules of the league/absence of rules allow it, it’s fair game.
You could leave someone on your team back to deal with him, but then that just ruins the game for that poor soul as well. He’s a paradoxical “negative” football player who only plays offense. The “anti-Stoke” but just as ugly.
In the end he’s not going to win a popularity or style contest, or any friends really.
But he just might win a match. And that’s all he’s really there for, no matter how insignificant a match it truly is.