What is the Average Height of Soccer Players?
What is the average height of soccer players? The average height of a professional soccer player varies depending on the position they play. In general, the average height of a male professional soccer player is around 5’8″ to 6’2″.
It’s worth noting that someone’s height is not the only factor that determines a player’s ability, and many successful soccer players, such as Lionel Messi, are relatively short compared to the average player.
In the game of soccer, what is more important is a player’s technical ability, tactical awareness, and physical attributes such as speed, agility, and strength.
Soccer is a fairly different sport from, let’s say, basketball, where a player’s build and height can play a significant role. In fact, the average height of an NBA player is 6’7” which is less than 1% of the U.S. population!
In this article, let’s focus on soccer the average height by soccer position.
Average Height of Soccer Players by Position
As briefly mentioned earlier, a player’s height often determines the position and role of the player.
Goalkeepers tend to be somewhat taller since their main goal is to cover the goal as much as possible in order to save shots.
On the other hand, an attacking midfielder is typically of average height for a male.
As a fun breakdown, let’s take a quick look at an average height by position:
|Forwards||6’0″ to 6’2″|
|Midfielders||5’8″ to 5’11”|
|Defenders||6’0″ to 6’2″|
|Goalkeepers||6’2″ to 6’4″|
- Goalkeepers: The average height of a professional soccer goalkeeper is around 6’2″ to 6’4″. There have been many successful goalkeepers throughout history who are shorter, such as Pedro Benítez and Marcelo Barovero, so it’s important to remember that height is just one of the many factors that can contribute to a goalkeeper’s success.
- Defenders: The average height of a professional soccer defender is around 6’0″ to 6’2″. Defenders typically are taller than the average player, but not as tall as goalkeepers, as they need to be able to win aerial duels and provide cover against attacking players.
- Midfielders: The average height of a professional midfielder is around 5’8″ to 5’11”. Players who are responsible for controlling the tempo of the game and linking defense to attack, tend to be taller, with an average height of around 5’10” to 5’11”. Wingers and attacking midfielders, who are more focused on creating scoring opportunities, tend to be a bit shorter, with an average height of around 5’8″ to 5’10”.
- Forwards: Forwards tend to be taller than the average field player, as they need to have the aerial ability to win headers and pose a threat in the box. With this said, the average forward in professional soccer is around 6’0″ to 6’2″.
Advantages of Being Shorter in Soccer
In soccer, being shorter has its advantages, such as:
- Low center of gravity: Shorter players tend to have a lower center of gravity, which can make them more agile and able to change direction very quickly. This can be a huge advantage when dribbling, making quick turns, and avoiding aggressive defenders.
- Greater speed and acceleration: Shorter players may be lighter and have shorter strides, which can make them quicker off the mark and more agile. This can be advantageous when making short sprints or bursting through small gaps in the defense. This is especially true in the midfield area of the pitch.
- Better ball and body control: Shorter players may have better control of the ball, as they may have a smaller area to cover with their feet. This can make them better at dribbling and ball control, allowing them to maneuver around defenders more easily. Also, shorter players typically have better body control as they can adjust when they are getting bumped.
- Ability to hide behind defenders and make cleaner runs: Shorter players may be able to hide behind taller defenders, making it more difficult for opponents to mark them. This can be advantageous when making offensive runs into the box or trying to receive passes in tight spaces.
Advantages of Being Taller in Soccer
Being taller in soccer can also have its advantages, including:
- Aerial ability: Taller players have an advantage in the air, which can be useful when defending against crosses, taking corner kicks or scoring headers. Their height can allow them to reach balls that shorter players cannot, giving them an advantage in the air.
- Physical presence: Taller players often have a larger frame and greater physical strength, which can give them an advantage in physical one-on-one battles for the ball. They may be able to hold off defenders and win more 50-50 balls, especially in the final third.
- Long-range passing and shooting: Taller players often have longer legs, which can give them a longer range of passing and shooting. They may be able to hit long passes with more accuracy or shoot from farther out, making them more of a threat from distance. This is emphasized as players play out of the backfield and start counterattacks.
- Defensive ability: Taller players can be effective defenders, as their height can make it more difficult for opponents to get past them. They may be able to block shots or crosses, or make it more difficult for opponents to find space in the box.
Conclusion About Soccer Height
Honestly, height in soccer doesn’t matter as much as other sports. For example, it is a big advantage to be 6’8” in basketball. In fact, you don’t see too many players under 6’0” in the NBA.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t teach height.”? It’s true. It’s something you are born with so the focus for soccer players should be skill development, strength training (at older ages), and mindset.
Many youth soccer coaches in the U.S. are finally realizing that having great skills is more important than simply being bigger than everyone else. Some players develop earlier than others which creates an advantage but it all levels out as they get older.
I hope this article helps give you a perspective on height in soccer and the advantages of being shorter and taller!
The average female soccer player is between 5’5″ and 5’7″.
Honestly, height can be an advantage in some aspects of soccer, such as winning aerial duels and defending set pieces. However, being tall is not a requirement to excel in soccer. In fact, there are many pros with being shorter and more agile in soccer. I think a player’s ability to read the game, make quick decisions, and work well with their teammates is more important than their height.