Soccer is a beautiful game enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and sizes. It’s a sport where the magic lies in the blend of skill, strategy, and technique rather than the physical stature of the players.
Yet, the curiosity about the height of soccer players, especially in relation to their positions, remains an intriguing topic for many.
Let’s delve into this topic and explore the average height of soccer players based on their positions in 2023.
We’ll also discuss if taller players have an advantage or if technical ability, tactical awareness, and mental toughness are more crucial for success.
Average Height in Soccer for Each Position:
The average height of soccer players can vary significantly depending on their position. Here are the average heights for some common soccer positions:
- Goalkeepers: 6’2″ to 6’4″
- Defenders: 6’0″ to 6’2″
- Midfielders: 5’8″ to 5’11”
- Forwards: 6’0″ to 6’2″
Goalkeepers: A professional football goalkeeper’s height ranges from 6’2″ to 6’4. Their height allows them to cover as much of the goal as possible in order to save shots.
Defenders: A professional football defender’s height ranges from 6’0″ to 6’2″. Defenders are usually taller than normal players but not as tall as goalkeepers because they must win aerial duels and provide protection against offensive players.
Midfielders: A professional midfielder’s height ranges from 5’8″ to 5’11”. Players who manage the speed of the game and link defence to attack are typically taller, standing 5’10” to 5’11”.
Wingers and attacking midfielders, who are more focused on scoring goals, are typically shorter, with an average height of 5’8″ to 5’10”.
Forwards: Forwards are taller than normal field players because they must be able to win headers and constitute a danger in the box. In professional football, the typical forward is between 6’0″ and 6’2″.
Overall, the average height of soccer players varies based on their roles on the field, with each position requiring specific physical attributes to excel.
Average Height of a Professional Soccer Player
The average height of football players in top leagues ranges from 5’11” to 6’0″. Here are the average heights for some top professional soccer leagues:
- English Premier League: 5’11” to 6’0″
- La Liga (Spain): 5’10” to 5’11”
- Serie A (Italy): 5’9″ to 5’11”
- Bundesliga (Germany): 5’11” to 6’0″
- Ligue 1 (France): 5’10” to 5’11”
Average Height of Female Soccer Players
The average height of a female soccer player is around 5’5″ to 5’7″. Here are the heights of a few famous female professional soccer players:
- Alex Morgan (USA): 5’7″
- Marta (Brazil): 5’6″
- Sam Kerr (Australia): 5’6″
- Ada Hegerberg (Norway): 5’9″
- Christine Sinclair (Canada): 5’9″
Does Height Matter in Soccer?
Height can be a factor in soccer, but it is not the only determining factor for success. While taller players may have an advantage in aerial challenges and set pieces, shorter players can have advantages in dribbling, agility, and quickness.
Ultimately, the overall combination of physical attributes, technical ability, tactical awareness, and mental toughness make a successful soccer player.
Advantages of Being Tall in Soccer
Being tall in soccer can offer a few distinct advantages:
Taller players have an inherent advantage in winning balls in the air. This is particularly beneficial in scenarios where defenders, who are usually taller, find goal-scoring opportunities near the net.
2. Leg Length:
Longer legs can aid in winning and controlling the ball. Taller players can reach balls more easily, benefiting both attack and defence.
3. Physical Presence:
Taller players frequently have a larger frame and higher physical strength, which can give them an advantage in physical one-on-one contests for the ball. They may hold off opponents and win more 50-50 balls, particularly in the final third.
4. Reach (Goalkeepers):
A greater reach can make a significant difference for goalkeepers. Taller goalkeepers can cover a larger area, making scoring harder for opponents.
5. Long-Range Passing and Shooting:
Taller players frequently have longer legs, which allows them to pass and shoot from a greater distance. They may be able to hit long passes with greater accuracy or fire from a greater distance, giving them a more dangerous threat from a distance.
6. Defensive Ability:
Taller players can be good defenders since their height makes it more difficult for opponents to get around them. They may be able to stop shots or crosses, or make it more difficult for opponents to find space in the box.
Disadvantages of Being a Tall Soccer Player
Despite the advantages, being tall in soccer also comes with some disadvantages:
1. Speed and Agility:
Taller players might struggle with speed and agility compared to their shorter counterparts. This can be a disadvantage in a sport where quick movements and changes in direction are crucial.
2. Ball Control:
Taller players might also have a harder time controlling the ball, especially when moving at high speeds or under pressure from opponents.
Taller players might struggle with maintaining balance, especially during quick changes in direction or when colliding with other players.
Advantages of Being a Short Soccer Player:
There must be some advantages because some of the greatest soccer players in history have been on the shorter side. Despite their height, short players can excel in soccer due to several advantages:
Shorter players often have a speed advantage, especially in terms of acceleration. This can be particularly beneficial during quick bursts of action.
2. Low Centre of Gravity:
Shorter Players typically have a lower centre of gravity, which might help them be more agile and quick to shift directions. Dribbling, making rapid rotations, and dodging aggressive defenders can be a tremendous advantage.
4. Ball control:
Shorter players may have superior ball and body control because they may have less ground to cover with their feet. They may become more skilled at dribbling and ball handling as a result, which will help them avoid defenders.
5. Ability to Hide Behind Defenders:
Shorter players may hide behind taller defenders, making it harder for their opponents to mark them. This might be useful when making offensive rushes into the box or attempting to receive passes in small spaces.
Disadvantages of Being a Short Soccer Player
However, being short in soccer also has its drawbacks:
1. Aerial Duels:
Shorter players are at a disadvantage when it comes to winning headers, especially during set pieces like corner kicks.
2. Physical Duels:
Taller and stronger opponents might have an advantage in physical duels, potentially outmuscling shorter players.
Shorter players have a shorter reach, which can be a disadvantage when trying to intercept passes or tackle opponents.
Despite these advantages and disadvantages, it’s important to remember that a player’s height does not solely determine success in soccer. Skills, tactics, and teamwork play a significant role in determining the outcome of a match.
Ideal Soccer Height
The ideal height for a soccer player can vary greatly depending on the position they play. For instance, goalkeepers and central defenders often benefit from being taller, as this can give them an advantage when it comes to reaching high balls.
On the other hand, shorter players often excel in positions such as central midfielders and wingers, where agility and quick changes of direction can be more important than height.
Shortest Professional Soccer Players
The world of soccer is not just for the tall and physically imposing. Some of the most skilful players in the world are surprisingly short. Here are the top 10 shortest professional soccer players active in 2023:
- Marcin Garuch – Poland, Height: 5’0″ (153 cm)
- Elton Jose Xavier Gomes – Al Qadsiah FC, Brazil, Height: 5’0″ (154 cm)
- Daniel Villalva – Ferro Carril Oeste, Argentina, Height: 5’0″ (155 cm)
- Maximiliano Moralez – Racing Club de Avellaneda, Argentina, Height: 5’2″ (160 cm)
- Lorenzo Insigne – MLS (Toronto FC), Italy, Height: 5’3″
- Marco Verratti -PSG, Italy, Height: 5’4″
- Mathieu Valbuena -Apollon Limassol FC, France, Height: 5’5″
- Joe Allen – Swansea City, Wales, Height: 5’5″
- Alexis Sanchez – Marseille, Chile, Height: 5’5″
- Xherdan Shaqiri – Chicago Fire, Switzerland, Height: 5’5″
Can Tall Players Dribble?
Yes, tall players can indeed dribble, and depending on their skill set, they can excel at it. While taller players typically won’t be as adept at dribbling as smaller players, that doesn’t mean they can’t be effective.
For example, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who stands at 6’5″, is known for his exceptional dribbling skills despite his height. The key is to leverage their height and strength to protect the ball and use their long strides to cover ground quickly.
Positions of Tall Soccer Players
Tall soccer players often find themselves in positions where height can be an advantage.
This typically includes positions like the goalkeeper, where a taller player can cover more of the goal, and central defenders, where height can be beneficial for winning headers and clearing high balls.
- Goalkeeper: Goalkeepers need to be tall in order to cover as much of the goal as possible. They also need to be able to reach high balls and make saves.
- Center Back: Center backs are responsible for defending the goal and clearing the ball. They need to be tall and strong in order to win aerial challenges and defend against attackers.
- Striker: Strikers are responsible for scoring goals. They need to be tall in order to win headers and reach high balls. They also need to be strong and have good jumping ability.
Positions of Short Soccer Players:
Short soccer players often excel in positions that require agility, quick changes of direction, and close ball control. These positions often include central midfielders and wingers. Despite their lack of height, these players can often use their low center of gravity and quickness to their advantage, allowing them to navigate through tight spaces and escape taller defenders.
- Winger: Wingers are responsible for providing width and crossing the ball into the box. They need to be short and agile in order to dribble past defenders and create chances.
- Midfielder: Midfielders are responsible for linking the defense and attack. They need to be short and quick in order to cover a lot of ground and make interceptions.
- Attacking Midfielder: Attacking midfielders are responsible for creating chances and scoring goals. They need to be short and agile in order to dribble past defenders and create chances.
Do Taller Teams Have More Success?
While it might seem logical to assume that taller teams would have an advantage in soccer, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Take Barcelona’s 2008-09 season, for instance, when they had an average height of 179.08 and achieved great success. On the other hand, Manchester City, currently at the bottom in average height, won the premiership and champions league in the 2022-23 season. These teams have shown that it is possible to be successful without having a team full of tall players.
Ultimately, Soccer is a game that requires a mix of physical attributes, including speed, strength, agility, and coordination, and height is just one factor among many.
A well-balanced team that can effectively utilize the unique skills and attributes of all its players, regardless of their height, is likely to be more successful.
Are Taller Players Referred Differently?
In soccer, it’s often tougher to determine the amount of contact on a bigger player compared to a smaller one.
Taller players sometimes feel the need to exaggerate calls to get a foul. If a smaller player doesn’t really move them when making contact, they are never going to get any calls.
They still are entitled to their positioning when fighting for a spot. So, while there’s no explicit difference in how referees treat taller players, the physical dynamics of the game can lead to some perceived differences.
How Tall is Ronaldo in Feet?
Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most famous soccer players in the world, stands nearly 6-foot-2, or precisely 6 feet, 1.62 inches according to Heightpedia.
This puts him taller than the average height of 6 feet for players at the 2018 World Cup. Despite his height, Ronaldo is known for his incredible agility and speed, demonstrating that being tall does not necessarily limit a player’s mobility on the field.
Are Soccer Players Short?
While many short soccer players have achieved great success in the sport, it would be inaccurate to say that soccer players are generally short.
The average height of men playing in the last World Cup was 6 feet, which is taller than the average American male.
The height of a soccer player can vary greatly depending on their position, with goalkeepers and central defenders often being among the tallest players on a team, and midfielders and wingers often being shorter.
Summing Up on Average Soccer Player Height
The average Soccer player height is around 5‘11“ (181cm). Despite standing under 5’7, the likes of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona have dazzled the world with their extraordinary skills, proving that height is not a definitive factor for success in soccer.
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo, at 6’2″, shows that height doesn’t limit skills. Sergio Aguero, 173 cm tall, is Manchester City’s top scorer. Soccer isn’t all about height.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that height alone does not define a player’s success in soccer. Instead, the focus lies on technical ability, tactical awareness, and physical attributes like speed, agility, and strength.
A player’s overall combination of these factors and mental toughness plays a pivotal role in determining their success in the game. As a result, soccer is a sport in which talent and skill dominate over height.
So, whether you’re tall like Peter Crouch or short like Lionel Messi, remember that in soccer, the size of your heart and the strength of your skills truly count!