Soccer is a sport that requires stamina, quickness, and constant motion. One question that often arises among fans and players alike is, “how many miles do soccer players run in a game?” This query opens up a world of analysis, shedding light on the physical demands of the sport.
Whether you’re a professional player, a coach, or a curious fan, understanding the distance covered during a match can provide valuable insights into training, performance, and the game’s dynamics.
In this article, we will explore the miles run by soccer players in a game, breaking down the distances for different leagues and positions.
How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run in a Game?
Soccer is a game that demands constant movement and stamina. On average, soccer players run about 7 miles per game, with a high of 10 miles and a low of 2 miles for a goalkeeper. This distance combines short sprints and longer distances, varying based on the player’s position and the game’s dynamics.
- Midfielders: Cover most ground, around 8-11 miles. Vital for both attack and defense, demanding high mobility on field.
- Defenders: Cover 7-9 miles. Critical in thwarting attacks, requiring lateral movement and sprints.
- Strikers: Move 6-8 miles. Focus on attacking runs and goal positioning for scoring opportunities.
- Goalkeepers: Least distance, about 2 miles. Emphasis on agility, reflexes, and strategic positioning.
- Wingers: Similar to midfielders in the distance, especially if involved in offensive and defensive roles.
- Fullbacks: Cover distances akin to midfielders due to evolving modern soccer tactics.
How Far Do English Premier League (EPL) Soccer Players Run in a Game?
The English Premier League (EPL) is renowned for its intense pace and physical demands. Players in the EPL often cover significant distances during a match, showcasing their stamina and work ethic.
Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker holds the current record for the most distance covered in a Premier League game in the 2019-20 season, with 13.21 km during a match with Brighton in March. Other players like Dele Alli, James Milner, Tomas Soucek, and Bernardo Silva have also surpassed the 13km threshold in a game.
Across the 2019-20 season, Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse has covered a league-topping 334.6km, equivalent to running eight marathons or the distance from St Mary’s Stadium to Paris. Other top runners include West Ham’s Declan Rice (317.2km), Abdoulaye Doucoure (309.6km), Jack Cork (304.3km), Roberto Firmino (301.9km), James McCarthur (297.3km), and Ashley Westwood (296.8km).
Interestingly, three clubs fighting relegation, Brighton, Norwich, and Bournemouth, have covered the most distance in the 2019-20 season.
Brighton’s team has covered more turf than any other side with 3,260km, equivalent to a direct trip from the Amex to Greenland in the Arctic Circle. During a win over Everton in December, they also broke this season’s record for distance covered in a game with 119km.
Table: Top EPL Runners in the 2019-20 Season
|Player||Distance Covered (km)|
Average Distance Covered by a Football Player
Soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports, requiring players to cover significant distances during a game. The distance varies by position, and here’s a more detailed breakdown:
Goalkeepers cover the lowest distance, about 2 miles per game. They mostly stay within the 18-yard box, focusing on goal-kicks, covering positions, and playing passes.
Centre-backs cover about 5.8 miles per game. They spend most of their time in their defensive third, occasionally moving forward for attacking set-pieces.
Full-backs cover about 6.5 miles per game. Modern soccer requires them to take on attacking responsibilities, covering the entire vertical space in front of them.
Central midfielders cover the most distance, about 7 miles per game. They contribute to both defensive and attacking zones, requiring an almost inexhaustible engine.
Wingers cover about 6.3 miles per game. They play further up the pitch and their distance depends on the team’s tactical setup and defensive load.
Strikers also cover about 6.3 miles per game. Their distance varies depending on the team’s tactics and ball possession.
Also Read: The 20 Worst Soccer Players of All Time
Professional Players Vs Amateur Players
Soccer players’ distance traveled during a game can vary greatly depending on their level of play. Professional soccer players are known to run an average of 7 miles per game, with midfielders covering the most distance. However, the distance that amateur players run can be quite different.
Amateur players in recreational leagues may only run 2 to 3 miles per game, while those who play at a higher level may run up to 4 or 5 miles per game.
The playing position also affects the distance, as forwards and defenders may have to run less than midfielders due to their specific roles on the field.
Impact of Tactics on Distance Covered
The soccer team’s tactics can significantly influence the distance players cover during a game. Teams prioritising possession of the ball tend to cover less distance, as possession-based tactics involve short passes and off-the-ball movement.
Counter-attacking teams may cover more ground, relying on quick transitions from defence to attack, involving long sprints. High-pressing teams, aiming to win the ball back quickly, may cover even more ground, as pressing involves running and closing down space quickly.
The choice of tactics can thus shape the game’s physical demands, affecting players’ work rate and stamina.
How to Track a Soccer Player’s Distance During Game
Tracking a soccer player’s distance during a game has become easier with modern technology. Wearable devices like CITYPLAY Smart Soccer Tracker for Cleats and apps like Playermaker Smart Soccer Tracker and CATAPULT ONE allow coaches and players to track distance, top speed, and sprints. These tools provide valuable insights for training and analyzing performance, helping players understand their efficiency and areas for improvement.
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Check Price on Amazon.com – CATAPULT ONE
Fastest Soccer Players in the World
Speed is vital in soccer, separating the elite players from the average ones. The ability to sprint at full pelt while maintaining control of the ball is a rare quality that only a few players possess. Among the fastest football players in the world, two names stand out: Kylian Mbappé of PSG and France and Adama Traore of Wolves and Spain. Both have recorded the same top speed of 38 km/h (23.61 mph), surpassing Usain Bolt’s top speed when he broke the 100-meter sprint world record.
Mason Greenwood of Manchester United, Aaron Wan Bissaka, and Adama Traore are the three fastest players in the Premier League. Speed is essential for teams looking to play a counter-attacking system, and having fast players can be a significant advantage.
According to FIFA 22, Alphonso Davis of Bayern Munich and Adama Traore are the next two fastest players. The top 20 fastest players in the real world include Romelu Lukaku, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, and Gareth Bale.
Here’s a table of the fastest football players according to FIFA 2022:
|Position||Player||Club||Country||Speed (km/h)||Speed (mph)|
|1=||Adama Traore||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Spain||38||23.62|
|3=||Aaron Wan Bissaka||Manchester United||England||37.59||23.36|
|3=||Mason Greenwood||Manchester United||England||37.59||23.36|
|6||Phil Foden||Manchester City||England||37.12||23.07|
|7||Alfonso Davis||Bayern Munich||Canada||36.51||22.69|
|9||Erling Haaland||Borussia Dortmund||Norway||36||22.37|
How to Increase Your Stamina in Soccer
Increasing stamina in soccer is essential for maintaining performance throughout a match. Here’s how players can enhance their endurance:
- Interval Training: Alternating between high-intensity sprints and low-intensity recovery helps build stamina.
- Long-Distance Running: Incorporating longer runs into training can improve overall endurance.
- Cross-Training: Engaging in other aerobic activities like swimming or cycling can boost stamina.
- Diet and Hydration: Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated is crucial for energy and recovery.
- Rest and Recovery: Adequate rest allows the body to recover, essential for building stamina.
How to Increase Your Speed in Soccer
Speed is a valuable asset in soccer, and players can work on improving it through specific training:
- Sprint Training: Regular sprinting exercises help develop fast-twitch muscle fibers.
- Resistance Training: Training with resistance bands builds strength and explosive power.
- Agility Drills: Exercises like cone drills improve agility and reaction time.
- Proper Running Technique: Working on running form can lead to more efficient and faster movement.
- Strength Training: Building leg strength through weightlifting can contribute to overall speed.
These methods, combined with consistent practice and dedication, can help soccer players increase both their stamina and speed, enhancing their performance on the field.
Is All This Running Important?
Soccer is a physically demanding sport, and a key performance indicator is the distance a player covers during a game. Depending on the position and intensity of the game, a soccer player typically covers 7 to 12 km.
For example, N’Golo Kante, known for his incredible work rate, has covered more than 13 km in a single match on several occasions. Distance covered is an important statistic in soccer as it provides information about a player’s physical performance and effort level.
Additionally, it provides a snapshot of the team’s overall tactical approach. This stat guides coaches and players for lineups, tactics, and growth.
Men’s and Women’s Running Compared
The difference in distance covered per game between professional, amateur, and female soccer players can vary greatly. Professional players with high physical fitness and endurance levels often cover over 11-13 km in a game. Intense runs, sudden direction changes, and high-intensity pressing characterize their movements.
Playing at lower levels, amateur players typically cover fewer kilometers, between 8 – 10 km per game. The intensity and speed of play are generally slower, and the physical demands are not as high.
Hardest Working Soccer Players?
Here’s a detailed look at some of the hardest-working players in Soccer:
Note: We are talking about the stats for the 2021-22 season
1. Antonio Rudiger – 1,980 minutes played
The Chelsea defender has been a rock at the back, playing 22 Premier League games this season. His reliability and minimal errors have made him a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s defense. Rudiger’s consistency has led to calls for a new contract, and his recent performances have only strengthened that demand.
2. Pontus Jansson – 1,972 minutes played
Brentford’s captain and stalwart defender, Jansson, leads the league in clearances with 100. At 30, he’s played in all of Brentford’s 22 Premier League games, showing leadership and experience. His recent one-year extension is a testament to his importance to the team.
3. Declan Rice – 1,890 minutes played
West Ham’s midfield dynamo, Rice, is known for his tireless running and ability to cover ground. His work rate has doubled recently due to teammates’ absences, and he’s become a vital part of West Ham’s setup. A one-match suspension has been his only break over the festive period.
4. Tyrick Mitchell – 1,881 minutes played
Crystal Palace’s full-back, Mitchell, is a consistent performer who rarely gets the credit he deserves. With 62 successful tackles and no bookings, he’s a disciplined defender who’s played almost every minute of the season.
5. Joao Cancelo – 1,878 minutes played
Manchester City’s consistent performer, Cancelo, has played in all but one of City’s Premier League games. He’s a key part of Pep Guardiola’s system with five assists and one goal.
6. Christian Norgaard – 1,858 minutes played
Brentford’s defensive midfielder, Norgaard, leads the Premier League in tackles won (69). His unassuming style of play and ability to break up play make him a hidden gem in Brentford’s squad.
7. Jarrod Bowen – 1,857 minutes played
West Ham’s Bowen has transformed into a player with incredible staying power. His defensive contributions and relentless running have made him a key part of West Ham’s attack.
8. Michail Antonio – 1,839 minutes played
The oldest player on the list, West Ham’s Antonio, has overcome injury concerns to play in almost every Premier League game. His physicality and goal-scoring ability have been crucial for West Ham’s success.
|Player||Premier League Minutes Played|
Summing Up on How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run in a Game
Soccer is a sport that demands a high level of physical fitness, agility, and endurance. The distance players cover during a game is evidence of their diligence, commitment, and athletic prowess. From professional male players in the Premier League to women’s football stars, the miles covered can range from 7 to 13 kilometres depending on the position, tactics, and level of play.
Midfielders often cover the most ground, while attackers and defenders may run slightly less. Superstars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have specific running patterns that align with their unique playing styles, while the hardest-working players in the league are recognized for their tireless efforts.
In conclusion, the miles run by soccer players in a game is more than just a statistic; it reflects their skill, strategy, and dedication to the sport.
Faqs on How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run in a Game
Which Players Run the Farthest Distance?
Midfielders typically run the farthest distance in most soccer games. Their position requires them to patrol most of the pitch, covering both defensive and attacking roles. Some fullbacks also cover large distances if they are tactically needed to defend and attack. Coaches who require the whole team to press to win back the ball may lead to players from all over the pitch covering long distances.
What is the Longest Distance Covered by a Soccer Player in a Football Match?
Marcelo Brozovic, an Inter Milan midfielder, holds the record for the longest distance a soccer player has traveled in a football game. He first set a record of 16.3 km at the 2018 World Cup in Croatia’s win against Russia. He then broke his record at the 2022 World Cup, running 16.7 km during Croatia’s win against Japan.
How Fast Can Players Move at Top Speed?
Soccer players can reach impressive top speeds during a match. Former Wales Captain Gareth Bale was known for being one of the fastest players on the pitch, recording a 39.9 Km/hr sprint. Another speedy winger, Arjen Robben, recorded a 37 km/hr sprint in the Netherlands’ 5-1 win against Spain at the 2014 World Cup.
How Far Does a Women’s Football Player Run?
Women’s football players typically cover a similar distance to their male counterparts during a game. The distance can vary depending on the position, tactics, and style of play. Midfielders usually cover the most ground, often running around 7 miles (11.26 kilometres) in a single game. The intensity and pace might differ, but the overall distance is comparable.
How Much Does Messi Run in a Match?
Lionel Messi, one of the greatest footballers of all time, covers an average distance of around 7 miles (11.26 kilometers) in a single game. This distance includes both running and walking. Messi’s unique playing style emphasizes his technical skills, vision, and intelligence, allowing him to conserve energy while making significant impacts on the field. Depending on the strategies used by the opposing team and the specific role his coach has given him, his distance can change.
How Far Does Ronaldo Run in a Match?
Cristiano Ronaldo, known for his incredible fitness and stamina, runs more than 6 miles per game. His explosive acceleration and high soccer IQ enable him to make diagonal runs that outsmart defenses. Ronaldo’s stamina is one reason his body fat is in the low single digits, and his ability to maintain this level of physicality often leads to decisive moments in the final 20 minutes of a game.