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How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run In A Game? | 90 Min Mile Diary

how many miles do soccer players run in a game

How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run in a Game? Discovering the Athletic Demand

How many miles does soccer player run in a game? – a question echoing in the minds of many enthusiasts and aspiring players. The game of soccer is synonymous with relentless running. This vital component is pivotal for the players to succeed on the field. So what’s the average miles run in a soccer game?

On average, most soccer players run between 6 and 8 miles in a game, but the exact mileage can significantly depend on their position, playing style, and level of competition. In essence, running serves multifarious purposes in soccer, contributing to attacking, defending, creating passing lanes, and establishing endurance.

Table: Average Miles Run In A Soccer Game by Different Positions

PositionAverage Distance (miles per soccer game)
Center Forward6-7 miles
Winger7-8 miles
Attacking Midfielder7-8 miles
Defensive Midfielder7-8 miles
Central Defender5-7 miles
Fullback6-7 miles
Goalkeeper3-4 miles

The Diversity in Running 

Digging a bit deeper into how many miles soccer players run in a game, it’s evident that not all positions are created equal. Professionals usually cover around 7 to 9.5 miles in a standard 90-minute game. 

Midfielders, the workhorses of the team, generally clock in the highest mileage, often exceeding the typical range, due to their pivotal role in both offensive and defensive play. On the contrary, goalkeepers exhibit the least movement. 

The diverse nature of running in soccer integrates various types such as sprinting, jogging, and even walking, with players executing over 1400 changes in activity within a match. This makes the analysis of running metrics a key player and coach consideration for performance improvement and comparison.

Delving into Position-Specific Analysis

1. Goalkeepers:

Though goalkeepers run the least, around 3 to 4 miles, they undergo intense training to foster agility, reflexes, and decision-making to make critical saves. Their restricted mobility doesn’t negate their athletic prowess.

how much do soccer players run in a game

2. Midfielders:

Midfielders, the dynamic maestros of the game, can clock up to 9.5 miles. They require a combination of stamina, speed, and agility to navigate through their multifaceted roles. Their inherent necessity to shuttle between defense and attack mandates their high mileage.

3. Defenders:

Defenders mainly navigate between 5-7 miles to maintain the defensive structure and thwart attacks. Positioning, physical strength, and tactical awareness are crucial for them to excel in their roles.

4. Strikers:

Strikers, often influenced by tactical instructions, can cover between 5 and 6.5 miles. Their main focus is to find scoring opportunities, which requires sharp movements and positioning.

The Significance of Running Metrics

Comprehending these running metrics can act as a stepping stone to refine players’ skills and game strategies. It allows the tracking of progress, comparison of performance, development of tailored training programs, and identification of trends and areas for improvement. 

These metrics include the total distance run, average speed, high-intensity running, low-intensity running, and running efficiency. They are essential in offering insights into a player’s performance, aiding in focusing training on specific areas that need improvement.

Analyzing Average Distance Based on Varied Factors

Exploring further the average distance run by soccer players brings forth a myriad of influencing factors. The position a player occupies can significantly dictate the miles covered. Midfielders, with their dual role in offense and defense, naturally top the list, traversing approximately 6.00-7.5 miles per game. 

The defenders, predominantly center backs and fullbacks, navigate around 6 to 7 miles, focusing more on thwarting the opposition’s scoring attempts. Strikers, the goal machines, have their mileage influenced by the game’s flow, style of play, and tactical instructions, averaging between 5 and 6.5 miles. Finally, the goalkeepers, restricted mostly to their 18-yard box, cover the least ground, approximately 3 to 4 miles per game.

Why Playing Positions Determine Distance

It’s a no-brainer that the specific role a player has and their position on the field will define how many miles soccer players run in a game. Midfielders tend to cover the most ground due to their dynamic role in the game, including both attacking and defensive tasks. 

Similarly, the style of play adopted by a team can significantly impact the distance covered, with high-pressing styles generally demanding more running than possession-based games. Further, the intensity of professional leagues mandates players to cover more ground compared to amateur leagues.

Men vs. Women: A Comparative Analysis

When we juxtapose the average distances covered by men and women in soccer, the figures are strikingly similar. However, it’s pertinent to note the variations due to factors like position, style of play, and level of competition. 

For instance, a research delineated that female collegiate soccer players run an average of 6 miles per game, approximating very close to the male average. These comparisons are crucial in understanding the inherent demands of soccer across genders.

Table: Average Miles Run In A Soccer Game by Gender and Position

Playing PositionMen (Miles Per Soccer Game)Women (Miles Per Soccer Game)

High-intensity Running: The Soccer Essence

High-intensity running is integral to soccer. It encapsulates sprints, quick turns, and explosive movements. Players often alternate between jogging and high-intensity running, marking the game’s diverse nature. The incorporation of such vigorous activity is instrumental in developing match-specific fitness and technical skills.

Comparative Analysis: Youth Soccer 🧒⚽

You might think adults do all the hard work, but hey, don’t underestimate the kids! When exploring the question, “how many miles do soccer players run in a game,” age becomes an interesting variable. With those tiny legs pumping away, youth soccer players cover a surprising amount of ground during matches.

Let’s crunch some numbers. In a study by the University of Jyväskylä, the research highlighted a distinct difference between age groups. Look at this:

Age GroupAverage Distance Run Per Game (miles)
10-12 years3.5 to 4.00 Miles
13-15 years4.5 to 5.00 Miles

So, the older they get, the more they run. Seems like a blend of increased stamina and perhaps a tad bit more competitiveness, don’t you think? 😏

Training and Development 🏋️‍♂️⚽

If you think those top-notch soccer players are just born with their mad skills, think again! Training plays a crucial role in the answer to “how many miles do soccer players run in a game.”

  • Speed Training: Boosts the player’s potential to jet across the field like a cheetah chasing a gazelle. The result? More miles covered during a match.
  • Individual Training: While this sharpens a player’s moves, like that killer dribble or sneaky pass, it doesn’t contribute much to the miles clocked.
  • Team Training: Here’s where things heat up! By molding the team’s tactics and playstyle, players get schooled on moving the ball efficiently across the field, often leading to increased running distances.

Top Players Racing the Miles 🏃‍♂️

Top Players and their Mileage in Soccer
PlayerAverage Miles per Game
Enner Valencia8.1 miles
Dani Alves7.9 miles
James Milner7.6 miles
Christian Eriksen7.6 miles
N’Golo Kante7 miles

Did you know that some players cover almost a mini-marathon’s distance during a game? Check this out:

  • Enner Valencia – Made heads turn by reportedly running 8.1 miles in a single World Cup match.
  • Dani Alves – His runs from the back contribute to an average of 7.9 miles each game.
  • James Milner – This Liverpool legend isn’t far behind, averaging 7.6 miles.
  • Christian Eriksen – Consistency is key, and this Dane seems to love the number 7.6 – that’s his miles per game.
  • N’Golo Kante – The midfield dynamo for Chelsea racks up about 7 miles every game. Phew!

And let’s not forget legends like Messi and Ronaldo, who, despite their forward positions, dazzle us with their tireless running and impeccable work rate. They might not be the fastest on the list, but their speed never fails to amaze us.

I wrote about Messi’s game speed here.

Speed Demons of the Game 🚀⚽

When chatting about football, who can resist gushing over the stars? They’re not just celebrities; these players are the epitome of athletic prowess, setting the pitch ablaze with their speed. 

  • Kylian Mbappe – Talk about leaving defenders in the dust! This French maestro, known for his scorching pace, has lit up many a stadium. Read: How Fast Is Kylian Mbappe? (Top Speed)
  • Vinicius Junior – This Brazilian prodigy has already made waves with his agility and footwork, leaving many an opponent trailing behind.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – Age ain’t nothing but a number for this Portuguese sensation. He continues to surprise us with his unwavering stamina and running dedication.
  • Neymar – Beyond the flair and showboating lies a speedster who can dash across the field in a blink. Yep, that’s Neymar.
  • Luka Modrić – His game might not revolve around speed, but boy, does he know how to hustle! Quick thinking and nimbleness define Luka, the Croatian midfielder.
  • Lionel Messi – A magician with the ball, his quick bursts and dribbling sprees often leave defenders dazed and confused.

Each of these titans showcases how football speed is more than just running. It’s about reflexes, tactics, and mastering the ball under duress.

Technological Interventions: Tracking the Tracks 🛰️⚽

Remember the old days when you’d just guess how much a player ran? Those days are long gone, folks! Today, we’re living in an age where technology is king.

Evolution of Tracking:

From rudimentary methods in the 1990s, where stopwatches were all the rage, we’ve come a long way. The introduction of GPS in the late ’90s changed the game. These bulky devices slimmed down and became more affordable over time, making player tracking a piece of cake.

But the real marvel emerged in the 2000s with video tracking. Although pricier and complex, they offered unmatched accuracy. Today, wearables like smart vests are the new kids on the block, offering real-time insights into a player’s running stats.

Current Technologies:

  • GPS tracking: Affordable and user-friendly but sometimes struggles with precision in packed arenas.
  • Video tracking: Offers top-notch accuracy but can be a pain to set up and maintain.
  • Wearable tech: Marrying the best of both worlds, these devices are affordable, easy to use, and provide a wealth of data.

Impact on Strategy:

With this wealth of data, coaches are no longer shooting in the dark. They’re making informed decisions, adjusting tactics mid-game, and harnessing player strengths to the max. It’s a win-win for everyone, except maybe the opposing team!

Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do Soccer Players Run In A Game?

The act of running in soccer is multilayered and varies considerably based on the position, playing style, and competition level. From midfield maestros covering up to 9.5 miles to the agile goalkeepers restricted to around 4 miles, soccer demands an eclectic blend of stamina, agility, and technical prowess. 

The quantification and analysis of running metrics are paramount for players and coaches to tailor training programs, improve performance, and understand the intrinsic athletic demands of the beautiful game, irrespective of gender. The profound impact of running in soccer can’t be overstated; it forms the essence of the game and is the keystone for players striving to reach the zenith of their capabilities.


How do European leagues differ in terms of player speeds? 🌍

Well, there’s a reason why European leagues are renowned globally! Take the Premier League; its intensity and pace are often described as breakneck. Players like Sadio Mané and Raheem Sterling shine here, often reaching peak speeds. Then there’s Spain’s La Liga, where technical skill trumps sheer speed. Yet, you’ll find whippets like Gareth Bale who’ve broken records with their swift runs. Italy’s Serie A once labeled a “defensive” league, has evolved. The arrival of sprinters like Romelu Lukaku has raised the tempo. Simply put, while leagues differ in style, they’re never short on speed!

What role does a player’s position play in their speed on the field? 🧭

Position, position, position! It’s everything in soccer. A winger like Mohamed Salah relies on explosive speed to outpace defenders. On the other hand, central midfielders like Jordan Henderson maintain a consistent pace, covering large chunks of the field. Defenders? They need bursts of speed. Think of Virgil van Dijk chasing down a striker. Lastly, while goalkeepers like Alisson Becker aren’t running marathons, their quick reflexes and dashes off the line can be game-changers!

How have training regimens evolved to improve player speed? 🏋️

Gone are the days of just jogging around the field! Today’s soccer is all about:

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Mimicking match situations, these drills boost speed and endurance.
  • Plyometric exercises: Think jump squats or box jumps. Perfect for enhancing explosive speed.
  • Agility ladders: A staple for players aiming to improve quick feet movement.
  • Resistance runs: Often using parachutes or resistance bands, they’re all about strength and speed. With these in their arsenal, modern players are sprinting faster and lasting longer!

How does altitude affect a player’s speed? ⛰️

High altitude? That’s a whole new ball game! Literally. Places like Bolivia’s Estadio Hernando Siles sit over 3,600 meters above sea level. The thin air means less oxygen, which can tank stamina. Players unaccustomed to these conditions might find themselves gasping and, of course, slowing down. However, local teams often use this to their advantage, acclimating to the conditions and maintaining their usual speed.

Which players are renowned for their off-the-ball runs? 🚀

Ah, the unsung heroes of soccer! Off-the-ball runs are all about anticipation and soccer IQ. Thomas Müller of Bayern Munich has the apt title of ‘Raumdeuter’ or ‘space interpreter’. Then there’s Roberto Firmino of Liverpool, often weaving magic without even touching the ball. And who can forget Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne? His runs are a masterclass in space creation. These players might not always be in the spotlight, but their runs light up the pitch!

Can older players maintain their speed? 👴⚽

Defying age is no joke! While it’s natural for speed to dip as players age, some veterans laugh in the face of Father Time. Cristiano Ronaldo, even in his 30s, remains a speedster, thanks to a rigorous fitness regime. Then there’s Zlatan Ibrahimović, whose agility remains top-notch despite the advancing years. It’s all about adapting; while they may lose a yard of pace, their experience often compensates, letting them read the game better and maintain their influence.

How do clubs measure player speed during scouting? 🕵️‍♂️

Scouting in the 21st century is no child’s play! Clubs employ a mix of:

  • Radar guns: Old-school but effective for measuring sprint speeds.
  • Wearable tech: Devices that track acceleration, top speeds, and average pace.
  • Video analysis: Diving deep into match footage to analyze a player’s speed in various situations. Whether scouting a young talent or assessing a transfer target, clubs leave no stone unturned to gauge a player’s speed.

Are there specific shoes that help players run faster? 👟

Gear up, folks! While there’s no “magic shoe” that’ll transform you into Usain Bolt, certain cleats are designed for speed. Brands like Adidas and Nike have “speed” ranges, boasting lightweight materials and aerodynamic designs. Players like Kylian Mbappé even get bespoke shoes tailored to their feet’s contours. However, remember it’s not all about the shoes; training and technique are paramount!

Does playing in different weather conditions affect player speed? ☔️

Rain, sleet, or shine, the game goes on! But yes, weather plays its part. Wet pitches, often seen in the Premier League, can slow players down, making the ball harder to control. Extreme cold? Muscles tighten, possibly affecting sprinting ability. However, players adapt. Whether it’s wearing thermal gear in the cold or choosing the right studs for a slick pitch, they always find a way to keep the pace up.

What’s the relationship between body composition and speed? 💪

Bulked up like Akinfenwa or lean like Messi? Body composition does play a role. More muscle can mean explosive power, beneficial for short sprints. However, leaner players often possess better endurance and agility over 90 minutes. Clubs often tailor fitness programs to strike the right balance, ensuring players have the strength to sprint but not at the expense of stamina or agility.

Which teams are known for their fast-paced style of play? 🔥

Hold onto your hats! Teams like Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund under Lucien Favre have become synonymous with high-octane, fast-paced soccer. Then there’s Leeds United with Marcelo Bielsa at the helm, known for their relentless pressing and swift counter-attacks. Watching these teams, it’s all a blur of color as players zip across the pitch at breakneck speeds!

Do injuries have a long-term impact on a player’s speed? 🤕

A tough pill to swallow, injuries can indeed hamper a player’s speed. A severe ACL injury, for instance, can affect a player’s top speed and acceleration. However, medical advancements and rehab techniques have come a long way. Players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Marco Reus have bounced back from debilitating injuries, showcasing that with the right care, speed can be regained!

Has the overall speed of soccer increased over the decades? 🕰️

Flashback time! Soccer in the 70s or 80s was undoubtedly slower-paced than today’s whirlwind matches. With evolving training methods, better pitches, and improved gear, players can now run faster and maintain higher speeds. Tactical evolutions, with pressing and counter-pressing becoming prominent, have also upped the game’s tempo. So yes, the beautiful game has indeed shifted gears over the years!

Why is maintaining a consistent speed often more crucial than just sprinting? 🐢🐇

Slow and steady often wins the race! While explosive sprints make highlight reels, it’s the ability to maintain a consistent speed that’s often more crucial. It ensures players can remain effective throughout the 90 minutes, pressuring opponents, and supporting teammates. Think of N’Golo Kanté; his consistent speed and endurance are what sets him apart. It’s not always about the flashy sprints; sometimes, it’s the tireless engine that makes all the difference!