If you’ve ever seen a soccer match play out in front of you, or on screen, you surely noticed that the players can run exceptionally fast. But this probably leads you to the question, how fast do soccer players actually run? You’ve come to the right place.
The peak speed that the average soccer player has been found to run in a match is 20 miles per hour or 32 kilometers per hour. Their average speed for the entire game is 10 to 11 miles per hour. The average game requires players to run a total of 7 miles at high speeds, and different positions run more than others.
To learn more about running in soccer and how fast professional players run in comparison to new players, continue reading.
How fast does the average soccer player run compared to professional players?
Speed is probably the biggest component of effectively playing a game of soccer, and players who are fast are a great asset to soccer teams and are more likely to move up in the ranks of the soccer world. While soccer players certainly don’t have to be nearly as fast as professional runners, they do still need to be able to run fast, and you’ve probably seen some pretty fast players on television broadcasts of professional soccer games.
These professional games are filled with players who’ve worked on all the qualities they need to get where they are and to heighten their chances of winning these championship games and stadium competitions. One of the biggest qualities is speed, and so they’ve done the training and practice necessary to be able to run fast across a field while dribbling a ball so they can score a goal.
A professional soccer player can run a peak speed of up to 20 to 21 miles per hour (or 30 to 35 kilometers per hour) in a match because of their extensive training and ability to run fast and in an instant. Some of the fastest soccer players have been known to run up to 22 miles per hour during a game. The average soccer player, however, for non-professional games, is not much lower. Studies have found that the average soccer player can run 18 to 20 miles per hour in a match. On the surface, it may appear that soccer players can run almost as fast as professional players, but once you’re able to reach a certain speed, it’s much more difficult to train to run fast, so professional players have significantly more speed than it appears.
If you’re trying to go from running 3 miles per hour to 10 miles per hour, it’s much easier to train yourself to do so. But because our bodies can only resist so much, it requires a significantly more amount of training to be able to go from running a top speed of 19 miles per hour to being able to hit a top speed of 21 miles per hour, than it is to go from 3 mph to 10 mph. Those who run professionally focus on speed and training their body to run, whereas soccer players focus on a multitude of physical skills in their training.
How fast do you need to be able to run to play soccer?
Being able to run fast is essential to be able to play a soccer game, but being able to maintain your speed throughout the game is most important, thus soccer players need to have a lot of endurance. To play a game of soccer, you need to be able to run at least 10 or 11 miles per hour, for the majority of the game, as this is the average speed that most players run in professional games as well as the average soccer game. You should also be able to change your speed and run a peak speed of at least 15 miles per hour to be able to play both defense and offense.
If you’re able to maintain that peak speed of 15 miles per hour or more for a long distance, then you’ll be more successful, because if you slow down, you’re more likely to be overtaken by other players. If you’re unable to run this fast, there are ways you can make up for the lack of speed while you train. This includes knowing how to manipulate the ball and keep it from the opposing team while you have possession of it. You can also make up for it by being able to kick well, and if you’re able to kick well, then it will be easier to train to run faster and once you’ve trained your running skills you’ll be one of the fastest players in the team.
How much running does a soccer game require?
The average soccer game will require most players to be able to run 6 to 7 miles in one 90-minute soccer match, but the amount of running will vary by player. For example, a defensive midfielder and an attacking midfielder are going to do a lot more running than a goalie, who typically stays inside the penalty box, and most of his or her movement is jumping and diving. Players will get one break halfway through the game, as well as moments where they will be able to drink water, but players must be able to endure running for the entirety of the game. This doesn’t mean that soccer players have to train for a 6-mile marathon, because, unlike a marathon, soccer requires you to constantly speed up and slow down throughout the game, and to even go from running 0 miles per hour to running a speed of 16 miles per hour.
Benefits of running as soccer conditioning
While being able to endure long runs can be good training for soccer, it shouldn’t be the focus of your training. Instead, you’ll want to focus on your ability to change your speeds, to kick and dribble a ball, to communicate with your teammates, to multitask, and several other valuable soccer skills, as speed is not the only valuable component of soccer. Seeing as many people who are cross-country runners do an excellent job at playing soccer, you can see that being able to run fast can help your soccer team significantly. So, while it shouldn’t be your only training, practicing to run fast can help you and your team in the long run. The faster you’re able to run combined with a developed ability to sprint at various different speeds, the easier it will be to score goals and help your teammates score goals.