Wednesday, 24 Jul 2024

Average Height In Soccer: Exploring the Impact of Height

Rio Ferdinand

Height is an important factor in many sports, including soccer. While contact sports often see athletes with physical advantages, soccer allows players of different heights to compete on a level playing field. In this article, we will explore the average height of soccer players and its impact on the game.

Average Height of Soccer Players

The average height of a soccer player is approximately 5’11” (181cm). Smaller players tend to play upfront, while taller athletes are often found in defensive positions, with goalkeepers typically being the tallest. It’s worth noting that some of the world’s best players have been undersized, highlighting the diverse range of successful athletes in the sport.

Average Height of Each Position

The importance of height in soccer depends largely on the position played. Let’s take a closer look at the average height for each position:

Average Height of Soccer Players by Position

Position Average Height
Forward Around 5’9″ (175cm)
Midfielder Around 5’10” (178cm)
Defender Around 6’0″ (183cm)
Goalkeeper Over 6’2″ (188cm)

Please note that these averages are based on players participating in the FIFA World Cup 2018. Shorter individuals often occupy forward positions, while the height increases as one moves towards the defensive areas, peaking at the goalkeeper.

Advantages of Being a Tall Soccer Player

Peter Crouch

Height can provide certain advantages in soccer, although they are not as pronounced as in other sports. Let’s explore the advantages of being a tall soccer player:

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Taller players have a natural advantage when it comes to winning a ball in the air. Their height gives them an edge in timing and jumping, making it easier to win aerial duels. Defenders, who are usually taller, can also find goal-scoring opportunities near the net.

Leg Length

Extra leg length allows players to reach and control the ball more effectively. Taller players have an advantage in fighting for the ball without excessive physical contact. Using their bodies to their advantage, tall players can frustrate opponents.


Taller soccer players are often stronger due to their height advantage. The additional weight they can carry and leverage over shorter opponents give them an advantage in physical battles on the pitch. Strength is crucial in winning individual battles that can influence the outcome of a match.

Reach (Goalkeepers)

Goalkeepers, in particular, benefit from height as it provides a longer reach. The ability to make fingertip saves can be the difference between winning or losing a match. Taller goalkeepers often excel in the game, using their height to their advantage in controlling shots on goal.

Advantages of Being a Short Soccer Player

Lionel Messi

Despite the perception that height is essential in soccer, shorter players have their own advantages. Some of the best players in history have been on the shorter side. Here are a few advantages of being a short soccer player:


Shorter players often possess greater speed and agility. In soccer, where quick bursts of movement are common, shorter athletes excel. Their ability to change direction swiftly and maintain control of the ball gives them an advantage over taller players.

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Lower Center of Gravity

Having a lower center of gravity enables shorter players to maneuver quickly on the pitch. They can outmaneuver defenders and make it difficult for opponents to make plays. A lower center of gravity provides a significant advantage in a sport where the ball is predominantly on the ground.

Ball Control

Shorter players tend to have superior ball control due to their ability to take shorter steps and make precise touches. Their agility allows them to navigate through defenses and place the ball wherever they want, leading to success on the field.

Does Height Determine Team Success?

When considering the height of all 11 players on a team, having a taller-than-average team generally provides an advantage. While some positions thrive at shorter heights, others benefit from being slightly taller. The backbone of a team, especially the goalkeeper, often benefits from height.

For example, Liverpool FC, one of the most successful clubs in recent years, has an average squad height of 5’11.7″ (182.1cm). However, Manchester City, the best team in the Premier League, is the shortest team, with an average height of 5’11.2″ (180.84cm). This suggests that taller players do not necessarily guarantee success.

Are Taller Players Treated Differently?

In soccer, bigger players often face difficulties in receiving fair calls compared to smaller players. The larger physique of taller players can make it harder for referees to accurately judge fouls. However, taller players may sometimes exaggerate contact to secure fouls. Both taller and smaller players are entitled to their positioning and fair play on the field.

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The Role of Height in Soccer

Compared to many contact sports, height is less of a determining factor in soccer. The sport offers positions for athletes of all heights, showcasing the diversity and versatility in the game. While height can provide advantages in certain situations, success in soccer primarily comes down to overall skill and ability.


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Height plays a role in soccer, but it doesn’t solely determine a player’s success. While certain positions benefit from being taller or shorter, the sport accommodates athletes of various heights. Skill, technique, and strategy ultimately have a more significant impact on a player’s performance. So, whether you’re tall or short, focus on honing your skills and enjoying the beautiful game.

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