Soccer/Football is one of the most followed sports in the world and is also played throughout the world. The sport is popular all over the globe, and with so many different players participating in the sport, there are many different types of players. Not every player is the same height, and although this does not always play a role in the game, it does influence how some matches pan out and how players are positioned. How tall are players at each position, and how does height affect each player’s playstyle? Read on to find out.
Average Height for Defenders and Goalies
The average height for a defender in soccer is between 6’0” and 6’2”, while the average goaltender stands at 6’2” to 6’4”. Defenders typically use their taller stature to help them perform their main job, which is protecting their net and preventing the opposing team from scoring. The height allows taller defenders to win the ball back from opposing attackers, as they are harder to get around. Even among women’s players, height is most prized among defenders, with NCAA college soccer guidelines commonly suggesting that teams recruit defenders between 5’7” and 6’2”.
Goalkeepers are also some of the tallest players on the team, as they use their entire bodies to block shots that come their way. There are plenty of shorter defenders and goalies that can do these same things, but more height only helps players perform their roles better. For example, Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is considered to be a top defender in the world, and stands at 6’4”. However, David Alaba of Real Madrid is also a great defender and is shorter than six feet. The same is true of the women’s side; Alexia Putellas of Spain is 5’8”, while Beth Mead of Arsenal is only 5’4”
Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid is a top goalie in the world and is 6’7”. Ederson of Manchester City is also a fantastic goaltender, but stands at just 6’2”. Women’s goalkeepers are also on the taller side, but shorter than their male counterparts, in every position. Mary Earps of Manchester United is 5’8”, and Christiane Endler stands 6’0”.
Average Height for Midfielders
Midfielders are typically some of the shorter players on the team, and tend to be between 5’8” and 5’11”. Midfielders are known as players that can do everything on the field and link the defense with the offense. These players use agility and technique to perform, which is typically easier with smaller bodies. Midfielders focused on defending may be on the taller side, while midfielders who play on the wing may be shorter. Luka Modrić of Real Madrid is one of the top midfielders in the world but stands at just 5’8”. On the other hand, Casemiro of Manchester United is another great player in the position, and he is 6’1”.
In terms of women’s soccer, similar principles apply, but women who are shorter than the average men’s midfielder can still perform quite well on the pitch. One example of this is Mia Hamm of the US Women’s Team, who is a legendary midfielder and striker at only 5’5”.
Average Height for Forwards
Forwards typically stand between 6’0” and 6’2” on the soccer field. These players typically use their height to win headers and keep defenders away as they aim to score. They also use their height advantage for shooting, as they can typically generate more power from their long legs and have a greater view of the field. Smaller forwards use their height to create runs, have better dribbling ability in front of the net, as well as having greater speed and acceleration. Zlatan Ibrahimović of Milan has been a prolific striker during his career and is 6’5”. Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann of Atlético Madrid stands in at 5’9”.
For women, soccer forwards tend to be a little bit shorter on average than men. For example, the average height for a forward on the US Women’s National Soccer Team hovers around 5’7”. Christine Sinclair, of the Portland Thorns, is also 5’9,” as is striker Ada Hedberg of Norway. Sam Kerr of Australia is 5’6”.