Average Height of a Soccer Player

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Lionel Messi, considered the world’s greatest soccer player, with a height of around 5 feet and 7 inches, is considered short in the soccer industry.

With this fact in mind, I bet you’re wondering if soccer teams prioritize player height like other sports do when scouting for new players.

While there are quite a few short players in soccer, height plays a vital role in curating a perfect soccer strategy.

With that in mind, today we’ll discuss the height requirements of soccer teams, so you can know about how height can be a priority in choosing winning soccer players.

Average Height of a Soccer Player

Just like other sports, height plays a big role in soccer. The average player’s height is 5 feet 11 inches. While there are some remarkable players who may be considered short, you’ll notice that higher-ranking teams often consist of taller players rather than those of shorter stature.

If you’re considered short in soccer standards, be comforted with the fact that soccer is a game in which shorter individuals can also have great success.

While being taller has its advantages, shorter players are also vital to the strategy and are still able to compete with taller players. 

Average Height in Soccer for Each Position

On soccer teams with members of varying heights, players are often assigned to positions where their height becomes an advantage. Here are just a few of the most common height/position relationships you’ll see on a soccer field.

  • The average height of a goalkeeper is 6 feet and 2 inches (188 cm) to 6 feet and 5 inches (196 cm)
  • A Defender’s height is usually second to the highest, ranging from  5 feet and 11 inches (180 cm) to 6 feet and 2 inches (188 cm).
  • Midfielders often come in on the shorter end, with their height averaging between 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) and 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm). 
  • Forwards also tend to lean toward the shorter side, with most players averaging between 5 feet 7 inches (173 cm) and 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm)

While height can play a major factor in how players are scouted, the rules don’t have to be followed at all times. Especially if a team has a great set of players and strategies in hand.

It is also worth noting that these are only average heights, and players assigned can be shorter or taller than the abovementioned height.

Average Height of a Professional Soccer Player

The average height for male and female professional soccer players is 5 feet and 11 inches (181cm), but it can be higher or lower than the norm.

Messi’s height is 5 feet and 7 inches, which is relatively short, while Kyle Hudlin is considered the tallest, with a height of 6 feet and 11 inches. 

The Average Height of Male Soccer Players

The average height for male soccer players is 5 feet and 8 inches to 6 feet and 2 inches. League data shows that most players in leagues are at 5’11.

Average Height of Female Soccer Players

While there are lots of tall female soccer players as well, the average height for female soccer players is 5 feet and 7 inches. While this is an overall average, there are lots of short female players who have thrived in this industry. Crystal Dunn, a well-known female World Cup player, is only 5 foot 1. 

Does Height Matter in Soccer?

While there’s no strict rule on what height should be in the field, a player’s height can truly contribute to the game. Being taller than other players on the field can present many positioning advantages to the player. However, shorter players also have some strengths. 

Advantages of Being Tall in Soccer

Taller players often get the benefit of being placed in key positions (such as goalkeeper). Taller players have the ability to contribute a lot to the game, so coaches tend to place those players in those positions.


Tall soccer players have more benefit in winning the ball on air. Their stature gives them a good head start to win the ball on air and to score when combined with a little jumping. While it’s possible for shorter players to do well, tall players usually have it easier when playing air games.

Leg Length 

Being tall often coincides with longer leg length. This really comes in handy when it comes to running, controlling, and winning the ball on the field.

Taller people can also easily grab and take the ball from their opponents with minimum effort. This makes for less physical contact, especially when the player can control their body and movements well.

Less physical contact means that there is a lower chance for offenses and penalties and a higher chance of goal-scoring if the player can do the job correctly.


Strength may seem like a very underrated characteristic, but it is essential to have strength. This is especially important if the player uses tactics like moving shoulder-to-shoulder with an opponent.

Tall people carry a  body composition that carries a lot more weight, which can also contribute to their strength. 

Even if they’re tall and skinny, tall people naturally have an allowance of strength compared to their shorter counterparts. Just as well training is always an option to help tall, thin players to bulk up, so being skinny isn’t a big deal.

Reach (Goalkeepers) 

Usually, the tallest person on the team is placed in the goalkeeping position since every inch of their height contributes to better gameplay.

The length of their body gives them a better advantage when goalkeeping since they can block more of the goal with their body.

Height is usually correlated with reach, so every additional inch is beneficial for any goalkeeper. If they can block a goal by just using their fingertips, it’s something that’s a great contribution. That’s one reason why teams usually put the tallest members as a goalkeeper.

Advantages of Being a Short Soccer Player

While teams may seem to favor taller players, short players aren’t overlooked since they can also play important offensive and defensive positions.

In fact, a lot of short players have become soccer superstars (Messi, Maradona, etc.). Being short can have its perks, which will be discussed in the next categories.


There’s no proof that shorter players are faster or slower than taller players, but it is undeniable that shorter players can play more of the speed game.

One contributing factor may be that they’re usually smaller and lighter than taller players, making it easier to control the ball and change directions.

Their acceleration is their edge, and they can be stars on the soccer field with proper training.

Lower Center of Gravity

Shorter players have a lower center of gravity, giving them an advantage over taller players. They can quickly balance themselves while maneuvering the ball. This is a feat that can be tougher for taller players since their center of gravity is farther from the ground. 

In defensive positions, shorter players also play a major role. Offensive players might find it hard to get past a short player since they’re fast enough to move into position to block them and get hold of the ball.

Ball Control

Shorter players also tend to have stronger agility when it comes to maneuvering the ball, making their height advantageous when it comes to ball control. Their small stature makes it so they can easily slip between defense players and then take the ball where it needs to be.

Differences in Speed Between Shorter and Taller Soccer Players

In terms of speed, shorter soccer players tend to have an advantage over taller soccer players. Small players can accelerate more rapidly due to their smaller build, making it easier to maneuver the ball.

Taller players can keep up with a shorter player’s speed using their leg length to their advantage. As their legs are usually longer, they take bigger steps, helping them to keep up with the speed of smaller players.

Do Taller Teams Have More Success?

While it’s true that having short people can help a team, a team with taller players usually has more success as they stack their teams so that taller players fill their key positions.

While it’s true that there are a few short soccer superstars who have been able to score regardless of their height, the backbone of a soccer team should still consist of taller people.

As the games have grown more physical over the years, taller people have used their height as an advantage in being able to stay on the field longer.

If you look at and compare professional leagues, you can see that most teams consist of taller players. Even Manchester City, which is considered the shortest among the bunch, also has its players averaging around 5 feet and 11.2 inches in height, so it’s safe to say that taller teams win more often than shorter ones.

What is the Average Height of a FIFA World Cup Player?

The overall height across all positions is 182.4 cm or around 5 feet and 10 inches. The average height has increased throughout the years, which is reflective of the teams’ strategy of onboarding tall players.


Do Taller Players Receive Different Treatment?

Taller people definitely have more advantages in terms of being on a soccer team. Soccer teams favor tall people, given that their height can be advantageous for key positions like goalkeeping. 

Can Tall Players Dribble?

Tall players may find it hard to dribble due to their body mass – they would need more time and space to turn around.

Since their center of gravity is also far from the ground, chances are they will be more unstable and prone to falling when they dribble. 

Are Taller Players Referred Differently?

It’s actually hard to spot a foul on taller players. This can be used as an advantage by opponents, wherein they would throw their body against the player and pretend to fall, so a foul can be called.

With this, taller players feel that they have to exaggerate their call for fouls, which can also be challenging for them.

How Tall Are the Best Footballers in the World?

Some of the best footballers are on the shorter side. Lionel Messi’s height is 5 feet and 7 inches, and Kante from Chelsea is 5 feet and 6 inches. One of the shortest is  Soltedo of Santos, who comes in at only 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Quite a few taller soccer players are deemed the best footballers in the world. Burn from Brighton & Hove Albion is 6 feet and 7 inches tall.

Soccer superstar Courtois from Real Madrid is another towering player, measuring at 6 feet 6 inches tall. 


Soccer is one of the sports wherein being tall is favored, but it is not a tall-exclusive sport. Players of any height can be advantageous if they have good soccer strategies.

Tall people have a better shot at joining soccer teams since it’s so important to have tall players as the backbone of the team. With a sport where every inch is important, it’s very important to have even a few inches to your advantage.

Shorter players have more skill in navigating the ball, making them essential in play as well. They can quickly knife through larger players, which is also important for a good strategy. 

Soccer is a team sport, and your height isn’t the most important factor in play. As long as you’re in the game, you’re essential to the teams no matter what.

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