How Many Miles Do Soccer Players Run in a Game?

Soccer, often referred to as the “beautiful game,” is a sport that demands remarkable physical prowess and endurance. It’s not just about scoring goals or making perfect passes; it’s also about the miles players cover on the field. In this article, we’ll explore the intriguing question: How many miles do soccer players run in a game? This query delves into the heart of soccer’s physical demands, providing insight into the players’ extraordinary athleticism and the grueling demands they face on the pitch.

To understand the full scope of the distances soccer players traverse, we must consider various factors that influence their running patterns. The intensity and style of play, the dimensions of the pitch, and individual roles on the team all play a significant role. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, offers a comprehensive source of information on the sport and its regulations, including pitch dimensions.

When assessing the average distance a player covers, it’s essential to consider their position on the field. Midfielders and forwards often cover more ground than defenders and goalkeepers.

PositionAverage Distance Run in Miles
Goalkeeper1-2 miles
Defenders5-7 miles
Midfielders7-9 miles
Forwards7-9 miles

To put these distances into perspective, it’s intriguing to compare soccer to other sports like basketball, football, and rugby. US Soccer and Soccer America are excellent sources to explore soccer statistics and insights into American soccer.

SportAverage Distance Run in Miles (per game)
Soccer7-9 miles
Basketball2-3 miles
American Football1-1.25 miles (position-dependent)
Rugby4-6 miles

Additionally, we’ll highlight record-breaking moments in soccer history, where exceptional players have covered remarkable distances during a single match. These examples serve as a testament to the extraordinary physical demands placed on soccer players and showcase the pinnacle of their endurance and dedication to the sport.

Top Soccer Players Who Have Run the Most In A Game

Running tirelessly across the soccer pitch is a testament to the exceptional stamina and work rate of certain players. Here are some notable examples of soccer players who have run the most in a single game:

  1. James Milner has etched his name in the record books for covering the most ground in a single league match. In a game featuring Manchester City against Stoke City, Milner showcased his incredible work rate by running an astonishing 8.42 miles. This outstanding achievement not only shattered the league record but also solidified his reputation as one of the most industrious players in the league.
  2. N’Golo Kanté: The French midfield dynamo is renowned for his tireless running. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, Kanté covered an impressive 7.6 miles (12.25 kilometers) in a high-stakes match against Croatia. His relentless efforts contributed significantly to France’s victory.
  3. Arturo Vidal: The Chilean midfielder is famous for his all-action style of play. In a Bundesliga match while playing for Bayern Munich, Vidal ran approximately 7.3 miles (11.74 kilometers) against Bayer Leverkusen, showcasing his immense work rate in midfield.
  4. Jordan Henderson: The Liverpool captain is known for his leadership and exceptional work rate. In the UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona in 2019, Henderson covered a staggering distance of 8.1 miles (13.04 kilometers). His relentless running and determination played a crucial role in Liverpool’s remarkable comeback.

These players have left a lasting impression not only because of their remarkable running statistics but also because of the impact they’ve had on their respective teams. Their work rate and endurance have made them standout figures in the world of soccer.

Understanding how many miles soccer players run in a game provides valuable insights into the athleticism required to excel in the sport. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the training methods used by soccer players to improve their endurance, examine the impact of running on their performance, and address frequently asked questions about this fascinating aspect of the game.

How Do Soccer Players Train to Run Long Distances?

Soccer Player running on the soccer field

Soccer players are known for their remarkable endurance, which allows them to cover substantial distances during a game. But how do they achieve this level of fitness? Training is the key. In this section, we’ll delve into the training methods and exercises that soccer players use to improve their endurance, allowing them to run long distances throughout a match.

Training Methods

  1. Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training:
    • Aerobic training focuses on improving the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently. Long-distance running and continuous, moderate-intensity exercises are central to this training method.
    • Anaerobic training involves high-intensity, short-duration exercises. While it doesn’t directly target long-distance running, it helps improve overall fitness and contributes to a player’s ability to maintain high-intensity efforts.
  2. Interval Training:
    • Interval training is a staple in a soccer player’s regimen. It involves alternating between high and low-intensity exercise. For example, sprinting for a short duration followed by a slower recovery jog. This type of training helps improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, making it essential for soccer players.
  3. Cross-Training:
    • Cross-training incorporates various exercises into a soccer player’s training routine. Swimming, cycling, and weightlifting can help improve overall fitness and provide a break from the repetitive nature of running.

Drills and Exercises

  1. Shuttle Runs:
    • Shuttle runs involve running back and forth between two points. This exercise mimics the stop-and-start nature of soccer, improving a player’s ability to change direction and accelerate quickly.
  2. Cone Drills:
    • Cone drills enhance a player’s agility and ball control. Players weave in and out of cones placed at specific distances, requiring quick changes in direction.
  3. Plyometrics:
    • Plyometric exercises focus on explosive movements. Activities like jumping drills help soccer players improve their power and explosiveness, contributing to their ability to sprint and cover distances effectively.

Importance of Endurance Training

Endurance training is crucial for soccer players because it directly impacts their ability to perform consistently throughout a game. Running long distances requires not only physical fitness but also mental resilience. Players need to maintain their speed, agility, and decision-making under fatigue, and endurance training helps them achieve this.

The Impact of Running on Soccer Player’s Performance

Running is at the core of a soccer player’s physical demands, and it plays a pivotal role in shaping their overall performance on the pitch. Understanding how running affects a soccer player’s performance is crucial for appreciating the intricacies of this beautiful game.

Performance Enhancement

  1. Improved Endurance:
    • Endurance is the ability to sustain physical effort over an extended period. Soccer players with superior endurance can maintain a high work rate throughout the game. They can make repeated sprints, recover quickly, and consistently contribute to their team’s attack and defense. Running long distances during training and games directly enhances a player’s endurance.
  2. Enhanced Agility:
    • Agility is the capacity to change direction quickly and maintain balance while doing so. Soccer is a sport that requires rapid shifts in direction, both with and without the ball. Running drills that focus on changing direction, such as shuttle runs and cone drills, help improve a player’s agility.
  3. Increased Stamina:
    • Stamina relates to a player’s capacity to endure physical exertion, specifically in the context of high-intensity activity. Soccer players need stamina to keep up with the pace of the game, especially during intense moments. Endurance training, which includes long runs and interval training, contributes significantly to their stamina.

Injury Risk

  1. Overuse Injuries:
    • Soccer players are prone to overuse injuries due to the repetitive nature of running, especially long distances during games and training. These injuries can include stress fractures, tendonitis, and muscle strains. Proper recovery, including rest and injury prevention exercises, is essential to mitigate these risks.
  2. Preventive Measures:
    • To minimize the risk of injury due to running, soccer players often engage in specific injury prevention exercises and routines. These routines focus on strengthening the muscles and ligaments that are most stressed during running, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings. Additionally, proper warm-up and cool-down procedures are crucial to prevent injuries.

Running’s Role in Speed, Agility, and Stamina

  • Speed: Running is fundamental to speed in soccer. The ability to sprint, chase down opponents, or break away with the ball relies on a player’s running capabilities. Speed training is an integral part of a soccer player’s regimen.
  • Agility: Agility is vital in soccer for evading opponents, making quick turns, and maintaining ball control. Running drills and exercises that emphasize rapid changes in direction help enhance a player’s agility.
  • Stamina: Soccer players must possess the stamina to perform consistently for the entire match. Running long distances during games and training is central to building the necessary stamina.

In conclusion, running is the backbone of a soccer player’s performance. It is the foundation of their endurance, agility, and overall stamina. Nevertheless, players must manage the risk of overuse injuries by incorporating proper preventive measures and taking care of their bodies. The dynamic interplay between running and performance is what makes soccer an awe-inspiring sport.


As we explore the world of soccer and the significant role running plays in a player’s performance, several questions often arise. In this section, we address some of the most frequently asked questions related to how far soccer players run, their training, and the impact of running on their performance.

What is the average distance run by a soccer player in a game?

The average distance run by a soccer player in a game can vary based on several factors, including the player’s position, playing style, and the match’s intensity. However, on average, a professional soccer player covers approximately 7 to 9 miles (11 to 14 kilometers) during a 90-minute match.

How does the distance run by soccer players compare to other sports?

Soccer players cover significant distances during a game, but how does this compare to other sports? While the distance covered in soccer is substantial, it may not surpass sports like long-distance running or cycling, which are specifically designed for endurance. However, soccer players often run more than athletes in sports like basketball and American football, which involve intermittent bursts of high-intensity activity.

What are the factors that determine the distance run by a soccer player in a game?

Several factors influence the distance a soccer player covers in a game:
Position: Midfielders and forwards generally cover more ground than defenders and goalkeepers.
Playing Style: Teams that focus on high-pressing tactics may require players to run more.
Pitch Size: The dimensions of the field can impact the distance players cover.

How do soccer players train to run long distances?

Soccer players undergo rigorous training to enhance their endurance and run long distances. Training methods include aerobic and anaerobic exercises, interval training, and specific drills like shuttle runs and cone exercises. These routines focus on improving a player’s fitness and ability to cover ground efficiently.

What is the impact of running on a soccer player’s performance?

Running has a profound impact on a soccer player’s performance. It directly contributes to their endurance, agility, speed, and overall stamina. However, players must also be mindful of the risk of overuse injuries associated with running and take preventive measures to maintain their performance levels.
Understanding the relationship between running and soccer performance provides valuable insights into the physical demands and dedication required to excel in this captivating sport.


In the realm of soccer, the art of running is not merely a means of traversing the field but a testament to the exceptional athleticism and dedication that this beautiful game demands. Soccer players’ ability to run long distances is a physical marvel, a testament to their unwavering endurance, agility, and tenacity.

Running is more than a fundamental aspect of soccer; it’s the backbone of a player’s performance. Improved endurance, enhanced agility, and increased stamina are the byproducts of their dedication to the art of running. As players traverse the field, they exhibit their physical prowess, striving to maintain their peak performance throughout the match.

However, as we’ve discussed, the demands of running in soccer come with their own set of challenges, including the risk of overuse injuries. To mitigate these risks, players engage in injury prevention measures and take good care of their bodies.

In closing, soccer is a sport that beautifully combines the artistry of ball control and the athleticism of running. The intricate relationship between running and performance exemplifies the enchantment of this sport. Understanding the tireless efforts of soccer players in their pursuit of excellence gives us a profound appreciation for the extraordinary world of soccer.

Thank you for accompanying us on this journey through the miles and the dedication that make soccer the captivating sport that it is.

Anthony Molina

Anthony Molina

Hello, fellow football fanatics! I'm Anthony Molina, and my life has always revolved around the beautiful game. My mission with FOOTBOLNO is to serve as the premier soccer guide, ensuring enthusiasts continue to play and cherish the beautiful game throughout their lifetime.

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