There is a never ending debate in the soccer world about tall players! Does their height give them an advantage, or rather a disadvantage?
In my opinion, it just doesn’t matter as far as they play in the right position and use their abilities properly!
In this Post, I breakdown the best position that tall players should occupy to perform at the best of their abilities; in addition to some useful tips.
Best Soccer Position for tall Players?
First, you need to know the average height of soccer players in order to understand what is considered tall in soccer.
The average height for men in general is about 5’7”.The average Barcelona player height is 5’11”.
For women, the average height is 5’4” and the average female soccer player is 5’7”.
Unlike football or basketball, being tall is not necessarily a requirement. However, as you can tell, being taller than average seems to be normal in soccer.
Now that you have a point of reference for what is considered tall, let’s move onto what is the best position for taller players.
The best position for a tall player is goalkeeper. Some may argue whether or not it is a requirement to be tall in order to be a goalkeeper, but it can definitely be an advantage.
Being bigger means you can cover more area. You’ll have a wider reach which translates to blocking many potential scoring opportunities.
Typically, the tallest player on the squad is the goalkeeper.
Just because you are tall does not automatically mean you are stuck between the posts, another position which is great for tall players is midfield.
Midfielders are the first line of defense and offense. They control the pace of the game, and can set up the offense for a goal.
One of the objectives of a midfielder is to be aware of the field from a distance. You can imagine them as gatekeepers.
Having a height advantage means you can see more of the field.
Another advantage is you have an upper hand in receiving the ball, especially with headers. Tall midfielders control more of the field and make it difficult to get the ball down field.
A line of tall midfielders equals a large wall difficult to get over.
Tall players can play any position, but goalkeepers and midfielders are great places for having a height advantage.
Gear recommendations for tall soccer players …
The gear you use could make a difference on the field. Using the wrong, or in some cases no gear, might drastically impact your performance while playing.
As you can tell, tall soccer players have many options on what position to play. The most obvious position is goalkeeper, or some type of defender.
The Adidas Predator (Check it Here on Amazon) are perfect for tall players. Choosing real leather, kangaroo in this case, is better than synthetic. Real leather protects better, and gives more “feel” of the ball when dribbling.
As a defender, you’ll need the protection when you make long passes back down the field after a turnover.
Fortunately, these cleats are lightweight and comfortable. As a goalkeeper, sometimes standing around for a while happens. A comfortable cleat is essential.
Most players should have a mouthguard (Check This Model Here on Amazon). Especially tall players or goalkeepers. These players are more likely to take a ball to the face.
A long pass downfield will more likely hit a tall player in the face versus all the other player’s who will have the ball go over their heads.
Goalkeepers are the only players to have balls directed towards them – or indirectly depending on how you look at it. Either way, they are in a compromising position.
Protect your mouth. Use a mouthguard.
3. Elbow Guard – RDX Brace Sleeve
Two unique pieces of equipment for tall players are elbow braces. It is as much for your protection as it is for others.
Imagine going for a header and having an obvious advantage over another player. When you come down, your elbows will come first. In worse case scenarios, you will be dropping an elbow on someone’s head. Potentially hurting them bad.
Or, when chasing down a ball your elbow may hit someone in the face. Again, both of you will experience pain.
What is the best height for a soccer player?
If you have the skills to make up for your lack of height, then by all means play your heart out. If you are above average height, which is 5’7”’ for men and 5’4” for women, then you are in luck.
Remember, you can be an average height person and still dominate on the field.
However, if you are fortunate enough to be taller than 90% of the world’s population you should consider playing any position you want.
Also, keep in mind the average height of Barcelona players is 5’11” means anyone above average height has a good chance of going pro.
Women have lower averages, but the same idea applies. If you are taller than average you have more options available to you.
Same ideas apply – goalkeeper and midfielder.
What is the best height?
It all depends on so many factors, but a good starting point is above average height.
The average is 5’11” for Barcelona.
Does that mean being a team of tall players automatically make them the champion?
Skill and teamwork dictate the success of a team. Height plays a factor, and only a positive one if the tall players have what it takes to win.
In 2017 the BBC did a poll of European teams regarding height. Serbia had the tallest average of 6’11”.
Does that mean these giants won every game?
So, the best height is up for debate. However, above average height seems to be the answer.
Is height an advantage in soccer?
Besides being a top goalkeeper, an often overlooked aspect of being a tall soccer player is having an unfair advantage for headers.
Take for example midfielders and their ability to jump higher for a header or being able to stop the ball with their chest. Having the extra height over the opponent is a clear advantage.
When you consider those two examples, you can also see other advantages on the field. You are more of an obstruction to your opponent.
You will block your opponent’s field of vision by towering over them. That alone is worth being a tall player on a team. You single handedly cut off an opponent from the rest of their team. Any play involving that player is out of the equation.
As a taller player in many situations you’ll have a clear advantage. Whether you are blocking the field of vision or cutting off a player, you will be an asset to your team.
Tall players have a longer stride.
Covering a ton ground is easier most times for a tall player. Having longer limbs means getting across land faster. Theoretically at least.
Another clear advantage is larger frames hold more muscle. Taller players have more mass, which means more muscle to block with and use to get to destinations faster.
On top of that, an intimidating player poses a threat to the other team. Matchups are more difficult to predict when one of the players severely overwhelms the other.
Moving back to the goalkeeper, you can not forget a taller player will more than likely have larger hands. It’s obvious why having large hands is a major plus to goalkeepers.
I highly invite you to check those soccer position suggestions for short players … You’ll probably find those very useful!
Difficulties that most tall players have …
Don’t think having a tall player on the team means they will run over the opposition with ease.
In fact, tall players have inherent weaknesses you can not forget.
- Center of gravity.
- Taller players can be slower.
- Less agile.
- Less endurance as they have a bigger body to move and power.
A tall player has a higher center of gravity. This translates to shorter, quicker players getting past them easier. Speed and agility combat these giants.
Typically, taller players can be slower. In some cases, a tall player can make longer strides and arrive at destinations quicker. It takes a lot more effort to get longer limbs to move than it does shorter limbs. Which is why shorter players are often quicker than their taller counterparts.
Tall players are not always the most agile on the field. Again, it takes more time to longer limbs than it does shorter ones.
A tall player must work on their abilities to overcompensate for this weakness.
Also, you must take into account the energy it takes for all this movement. Whether it be running, jumping, tackling, jogging, passing, or shooting it all takes more energy when you have longer limbs to move.
Unless a taller player builds up endurance, their reach advantage is limited to short spurts. And in a game that can last a long time, having short spurts is close to useless.
Most successful tall soccer players …
Being taller than average is common on a professional level, so let’s move onto some true giants that have made a name for themselves besides being an anomaly.
1. Peter Crouch
Peter had amazing footwork for a 6’7” player. He could move across the field quickly, and effectively. England took advantage of this amazing player, and he gave back to them 22 goals in 42 appearances.
Not bad for someone so tall.
2. Kristof Van Hout
Imagine trying to get a goal past all 6’10” Kristof. At that height, you can only imagine the difficulty it is trying to out maneuver someone with so much reach.
The Belgian player was a wall most can not get past.
Final Thoughts …
Since you are, probably, tall, I really hope this article has given you a clear idea on how you should approach playing soccer …
… The most important thing is to keep practicing and consistently sharpening your skills! That’s the key all day every day!
If you are not totally happy with the positions I’ve suggested in this article, then you probably should check those tips to select a soccer position … I think you’ll find that very helpful!