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When we are watching soccer, we see players of all shapes and sizes. Some are really tall while others are smaller in stature.
Some use their height and size to their advantage, and this makes them a dangerous prospect for the opposition to deal with.
In this article we will discuss does height matters, what is better for a soccer player, to be tall or short and who the shortest and tallest players in soccer history are.
That brings us to the question of how tall are soccer players and does size matters? Read on to learn everything there is about tall and short soccer players and if it matters or not.
It depends on what position you play. As a general rule, central defenders are usually taller than the majority of the team.
This is for heading the ball away while wingers and some midfielders are shorter because pace and skill are needed in the areas they play. Overall, it depends on what position they play but yes size does matter in certain situations on a soccer pitch for players.
Does Height Matter in Soccer?
As stated above, yes it does and it will largely depend on what position you play. A striker can be tall like Peter Crouch or small like Sergio Aguero.
In terms of Crouch, his height mattered greatly throughout his career for both Liverpool and Stoke City.
Often his heading prowess was used to the team’s advantage simply because he was so much taller than any central defender. Therefore, he scored so many headed goals compared to goals with his feet.
In Aguero’s case, his small size and stature served him incredibly well in the attacking third. Because he was not very tall, he used that to his advantage as he had a very low center of gravity and could use his pace and trickery to score goals and get past players.
This made him hard to deal with for defenders as they were often taller and lacked the pace to keep up with him.
So yes, height does matter when it comes to soccer. However, it will depend on what position you play to get a really good idea of whether it truly matters or not.
Is it Better to be Short or Tall in Soccer?
Again, this will largely depend on what position you play. For a central defender, it is far better to be taller, and this is for several reasons.
Firstly, they will want to be taller and stronger than the opposition strikers.
This is so they can easily deal with whatever the striker can throw at them as the defender will be able to deal with any balls crossed into the box as well as a physical battle that often occurs during a game.
For a striker, it is not as clear-cut. They can be tall or short and it will not necessarily matter. This is because a manager will often tailor the game style and game plan to suit the attacker.
If the striker is tall, then the team will be crossing into the box a lot more whereas if a striker is smaller, then the team will play more like Arsenal and will be a more passing dominant side as they lack the aerial presence from their smaller striker.
Is Being Short an Advantage in Soccer?
Yes, it can be an advantage most definitely. Shorter players often have the pace to burn, just look at Leo Messi.
His size allows him to utilize his pace during a game. The advantage is that short soccer players have often had lightning-quick feet and can perform skill moves like stepovers with little to no effort, which makes them a seriously dangerous threat for opposing teams.
Is Being Tall an Advantage in Soccer?
Yes, it is, again depending on what position you play. Certainly, there are a host of advantages that come with being tall in soccer.
Firstly, more often than not, you will be far stronger than anyone you play against, while this is not always the case, more often than not it is.
A defender that is taller than a striker will have the advantage in every aerial duel that the pair face off in.
A defender will get his/her head to the ball first in corners and crosses as the striker simply cannot get to the ball first, simply because of their height.
What Height is Best for Soccer?
No set height is best for soccer. You look at Leo Messi and he is short, yet one of the best players on the planet.
The same goes for Cristiano Ronaldo who is significantly taller and he too is considered one of the best players on the planet.
As a rule though, according to Richard Witzig in “The Global Art of Soccer” the ideal height for a soccer player is between 5 feet, 6 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches tall.
Now, this is not to say that players who do not fit into that height bracket are not good, it is just a generalization.
Ideally, you would want a player who is of a height that he/she can compete in aerial duels and win their fair share, and then when the ball is on the ground, they have the pace and power to compete as well.
The 6ft 2-inch height is probably ideal as this allows the player to compete on both fronts and to be on top of their game as well.
Being tall enough to win headers but also if coming up against a player with pace like Cristiano Ronaldo, they will not be left in his wake.
Average Soccer Player Height
According to the Football Observatory, the average height of soccer players around the globe is around 182 cm. In a study, they found that out of the 572 clubs surveyed (11.7%), 62 clubs had players playing that were on average shorter than 180cm.
Can Tall Players Dribble?
In short, yes they can, and depending on the skill level, they can do it very well. Generally, taller players will not be as good at dribbling as smaller players but that doesn’t mean that in every situation, they will not.
Oliver Giroud was good with a ball at his feet as was Peter Crouch, so yes tall players can dribble without a doubt.
What is a Good Height For a Soccer Player?
As stated above, a good height for a soccer player will depend on the position they play.
A good height is a player that can compete for both in terms of pace as well as in an aerial duel whether it be at corners or a physical battle.
A height of around 6ft, 2 inches is considered to be a good height for soccer players as this allows them to compete very well in every situation they come across.
What Position do Tall Soccer Players Play?
For the majority of tall soccer players, a fair portion of them is either central defenders or strikers. This is because often they will play on each other during a game.
If a defender is tall, then he/she can compete in every situation and will not lose many aerial duels. A tall striker, he/she can be a valuable weapon for the team as they can provide a focal point for the team’s attacks.
At corners or even with long balls played to them to hold up the play and bring in other players, tall strikers can be a seriously underrated commodity for teams.
What Position do Short Soccer Players Play?
Most of the time, short soccer players will often occupy wide positions on a soccer pitch. Right, and left backs are often smaller and so are teams wingers.
Players like Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Christian Pulisic are wide players and use their small size to their advantage as their pace and skill with the ball can see them drive past defenders with ease.
If they were taller, then they would be considerably slower and would then find it hard to get past players as defenders could easily keep up with them.
Shorter Soccer Players in History
Throughout history, there have been some really short soccer players.
These include Rui Gil Soares de Barros (1.6m), Levi Porter (1.6m), Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez (1.6m), Madson Formagini Caridade (1.6m), Benedict Vilakazi (1.57m), Samuel Peter Lee (1.57m), Jafal Rashed Al-Kuwari (1.55m) and Marcin Garuch who came in at 1.55m.
They are the ten shortest soccer players of all time.
Tallest Soccer Players in History
There have been some seriously tall soccer players throughout history, these include Tor Hogne Aarøy – (Height: 2.04 m – 6 ft 8 1/2 in), Yang Changpeng – (Height: 2.05 m – 6 ft 8 1/2 in), Vanja Iveša – (Height: 2.05 m – 6 ft 9 in), Paul Millar – (Height: 2.08 m – 6 ft 10 in) and Kristof van Hout – (Height: 2.08 m – 6 ft 10 in).