Do Soccer Players Run Far? What Positions Work The Hardest?

Everyone knows that soccer is easily one of the most popular sports in the world.

Not just for spectating, but for people wanting to take part and write about their glory days as they become their brand of soccer player. 

Do Soccer Players Run Far? What Positions Work The Hardest?

However, not everyone is as gifted as the people we see kicking the ball about on our television screens.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kylian Mbappe have quickly established themselves as sportspeople of the highest caliber and inspire billions of people whenever they step on a pitch.

Anyone who plays soccer can tell you that it isn’t a walk in the park and requires a lot of effort and hard work to get anywhere near the levels that these athletes have set out for the world to see.

It’s always easy to criticize them for not performing well when they’re not scoring, but the reality is, they’re still performing at a much higher level than many people could even dream of playing.

Many people understand the amount of hard work that goes into becoming a professional soccer player, but they might not realize just how far these athletes will run for their team.

After all, soccer is a team sport and requires everyone to work as hard as they can to win. Do soccer players run far? Follow the rest of the guide to find out.

What Is Soccer?

Now, there is a point to this question, even though it sounds self-explanatory.

When you think of a soccer game, do you picture a bunch of guys running around like madmen trying to score goals, or are you thinking of a game where a team works together to create the final end product? If you have a team of people who are good at soccer, but can’t run, then you’re not going to score goals.

Soccer is a very complex sport and involves much more than just kicking a ball.

There are rules governing everything from what type of shoes you should wear to whether or not you can touch the ball in certain scenarios and situations. 

Everything is based upon a certain standard which means that if any aspect of the game doesn’t follow those standards then the result could be catastrophic.

What we want you to take away from this is that the players have to do much more than just kick the ball about and hope they score. They have to run incredibly far to prevent the other team from scoring. 

Alternatively, they have to sprint at lightning speed to try and beat their opponent to the ball.

These examples of hard work and running can mean the difference between scoring and defending a goal. The difference between winning and losing a game.

Do Soccer Players Run To Keep Fit?

Another thing you need to consider when watching a soccer match is whether or not the players are running to keep fit.

The reason why you would ask this question is that if your favorite player is constantly running up and down the field, then he or she may be doing so to stay in shape.

This isn’t true for every single athlete, but it does happen. Some athletes make sure that they exercise regularly and don’t let anything stop them from staying fit.

There isn’t a soccer player in the world that doesn’t take part in training sessions every week to keep themselves at the top of their game.

This is done for lots of reasons, like practicing for the real thing, when they’re expected to run large differences in an official match.

Many players will have to run a lot in training to make sure that they’re ready for the real thing, meaning that they don’t have a big shock when they’re playing the game and realizing they’re not fit enough.

There are different ways that soccer players will work to stay fit when in training by running and we’ll look at these different methods now.

Running On The Treadmill

One way that many soccer players like to stay fit is by using a treadmill.

Some clubs build special areas to allow players to train on treadmills during matches so that they’re warming up, ready to make an impact.

It’s a safe alternative to running outside, while also allowing the players to simulate things that they’d normally encounter during a game.

Training on a treadmill has another benefit too. It allows the players to see exactly how far they’ve covered on the machine, making it easy to track progress over time.

However, this can’t compare to running on an actual pitch and will only provide an alternative option for those who are working out indoors or trying to recover from an injury.

Running On A Grass Soccer Pitch

A second method used by soccer players to stay fit is by running on a grass surface.

This works well for two reasons. Firstly, it lets the players practice dribbling skills and pass the ball around.

Secondly, it allows them to use the entire surface of the pitch, unlike running on a treadmill where they’re limited to running within a confined space. 

The problem with running on a grass pitch is that it can become dangerous. If you fall over or trip over something, then you could hurt yourself badly, especially if you’re not wearing appropriate footwear.

You could also get injured if the surface of the pitch is wet or uneven, with dips and holes frequently forming on soccer pitches around the world. Alternatively, the pitch can be too dry and become hazardous as well.

However, grass pitches tend to have the best experience for soccer players who are looking to train themselves for a game or get themselves over an injury.

There’s a big difference between training and rehabilitating indoors on artificial surfaces, however, the real pitches are the best way to prepare yourself.

Running In Water

Lots of players who are coming back from injury will partake in resistance running through water.

Because of the effect that water has on the human body and the way that it becomes harder to run through the liquid, many footballers will run through water in a pool filled up toward their chest. 

By doing this, they run slowly through the pool, focusing on technique and muscle fitness. However, this isn’t a method that is used frequently in mainstream soccer training.

Why Might Players Run In Soccer?

Of course, there aren’t too many sports in the world that require the participants not to run, however, there are different reasons for soccer players to run.

Otherwise, these athletes would simply be running around for no reason at all and would be useless when it comes to the actual sport itself and trying to win games.

We’ll now look at some of the instances where soccer players will run with more intensity than running in other areas of the game.

Chasing Down A Loose Ball

If a player loses possession of the ball, he needs to try and regain control of it immediately.

To do this, he might need to chase down the opponent and gain ground quickly.

Chasing after the ball is one of the most important aspects of the game and is often taught to young children as part of their education when learning the sport.

It’s the same thing for professional soccer players. They need to learn how to fight for the ball when it goes loose because the rest of the team won’t always be able to help them out.

Therefore, they must know how to react and how to take charge of the situation. This way they can win the possession back before the ball falls to the other team. 


Many teams around the world will use pressing tactics to make their opponents make a mistake and lose possession of the ball.

This works by teammates all working at once to run forward and close down the person in possession of the ball. 

This, in turn, forces them to make a fast decision and potentially make a mistake.

A lot of the time when this happens, the player in possession of the ball will simply get tackled or pass the ball into an open space, where players must race to be the first one to get the ball.

Teams like Liverpool and Manchester City use this tactic a lot, making it effective in winning the ball back and creating chances for your team. 

It’s no secret that goalkeepers and defenders aren’t always as comfortable on the ball as other positions on the pitch, meaning that a striker or a quick winger can close down their opponents and make them give the ball away in dangerous positions on the pitch.

This tactic is very physically demanding and requires soccer players to run a lot further than if they were playing possession soccer.

This is a great example of when soccer players have to run with great intensity in this sport.

Running To Get Back Into Position

Running To Get Back Into Position

There are also some occasions where a player may need to go forwards and run toward the opposition’s penalty area.

When this occurs, the player will usually work hard to reach the right position so that he can shoot at the goal. 

To achieve this, he may need to sprint for several yards before shooting. This is especially the case for wingers and fullbacks that will look to provide support for the attackers.

In competitive matches, coaches often tell their players to play passes to teammates rather than going forwards themselves to create opportunities. There are times, though, when a player must run and score.

If you’re a striker, then you’re probably going to want to be the one to do this.

Many times, however, these players will run up the pitch to get into a scoring position and the opponents will win the ball back.

This means that the players who have run-up to the top-end of the pitch will now have to run to get back into their position. 

If they don’t, then they risk the other team getting more players forward and will eventually end up conceding a goal if they don’t sprint to get back.

What Positions Require The Most Running?

As you may have guessed, many positions on the pitch require more running than the rest because their teammates might be sticking to their position more, or will be required to do less work to win the ball back.

We’ll look here at some of the positions on the soccer pitch that requires more running than anywhere else.

Winger Or Wide Midfielder

The winger or wide midfielder has to rely on his teammates to win the ball back from the opponent so they can receive the ball.

Once they have the ball, they are then relied upon to create their chances by running at their opponents and trying to get into goal-scoring positions.

They must also time their runs a lot of the time to avoid being offside. However, they must also help out the wide defenders when they don’t have the ball.

They, therefore, need to run back down the pitch a fair distance, toward their own goal, to get back into position.

Sometimes, these runs may take them out of position if they don’t maintain good control over their speed.

This position requires a massive engine and a lot of endurance to keep running throughout the whole game.

Attacking Midfielder

An attacking midfielder is responsible for providing service to the attacker. As such, they will often find themselves in a situation where they need to run backward quite far to pick the ball up.

From here, they will have to carry the ball forward and search for the killer pass to get their team a goal.

Often, they will be tasked with covering the entire width of the field, which means that they’ll need to cover long distances.


A striker’s main job is to score goals. Therefore, they’ll usually be asked to run forward as much as possible.

They won’t always be expected to do this, but when they do, they’ll be given a free role to roam around the pitch and try to make use of any space they see.

Usually, they’ll be given instructions to move between the lines of the defense to open up passing lanes.

However, the defenders are there to make life hard for them and they will often have to make runs to try and deceive their markers and create their chances.

Strikers don’t usually have to run back to defend, but a lot of them will do so when they lose the ball themselves and feel obligated to take matters into their own hands.

Full Backs

Just like strikers, fullbacks are required to run forwards to score goals when they see fit.

However, unlike strikers, they’ll need to do this while defending against attacks from midfielders and wide forwards.

Not only that but they’ll also be expected to protect the center backs when they come out to defend.

During a match, they’re likely to spend large amounts of time moving up and down the pitch, helping their attacking teammates and their defensive partners.

As you can tell, every player needs to run for different reasons. Some players will need to run to stay fit and healthy, others will want to stay sharp in certain areas of the field, and sometimes, they’ll just want to mix things up and make it harder for the opposition.

When it comes to soccer, everyone wants to play well and improve, and no one wants to be left behind.

With that said, we hope that these tips have helped you better understand how each player runs, what their roles are, and why they need to run. 

Famous Soccer Players With Running Reputations

Throughout history, many players have been recognized for their engines and their style of soccer that requires them to close down the opposition to win the game.

A lot of these players will typically be found in the middle of the park because of their ability to cover large areas of the pitch, but not all of them are.

N’Golo Kante

Kante has been praised by fans and critics alike for his unique running style during matches. Many people believe that he is an excellent example of someone who makes the most of their abilities.

He may not be known for scoring lots of goals, but he does help his side by making sure that they keep possession and can build on attacks.

He’s one of those players that will force others into making mistakes and will be one of the last faces you want to see running toward you, should you have the ball.

Claude Makelele

Makelele is another great example of a player with a reputation for being able to go long distances without getting tired.

His stamina is legendary and he’s been nicknamed by some as “The Beast”, because he never seems to tire.

His speed isn’t quite as fast as some other players, but his endurance allows him to get away with it more than others.

Also playing for Chelsea and the French national side, Makelele was relentless and made life a nightmare for opposition midfielders.

Ji-Sung Park

Park is another player whose reputation for being able to run far was earned over a period of years.

In his younger days, he was considered to be one of South Korea’s best prospects for becoming a star, but injuries robbed him of that opportunity. 

Making some incredible performances for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, the forward was given the nickname “Three-Lung Park”, for his excellent marking of legendary playmaker Andrea Pirlo when Man Utd met AC Milan in the Champions League.

Luka Modric

Modric is another player with a reputation for covering vast amounts of ground to win games.

While he doesn’t score very often, he always looks like he’s doing something exciting on the pitch and his energy is contagious. 

It’s hard not to love watching him run around, even if you don’t particularly care about how he plays soccer.

Very underrated in terms of ability, the Croatian catalyst will surely go down as one of the best midfielders in soccer history.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, soccer players are required to run a lot. Some of them are better runners than others, but each role requires its own special set of skills.

Although many players have reputations for being good runners, there are still plenty of surprises out there.

Hopefully, this article will motivate you to take up running and start training your legs.

Ultimately, most sports require a lot of running, and soccer is no different! So lace up your best boots and start practicing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Far Do Soccer Players Run In A Match?

This depends entirely on the team’s tactics, but generally speaking, soccer players can run several kilometers per game, depending on their position and how long they’re on the pitch. 

Why Do Soccer Players Run So Much?

Because they have to! Their job is to protect the ball, defend their area, and attack opponents.

They also need to make quick decisions and react quickly to give teammates time to perform.

If they didn’t run, they wouldn’t be able to keep fit and play for years upon years of matches.

Which Positions On The Pitch Run Furthest?

All positions require some form of sprinting at times, although different ones require longer sprints than others.

For instance, midfielders tend to cover large areas while goalkeepers and center backs tend to cover smaller spaces, but all positions must move quickly to successfully complete their actions. As such, positions vary in terms of how far they must travel.