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Height of Female Soccer Players by Position

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By Ashley Templeton

The height of female soccer players is usually taller than the average for women. The average height for a women’s soccer team is 5 foot 7 inches.  This is three inches taller than the average female height of 5 foot 4 inches.  

There can be considerable differences around this average – for example, the shortest player currently on the US Women’s Soccer team is Crystal Dunn who measures only 5’1, while the tallest is Sam Mewis at 6’0.

As in the men’s game being short does not preclude the elite from being good at football – after all Maradona, Garrincha and Lionel Messi are some of the best that have ever played the game and their lack of inches did not hold them back in any way. In fact, in some case, it proved to be an advantage, their lower center of gravity enabling them to turn and twist as they dribbled their way past opponents.

Nevertheless, there are certain positions on the field where being tall is decidedly an advantage.

Goalkeeping is an obvious example. A goalkeeper not only needs to have long arms and legs to deal with shots, but she will also be expected to deal with crosses played into the box. As the only player on the pitch able to use her hands, she will be expected to take advantage of this by coming out to deal with balls into the box, reaching above the heads of the oncoming attackers.

In addition, a longer torso and limbs provide a greater blocking area, and, usually, taller goalkeepers have bigger hands as well.

Central defense is another area of the pitch where extra height makes a difference. Anybody who plays in that position knows that they will normally have to deal with a good number of crosses and high balls in the course of a game. Heading ability is important, but that is allied with the ability to get a good spring off the ground, and an extra few centimeters can make all the difference when duelling with a center-forward.

And most center-backs will be expected to go up for set pieces at the other end, and, in the course of a season, should claim their fair share of goals. Again, being tall is a distinct advantage. 

Teams that play with a traditional center forward may prefer a taller woman to lead the line. She will be expected to win balls in the air, hold the ball and bring other teammates into play.

There are other positions on the pitch where height is not always such an advantage. Although tall players can be fast, their ability to accelerate quickly is often lacking, and because players rarely sprint for more than four seconds at a time, speed off the mark can be crucial.

That is why many female full-backs tend to be smaller, and those that play in wide positions. During the course of an average game, they will be expected to make many runs up and down the flanks, and being smaller can help them cover the ground better.