Some sports are played for a short period of time in the year but soccer is played most of the time. The conditions that soccer can be played in a range from the summer heat to winter snow. You associate tennis with the summer months but how is soccer year-round?
The highest level professional sports such as baseball with the MLB, American football with the NFL or basketball with the NBA or even the NCAA, generate a lot of money due to the interest that people show in these events where they attend the stadium around 100.000 people per game and millions who watch it on television. In this regard, the advertising and the rights to broadcast competitions are very important.
In soccer, being the most popular sport in the world, the profits that are obtained are enormous, which has led to the idea of making calendars with as many matches as possible in order to reap this popularity. This is why we find soccer matches at almost all times of the year, be it for official matches in local leagues, international club competitions, friendly or preseason matches, or matches between national teams, thus making the whole year very complicated and tight for soccer professionals of the highest level.
What do soccer players do in the off season?
The off-season period in soccer varies depending on each country since, in most leagues in Europe, the offseason is between May and August (leaving aside national team tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro or CONMEBOL America Cup) while in the United States, the offseason runs from November to February as they use a calendar year calendar.
In South America, it is normal to have two league championships a year, so they have two off-season periods that are usually similar to those in Europe and the United States, that is, one between May and August and the other between November and February. In the United States, at the High School level, soccer is usually played in the fall season, however, this may vary according to each state since, in California, it is played in the spring season.
In any case, during the offseason, two periods take place: the first one is the players’ vacation and the other one is the preseason with their respective clubs. Soccer players have vacations like any other worker and its duration must be affected by their participation in tournaments with their national team that is usually played between the months of June and July and by what their team advances in said tournament. Clubs allow these players to join the pre-season shortly after it has started.
The pre-season is a stage where clubs focus on achieving the necessary match fitness for the start of the season and this is done through training programs in which the workload is progressively increased. This is a period where the first weeks are of physical preparation only and then they start a series of friendly matches where they seek to recover the level of football.
Returning to the point of introduction, in the search to take advantage of the popularity of soccer, pre-season tournaments have been created such as the International Champions Cup (which is played in several countries including the United States), the Audi Cup (preceded by Bayern Munchen) or the Emirates Cup (hosted by Arsenal FC in their stadium).
How is soccer year-round?
As already mentioned, when it comes to a worldwide scale, soccer seasons vary depending on the country and its competition formats, although it usually covers most of the year regardless of the format used. In the United States, for example, sports tend to be separated by times of the year, especially at university and high school levels and even at the professional level. However, in the case of soccer, it covers much of the year and this is largely due to the number of games and the number of games that a professional soccer player can play at the highest level in a given period of time.
The soccer seasons in Europe usually begin with a match between the local league champion and the most important cup in that country in a duel called SuperCup (or Community Shield in England) although the date of said match has recently been modified so much, the place and format as has been the case in Spain or Italy. Subsequently, they start the league tournaments where each team faces each other, at least twice, and the team that scores the most points is the winner.
This format is respected in most European countries, although with exceptions such as Belgium, which uses a kind of post-season, as well as in the United States, where they use the conference format that is common in American sports. Finally, most local and international cup finals are left for the last month of the season except in cases such as the Carabao Cup in England, for example.
How often do soccer players play?
Soccer is a very physically demanding sport, where each player can travel an average of 13 km per game, not including all the demands that jump, collide, control the ball, shoot and other game actions require. So a soccer player requires about 48-72 hours to recover from that physical demand that it has during a soccer game.
That is why in the calendars of the main soccer leagues in the world, 2 games are played per week in the worst case, with few exceptions such as Christmas time in England with Boxing Day and New Year days where up to 3 games are played per week although this is being reviewed by the Premier League due to complaints from some managers and clubs as they require many rotations in their starting elevens.
In fact, when creating the calendars of soccer leagues around the world, it starts from the calendars supplied by FIFA where the dates of their tournaments and the famous FIFA dates are specified, then the continental confederations such as UEFA, CONMEBOL or CONCACAF create their calendars for their own tournaments based on the one already established by FIFA and finally the national federations establish the calendars of the local leagues and cups adjusting to those of the continental confederations. All this with the consideration that the players need 72 hours of rest between each game and respecting the off-season periods that were indicated a few paragraphs back.
So soccer is year-round with only a few weeks off before the pre-season when the friendlies take place. When the MLS has ended its season, there is always the EPL and La Liga to enjoy. As long as it is safe, soccer can be played at any time of the year.