Why are Soccer Players Skinny? Here’s Why…

Soccer involves a number of twists and turns in the game and this demands the players to be flexible. This flexibility often requires players to be skinny so they get to excel in the game.

Soccer players are professional athletes. There is minimal fat on soccer players, so their Body Mass Index is super low. A soccer player can play three games in a week during the peak season. 

Training is for most players over 7 days, so for most of the season, they won’t get a day off.

Although some of these days will be spent doing recovery and recuperation work, to rest and repair their body. 

The majority of players are what we class as skinny but that is far from diminishing their strength and attributes.

Although they look like they could benefit from a large meal, they’re certainly stronger than most. 


Body Mass Index

The body mass calculation tells us the amount of fat a person has. Here is the image below, it shows us that a healthy person has between 18.5-25.

File:BMI chart.svg
BMI Chart

Anything less than 18.5 is unhealthy as our bodies need fat because it’s our fuel. Low levels of BMI can lead to injuries, poor recovery, and feeling faint.

Let’s take a look at one top player to see if they fall into the category of skinny or healthy.

BMI: 20.9 (Normal Body Weight), Height: 5’9″ (1.75 m), Weight: 141 lbs (64 kg)

Neymar BMI Calculation

Neymar is on the lower end of the BMI scale, but not too close to the unhealthy side.

22.06.2018. Saint Petersburg, Russian NEYMAR in action during the Fifa World Cup Russia 2018, Group E, football game between BRAZIL V COSTARICA in Saint Petersburg Stadium.
22.06.2018. Saint Petersburg, Russian NEYMAR in action during the Fifa World Cup Russia 2018, Group E, football game between BRAZIL V COSTARICA in Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Why soccer players are not muscular?

Soccer players aren’t muscular with large biceps because this limits their strength in other areas of the game. Their strength lies in their core muscles.

In some sports, it requires the athlete to have substantial body weight/mass/fat to perform. Consider a boxer. A boxer can vary in weight, but this is used technically for heavyweights.

A heavyweight has no limits on what they weigh, so they can adjust it to prepare for a fight.

The weight will give them that extra punching power, but it will also slow them down. So it’s a trade-off between the two – power or speed. 

A shot-putter is generally heavy/fat for a reason – they need that force.

I’m sure there are professional shot putters that are slim, but for the most part, they carry the weight in order to put their force behind the shot. 

Another example would be a sumo wrestler – I’ve never seen a skinny one, have you?

When grappling a 300-pound sumo fighter, you need that weight that grounds you and stabilizes you to enforce your power. 

Do soccer players need to be skinny?

To be a top professional soccer player you need to be able to run miles, at a consistent speed. Not only long distances but also stopping, starting, turning, kicking, tackling, heading, and sliding.

You know if you play the game, it’s easy enough to run, but when you stop and start it takes the energy out of you.

If you are a tall player carrying a few extra pounds, it won’t be long before you need to have a break. 

The Game

Soccer is an intensive game and requires many attributes from players. If the players are not in top condition, their performance will start to shown on the field.

You might have noticed it yourself when you’ve been playing or watching a game, after 80 minutes, players make more mistakes are there are more goals during this time.

The desire and intensity build up, with the final few minutes remaining, everything is on the line.

If you counterattack a team and they counterattack you, you can be out of breath soon enough.

Central Core

One of the biggest factors for soccer players to be strong is that they need to strengthen the core of their muscles. This is not an easy thing to build, it takes many years of training and playing.

The core muscles allow players to have the strength, but without weight. That is why many soccer players use yoga to strengthen their core muscles.

Core muscles run down the center of a person. So it the small muscles along the center of the back and the chest.

This allows them to twist and turn effectively without losing their breath.

How do soccer players gain weight?

Soccer players gain weight by working in the gym during their training program or after sessions. This is also helped by eating a high protein diet.

Naturally playing soccer will make a person skinny, but to give extra strength on the field, weight, and muscle is needed.

Whilst speed is an important factor in soccer. A number of physical duals are involved in soccer which required muscle strength.

Players ultimately working on their soccer skills, core strength and then add on weight and muscle to complete their profile.

Who is the skinniest soccer player?

Two of the most popular soccer stars that are skinny are Di Maria and Neymar. Di Maria is 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. Neymar is 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 150 pounds.

Take a look at both of them in action. And although they’re skinny, they’re strong enough to take on the biggest of opponents.

Neymar Highlights

For those two examples, they are shorter players, but what about tall players.

One fine example of a soccer player who is tall but skinny is Peter Crouch – well known to the Premier League but now retired.

Peter crouch is 6 foot 7 inches and weighs 165 pounds. Using the formula that we used before, we can calculate that his BMI is 18.5! Making him the skinniest soccer player.

Can soccer players be fat?

Professional soccer players can’t be fat as this will reduce their speed and capacity to complete a full game at a high level.

You can play soccer if you’re fat, or overweight, but a player naturally loses this if they’re training three times a week or more.

Due to the number of sprints and long distances soccer players run, any excess weight is lost. This was notable during the early games of a season.

Although, pre-season training gets players into shape for the opening game of the season.

Skinny Soccer Players FAQ



adidas 2019 MLS Official Match Ball White/Silver Metallic/Blue/Red Size 5
Official MLS Soccer Ball
adidas mens Copa Mundial Soccer Shoe, Black/White/Black, 10 Women 9 Men US
Best Leather Soccer Cleats
QUICKPLAY Q-Fold Soccer Goal | The 30 Second Folding Soccer Goal for Backyard [Single Goal] The Best Weatherproof Soccer Net for Kids and Adults 2YR Warranty (2) 8x5'
30 Seconds Quickplay Goals

Thank you for reading our articles - we hoped you've enjoyed them and are having fun playing, coaching, and watching soccer.

Soccer Blade is an affiliate and an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases - at no extra cost to you.