It’s important to maintain proper hydration for soccer players to ensure peak performance on the field. Fluid helps to regulate body temperature, lubricate joints and circulate oxygen and nutrients to your cells.
Since water makes up over 60% of your body, not getting enough fluids has a big impact on how you perform. (1)
Dehydration leads to decreased energy, impaired cognitive function and even serious health risks like heat stroke. (2)
In this post, we’ll cover the importance of hydration, when to hydrate, how to hydrate and the best fluids to hydrate. Read on for more.
Why is hydration important for soccer players
Hydration is important for soccer players because soccer is a physically demanding sport that requires a high level of endurance and energy.
Since soccer players can lose fluid in the form of sweat and often don’t have a water break, you need to be well hydrated at the start of your game. Without proper hydration, a soccer player’s performance can suffer in several ways.
Dehydration causes fatigue, muscle cramps, decreased reaction time and impaired cognitive function. It can also lead to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
How much water should a soccer player drink a day
A soccer player should drink at least 8-10 cups (64-80 ounces) of water each day depending on activities. Try to start your day drinking at least 1-2 cups of water before you even leave the house. Then try to sip water and fluids throughout the day.
Many athletes like to carry a water bottle around so they can meet their fluid needs. You may even set a timer as a reminder to drink fluids.
On game day athletes should try to drink extra fluids throughout the day, knowing that you’ll be losing fluids through sweat during the game.
Additionally, use our sweat rate calculator to develop a more individualized plan for hydration.
How do you pre hydrate before a soccer game
You should pre hydrate before a soccer game by first ensuring that you are drinking to avoid thirst throughout the day. (3)
That means you’ll typically need to drink about 8-10 cups of water just to maintain a balanced fluid state (euhydration).
About 2-3 hours before your soccer game or practice, you’ll want to drink around 16-20 ounces of fluids.
About 30-60 minutes before the game try to drink another 8-10 ounces (which may be a sports drink).
This will vary for individual athletes and you’ll want to gradually increase your water intake over time so that you’re body gets used to drink fluids closer to game time.
What do soccer players drink at halftime
At halftime, soccer players should drink around 20 ounces of fluids as tolerated.
Additionally if you didn’t drink any water/fluid breaks during stoppage time, you’ll also want to rehydrate with a sports drink that has carbohydrates and electrolytes to replace what was lost in the first half.
Also, players should try to maximize stoppage time to get a few gulps of fluid. When the whistle blows for injury time or a short break, try to drink about 3-6 gulps (4-8 ounces) every 15 minutes.
What should players drink after the game
After a game soccer players should drink at least 24 ounces of fluids (for each pound of body weight lost.
For athletes who are heavy sweaters and/or salty sweaters, you may want to calculate your fluid replacement based on weight lost during a game.
Good after game drink options include water, sports drinks, coconut water, tart cherry juice and chocolate milk. Try to avoid carbonated water and beverages that can cause bloating and stomach cramps.
Most players prefer cooled but not ice cold fluids since they’re easier to drink.
Drinking fluids that also have carbohydrate and electrolytes can help you recover from your game more quickly.
Should I drink electrolytes before or after a soccer game
Generally you should drink electrolytes during halftime and after a soccer game. Since you lose electrolytes through sweat, you’ll want to drink fluids with electrolytes at halftime and after the game to replenish.
What are 3 warning signs of dehydration
The three main warning signs of dehydration are increased thirst, irritability and general discomfort. Generally these are followed by headache, weakness, dizziness, cramping, chills, vomiting, nausea and decreased performance. (4)
Surprisingly, thirst is not a good indicator of hydration since if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re likely 1-2% dehydrated.
You should also monitor your urine color as another warning sign of dehydration. Urine should be a pale yellow color and if you see that it’s a darker yellow, then that means that you’re dehydrated and your urine has become more concentrated.
This should be a sign to you that you need to increase your fluid intake.
Final thoughts on hydration for soccer players
In conclusion, proper hydration is essential to perform your best and avoid injury. Dehydration can have a negative impact on your body and hurt your athletic performance.
By drinking water, sports drinks or other hydrating fluids regularly throughout your game you can maintain good hydration and ensure optimal performance on the field.
Remember, staying hydrated is not just important during soccer games and practices, but also throughout the day.
What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated?
Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND has over 22 years of experience in public health and nutrition. As a performance registered dietitian nutritionist, Stephanie specializes in sports nutrition and provides simple and actionable information so that athletes can be well fueled for high performance on and off the field. Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.