One of the most grinding decisions to make among people who play soccer either for fun or on a professional level is abstinence from alcohol. Drinking alcohol is a norm among young people and soccer players are not exempted.
There are numerous clips of famous soccer players on the internet partying hard at exotic clubs and resorts with other celebrities. In fact, who goes to the club or expensive parties and does not take a sip or two of alcoholic wines or beverages?
Alcohol consumption is common in virtually every society, people see it as a good relaxation agent and also a way of socializing. Some soccer players also share this belief, while others based on moral conduct, religion, and health, view it as undesirable.
Huge match sponsorships come from alcoholic beverage companies so there is a strong connection between alcohol and soccer. For example, Heineken is the official sponsor of the UEFA Champions League. Nowadays, alcoholic drinks adverts are aired on television during soccer breaks.
Many soccer players drink alcohol to celebrate their team’s victory while some players drink it because they believe that alcoholic drinks contain a high level of carbohydrate which helps replenish the glycogen stored in the muscles which get expended during matches.
If you are among those wondering if soccer players drinking alcohol is a good or bad decision, this article is for you. A detailed explanation on whether soccer players can drink alcohol and its effects have been revealed, just keep reading to find out.
Can soccer players drink alcohol?
Yes, soccer players can drink alcohol but with caution and they can’t bring alcoholic drinks with them to the soccer pitch. Soccer players must understand the effects of alcohol and how it influences their career before indulging in it.
Alcohol is manufactured by fermenting sugar, starch, and yeast using a simple fermentation process. Ethanol is the alcohol found in alcoholic drinks and beverages and it is its major intoxicating constituent.
In a real sense, alcoholic drinks do give energy to the body but at the same time, it poses a negative effect on your body’s circulatory, endocrine, and nervous systems because of the ethanol content present in them.
Alcohol, when taken in high dosage, depresses the central nervous system and affects all the organs in the body. It also causes drowsiness and at some point, respiratory depression. It can also act as a stimulant when taken in lower doses.
When alcohol is constantly taken over a long period, it causes a lot of damage to the body especially when taken in high dosage; some of the damages of alcohol that soccer players must be aware of are listed and described below.
Damage to the Liver
The organ in the human body responsible for the breakdown and removal of toxic materials from the body is the liver. When you ingest a high quantity of alcohol over a long period, it tempers with the liver’s breakdown process thereby putting you at risk.
This results in liver disease or liver inflammation caused by cirrhosis which leads to liver damage and its inability to remove dangerous materials from your body.
Soccer players with severe liver disease are often restricted from participating in rigorous physical activities. Soccer players suffering from the liver disease often experience constant fatigue, nausea, and abdominal pain on the right upper quadrant which can restrict them from fully participating in physical activities.
Erectile dysfunction is sometimes experienced by men who consume too much alcohol, unlike the wild belief that it aids you in having a great time in bed, alcohol lowers your libido and averts sex hormones from producing.
Too much consumption of alcohol can cause infertility in women, miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth. When pregnant women drink a lot of alcohol, it puts unborn babies at risk.
The heart is very delicate and shouldn’t be tampered with, which is why taking a high quantity of alcohol over a long period poses a threat to the heart. Impairment can come in the form of heart attack, heart failure, and heart disease.
Playing soccer when you have any heart disease is risky because you stand a higher chance of suffering from cardiac arrest. Popular Nigerian soccer player, Kanu Nwankwo, had to terminate his career when it was discovered that he had a hole in his heart.
Muscle cramps and thinning bones
The popular practice of constantly ingesting alcohol, causes your bones to become thinner, thus putting you at risk of easily sustaining fractures during a collision and these fractures will take longer periods to heal.
Atrophy, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness can be triggered by a high dosage of alcohol intake. Soccer players suffering from muscle cramps will find it difficult to run around on the pitch or make certain sharp turns that are required during dribbling.
Affects the immune system
The immune system is responsible for fighting viruses and germs that are harmful to our health. High consumption of alcohol limits the immune system from properly carrying out its task thereby exposing a victim to attacks from germs and viruses.
When you drink alcohol too much, the communication between your brain and your body is limited which leads to difficulty in coordination. Your speech will be slurred, you won’t be balanced and numbness may set in, also making sensible decisions and clear thinking will be very difficult.
In that state, it is almost impossible for a soccer player to be productive on the pitch. This is because soccer is a game that involves a lot of mental calculations that include how hard to kick a ball and the best part of the body to use in certain instances.
No law exempts soccer players above 18 years old from drinking alcohol but it is recommended that they know when to drink it and in very moderate amounts.
With all the above-mentioned damages, soccer players are strongly advised to closely monitor their alcohol intake levels if they must drink as well as learn to drink responsibly as stated on most alcoholic drink commercials.
The Sporting Event (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 drafted out some offenses that relate to soccer matches and alcohol. This act prohibits alcohol from being conveyed to the stadium and from the stadium, and any player or spectator caught in possession of alcohol while in transit to and from the match is liable to certain punishment.
The act also prohibits players from entering the field with alcohol, and any player or match official who is drunk during a soccer match must be punished accordingly.
Is alcohol bad for soccer players?
There are many kinds of soccer, namely futsal, indoor soccer, beach soccer, and association football. All these sports need the participating players to be at their best and in the right state of mind to be able to perform optimally.
Some people believe that alcohol gives you poise and helps you think straight, but that belief is outlandish because alcohol does more harm than good especially to soccer players who are constantly trying to improve on their performance.
Alcohol is not good for soccer players especially when they drink it before and after soccer matches or during training. This is because alcohol limits a player’s performance by making him/her absent-minded, aggressive, or drowsy.
Alcohol causes dehydration in the body which can be a huge risk for soccer players as it can trigger muscle strain and muscle pull. As a professional soccer player, we believe you wouldn’t want such to happen to you on the soccer pitch.
Drinking alcohol after a match can slow down the replacement of the muscle’s glycogen, and disrupt rehydration. Alcohol is not entirely bad else it won’t be manufactured at all. We are only trying to help you understand that it can adversely affect your soccer career.
Some recommendations have been given on guidelines for the safe consumption of alcohol. Note that all alcoholic drinks comprise different ethanol percentages and so the higher the ethanol percentage in an alcoholic drink, the stronger its effect will be on you.
Alcohol consumption is measured in units and each unit is 10ml of 8gms of ethanol. In the UK, adults are recommended to drink a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week and it shouldn’t be taken at a stretch. It should be divided into days and different occasions with free days off in-between.
In the US, the recommended level of alcohol intake per week is 12-14 grams of ethanol which is higher than that of the UK, therefore males are advised to drink 1-2 grams a day while females are advised to drink 1 gram per day.
If a soccer player wishes to drink alcohol, he/she must endeavor to follow these guidelines as it helps to put them in check.
The best drinks for a soccer player before and after a match are;
- Water (very essential)
- Protein shakes
- Fruit smoothie
- Sports drinks like Gatorade
Soccer players above 18 years of age are not entirely prohibited from drinking alcohol although it is wrong to drink alcohol while playing or training. Drinking heavily a night before a soccer match is also wrong and must not be an option.
Every soccer player must always try to understand that taking more glasses of alcohol than required can adversely affect their overall performance and ruin their team’s chances of winning a match.
All soccer players should remain disciplined towards alcohol intake no matter the pressure they might be facing in their private lives.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!