The skirmishes to separate soccer and weed began aggressively in the nineties. More than a handful of players were brought to the spotlight of sporting boards and the media during the decade.
From facing a ban for a few matches to rehabilitation and career-ending decisions, professional soccer draws a hard line when it comes to smoking weed!
The fall of Chris Armstrong, Gino Coutinho, and a few other commonly heard names brought a variety of skeptical eyes to soccer’s drug regulation.
A sport that is so commonly associated with Europe’s outrageous drinking culture has no room for recreational usage. And if it doesn’t scream hypocrisy, I don’t know what does!
But to make things simpler, we’ll mark two categories of drugs used by soccer players.
They can either be performance-enhancing drugs like steroids. Or, they can be recreational drugs like cocaine, alcohol, and weed.
While performance-enhancing drugs give an unfair advantage to a player, recreational drugs do quite the opposite.
Smoking a joint before a soccer match, though not recommended, is unlikely to give you an advantage in any way. But as far as the rules and regulations are concerned, let’s see why it’s illegal in soccer.
Can Soccer Players Smoke Weed?
From a legal perspective in most regions, no! Smoking tobacco or weed on or around the pitch is strictly illegal and even disrespectful.
But that does leave a fair bit of a grey area for recreational use now, doesn’t it?
If you’re living in Canada, the Netherlands, or either of the 18 States where the recreational use of marijuana is legalized, it won’t hurt your career to pull a spill on your time off.
But for the rest of the world where Liquor branding and sponsors drive the sport, it really isn’t worth the risk!
Soccer club boards can call out their players for a dope test randomly if they suspect someone. This regulation is also practiced by league boards and tournament fair play managements.
Though lighting a bud on the pitch or in the locker room is completely out of the question here, even recreational use can get professional soccer players into trouble.
However, smoking weed is more common among amateur players in non-professional leagues, futsal, and indoor soccer tournaments.
Since indoor soccer tournaments, futsal matches, and amateur leagues are not as strict on monitoring players, it leaves a wide gap for players to hit the blunt before or after a match.
Such futsal and indoor leagues often have rolling subs, which mostly favors the stoners. They can get in on the pitch and give it all they’ve got in a burst of energy.
And sit on the bench for a few minutes before they charge up again for another round of an all-out burst to play the match while high.
It doesn’t improve their performance, but it makes the game a little more enjoyable with a few puffs of a good strain.
So, if you’ve got a plan to make it big in soccer someday, steer clear of smoking weed just to be on the safe side. Especially, if you’re living in an area where smoking weed is still a crime.
Can Soccer Players Smoke Weed Before a Game?
It is implausible for soccer players to smoke weed right before the game. You have your teams gathered up for a warm-up under the coach’s surveillance. And that doesn’t leave much time out.
So, if you really want to smoke up before stepping on the pitch, you might as well do it before the warm-up session.
But considering how long warm-ups usually last, you won’t have much of a high left when it starts.
Since your body will be depleted of Dopamine and Serotonin by then, don’t be surprised if you have a sluggish and half-hearted start to the game.
However, let’s consider you were to take a few puffs of a blunt right before the game. How will it impact your performance?
You’ll feel a little disoriented and overwhelmed when you’re high, and the game begins. And this overwhelming takes a whole nother level in futsal and indoor soccer matches.
Because in indoor and futsal soccer, the game is played at a much faster pace than outdoors. You’re involved much more frequently, and being high will significantly impact your decision-making and reaction time.
For outdoor soccer, your team play is likely to decline if you’ve smoked weed before the match. Your reaction and ball control may be fed into muscle memory.
But to look around and find the best opportunity for scoring, dribbling, or passing declines abruptly, and being high limits your multitasking ability and, consequently, your game in general.
So, if you’re really determined about getting high around a soccer fixture, you might as well do it after the game. It won’t impact your performance that way and will even speed up muscle recovery.
Is Weed a Performance Enhancing Drug for Soccer?
Weed is by no means a performance-enhancing drug. If anything at all, it’s quite the opposite of that!
Getting high gives you a relaxing sensation and relieves you of stress. In sports, it translates to slower reactions and a lack of competitive spirit. And that’s not what an athlete wants!
On the contrary, smoking weed can be pretty beneficial for recovery after a game and workouts. That’s why there’s a higher tendency to smoke weed among athletes of an aggressive sport.
Yes, we’re talking about MMA here if you missed out on that one!
Now, using the same theory on soccer tells us that the best time to smoke weed is after a fixture. That is if you have to get high in the first place.
Smoking up after a match relaxes your muscles and reduces cramp pains in your body. Moreover, it also invites appetite, which can further speed up your recovery through nutrition.
And as far as performance is concerned, you’re more likely to choke during a game than outperform. It may be a good idea to get high for a casual fixture with friends to make the matchup more fun.
But weed isn’t really your friend if you’re going in for the win and giving out your best performance!
Why Can’t Soccer Players Smoke Weed?
Smoking weed is something you generally picture while relaxing or having fun on your own. And seeing how demanding a soccer player’s daily routine is, it doesn’t leave much room for getting high.
The leading reason why soccer players don’t generally smoke weed is, of course, its legality. But even if we take that out of the equation, it’s nearly impossible to balance it out with routine training.
Hitting a spliff will get you that instant “high” as the dopamine storms your body. But it will also bring you to a “low” as the effects start to wear out.
And this is a specific concern for when you have to train for long hours with a consistent spirit. You can’t just exert waves of energy when you’re feeling good. It’ll bring down your skills!
For people looking to seek the medicinal benefits of hemp, it is still recommended to stick to CBD products instead of THC.
CBD oil, wax, or vape packs all the benefits of sleep induction, appetite, and muscle relaxation. And it comes free of THC, which is the compound in weed that gets you high.
So, soccer players can’t or won’t smoke weed because there are numerous alternatives available today to reap its benefits without falling victim to its psychoactive properties.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that either allows or restricts soccer players from smoking weed. Though pro soccer forums are strict on their usage, it’s still not to say that all players follow the rulebook.
Time and again, pro soccer players have admitted to their addictions, including weed. But since most confessions come after their retirement, it’s no big deal to the fans as long as they’re not high on “their” time!
In the end, soccer players smoke weed like players from all sports do because everybody smokes weed!
However, a majority of soccer players stick to sobriety not because weed is illegal. But because smoking up and getting high limits their performance and growth in many ways.
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!