One common thing in soccer no matter where or when it is played is how taller players seem to get most of the attention on the pitch.
If you are an avid soccer fan, you must have noticed that average soccer players are often not as tall as basketball or rugby players which may leave you questioning why there is ample difference in the height of players of such sports compared to soccer players.
It’s often common to see sports fans asking if engaging in contact sports makes people tall. We know it’s the wish of many people to grow taller even though not as tall as basketball players—perhaps so that people will stop looking down on them.
When you watch players like Kristof van Hout, Paul Millar, Vanja Ivesa, you can’t fail to notice their tall stature, active stamina, and how they showcase their tremendous skills on the soccer pitch. Watching players like that play can make you wonder if playing soccer made them taller.
Popular sports like basketball, running, long jump, swimming, and rope skipping have been known to boost growth and increase height. However, is soccer among the sports that can make people taller?
In this article, we will give you a vivid explanation of whether or not soccer contributes to increasing an individual’s height.
Does soccer make you taller?
In soccer, numerous activities and drills are carried out ranging from jumping, sprinting, dribbling, running, shooting, stretching, to name a few. These activities help in stretching, stimulating, and relaxing the body muscles which can trigger the release of growth hormones.
Tall people look elegant and attractive, which we believe is the reason why a lot of people wish to get tall. In professional soccer, tallness comes with a few perks, and players of distinct heights have equal chances of excelling in the sport.
Researches over the years have proven that the genes we carry can influence our height. Genetic factors affect about 60-80 % of height differences among individuals while environmental factors only take about 20-40 %.
The most common environmental factors that can affect an individual’s height are food and exercise. If an individual is malnourished during his/her growing stages, they might not reach their potential height.
Growth usually stops between the ages of 18-25 years and after this period, an individual stops growing and sometimes even shrinks a little. Playing soccer under the age of 20 is more beneficial to players who seek to get taller.
Soccer can help increase your height and make you taller than you usually are, especially when you play from your teenage age.
The non-bone section of the body is known as the growth plate. The growth plate of an individual gets to work when he or she participates in soccer because soccer enhances bones and tissues growth resulting in an overall increase in height.
Why playing soccer will make you taller?
Certain activities done while playing soccer are known to stretch, strengthen, and tone the muscles which assists in stimulating growth hormones that contribute to making you taller.
The knees, spine muscles, and ankles are stimulated and strained while playing soccer which helps you grow taller.
Soccer requires a player to run, dribble, jump, shoot, and pass the ball which are good exercises for the body, especially for teenagers. In teenagers, such exercises can prevent Osteoporosis (a health condition affecting the bones) and maintain normal growth and development of bones.
Before getting the wrong idea in your head, you have to understand that playing soccer cannot make you a foot taller than you originally are. The growth and development of your calf and thigh muscles can only contribute to helping you grow a few inches taller.
Even if playing soccer doesn’t make you a foot taller, gaining a few inches from playing the sport is something to be happy about. Soccer also helps you maintain an erect posture which makes you look taller.
Most people who don’t do sports or exercise tend to develop a bad body posture, most common of all being slump shoulders and a bent back. Having a bad posture can make you look shorter than you originally are and can even stunt your overall growth.
Apart from gaining a good body posture, playing soccer also burns calories and keeps you in a physically sound shape. Slim and skinny people always tend to look taller than fat or chubby people.
It is practically impossible to find a professional soccer player who is overweight. Some studies also reveal that having a large body mass can interfere with the normal growth and development of muscles and bones in the human body.
While being exceptionally tall is not a common sight in soccer, it has its pros and cons. Nevertheless, there have been really tall players with exceptional career records in the history of soccer.
Some of the tallest professional soccer players
Most compilations of the world’s best soccer players usually contain names of very tall soccer players. It is not a fluke or an error, tall soccer players are often exceptionally talented.
We will be taking a brief look at some of the tallest professional soccer players in this section which might give you a clue on who the tallest soccer player is.
- Paul Millar
Millar measures at a whopping height of 2.08 m (6 ft 10 inches). He is a striker of British descent and played for Elgin City FC from 2010 to 2014.
Aside from playing soccer, Miller is also a full-time fireman in the Highland area of Scotland. He was recently inducted into the Kirkcaldy YM’s hall of fame for his exceptional work and achievements.
- Kristof van Hout
This goalkeeper from Belgium stands at an intimidating height of 2.08 m (6 ft 10 inches) which isn’t a common height in soccer. He is currently the tallest goalkeeper in the world at just 34 years of age.
With his astonishing height, he doesn’t even need to jump to catch high balls. He currently works as a squad member of Westerlo, a Belgian Pro League soccer club.
- Vanja Ivesa
Vanja is a Croatian goalkeeper standing at 2.05 m (6 ft 9 inches). In February 2018 he turned out to be the oldest player to ever play in Croatia’s First Soccer League.
He has played for many big clubs in and out of Croatia. He was designed to be the tallest soccer player in the popular FIFA 21 video game.
- Tor Hogne Aaroy
Tor is of Norwegian descent and measures 2.04 m (6 ft 8 1/2 inches). He plays for Aalesunds FK, a Norwegian Premier League club where he has scored several scintillating goals.
- Costel Fane Pantilimon
Costel is a Romanian professional goalkeeper measuring as tall as 2.03 m (6 ft 8 inches) and currently a free agent. He gained fame playing for the Manchester City soccer club from the year 2011 to 2014.
He is often remembered for his gentle demeanor and good behavior.
Soccer is a great sport loaded with many advantages including, strengthening bones, joints, and muscle, increasing flexibility and balance, and also increasing height. If you want to stretch, build, and grow your leg muscles, play soccer.
Always remember that for you to get the desired results of getting taller using soccer as a strategy, you have to start early, possibly in your teenage years, and also back it up with good nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
In the long run, no matter how long we play soccer, most of us end up bent and shrunk in our old age. It’s one thing that even the ‘almighty soccer’ can’t control; nature must play its course.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
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!