Are men better soccer players than women?

I’m not sure if there’s a factual answer to this one, but I’ll stick it here until someone comes along and moves it.

The World Cup soccer finals just ended. Germany won. Anyhoo, it got me thinking about gender differences in sports. I understand that men are inherently better runners or jumpers than women, simply because of larger amounts of muscle. However, I’m not sure soccer is one of those sports. Sure, speed is useful, but is it really that essential? I can’t see why strength or weight would be a huge advantage, but then again I’m not a soccer-player. I’ll happily be corrected on this point.

So, what do you say? Do men have an insurmountable advantage in soccer, provided both genders receive the same amount of training (something that isn’t the case now)?

Currently there is no comparison in standards, the vast majority of women international footballers would struggle to make it into a semi-professional outfit and I know quite a few Sunday league players and even men who don’t even play for teams who exhibit a higher level of skill (though admittedly some of them have had trials for or trained with professional clubs). This is primarily because men and women do not recive the same amount of trainig and also the sheer volume of men players versus women players.

Stength, weight and height are all vital for central defenders (football is a very physical game) and height is almost essiential for a goalkeeper and important for a striker too. Speed on the wings can only be replaced with a very high level of skill and is useful in all positons except goalkeeper.

The advantage men have in speed and the strength of their shots and passes makes them “better” players. I say “better” in the sense that a team of top male players will probably always beat a team of top female players because of their physical advantages.

However, I think that soccer is one of the sports that when played at it’s top level by women is fun and interesting to watch. In fact, a women’s World Cup soccer match will almost always be more interesting to watch, and played with better soccer fundamentals (tighter passing in midfield, better service to the front) than a typical United States MLS game. When compared to a Premier League match however, the women pale in comparison.

MLS games are brutish, booting affairs with boorish attempts at trapping and collecting— with an inexorable push, push, PUSH! towards the goal-mouth (yawn). Most women’s games have better build-up and are better to watch (IMO).

That said, an MLS team would stomp the USA, German or ANY women’s national team, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

Hey MC Master of Ceremonies,

I disagree. The most difficult shot to save (and thus the shot a striker is likely to make) is the one on the ground. It takes a tall keeper longer to get to the ground than it does an average-sized keeper. I recognize the importance of reach, but I think reaction speed and positioning is much more crucial.


Aside from long distance(20+ miles) swimming,& perhaps some ice skating/gymnastic moves, I know NO sport that women can consistently be competitive w/men. Yeah, I know Annika & the Williams sisters can beat most men, but not the top men. I am referring to average participants, not the best.

…and Priceguy passes it to xash who puts it to GD… brilliant pass on the turn… this could be a goal…

General Questions Moderator

The average height for a goalkeeper in the Premier League at guess is about 6’3" or maybe a bit taller, certainly not the behemounths of basketball but a goalkeeper of less 6’1" would be considered short for his postion. Shay Given, the talented Irish international goalkeeper as youth failed to get into the youth teams of the professional clubs because of his small height, but a late growth spurt set his professional career on course.

I said ‘almost’ because I can think of one or two short professional goalkeepers in times past such Jorge Campos of Mexico who was a brilliant shot-stopper though his height left him at a severe disadvantage in other areas.

In terms of going to ground, I think a short keeper only has a slight advantage. Coming out to catch crosses is a vital function that a goalkeeper performs and this is where a short keeper is at the most disadvantage as an attacking team will contiunally test him in this way.

It’s not that goalkeepers should be tall; goalkeepers should have long arms. This is correlation, not causation.

No, height is important for several reasons, as I said above the most important of these is claiming crosses.

What? One claims crosses with his hands, whose potential radius is determined by his arm length.

Equestrian sports, for one, are an area where men and women compete, at the olympic level, against each other.

Right now, I would expect an average or maybe below average male college team to beat the best American Women’s team. Not sure how much of that is physical prowess or just a time-line gap in skills. When I played in the 70’s I don’t recall seeing any Women’s teams in college. In fact, I don’t remember any youth leagues or High Schools teams that girls could play on. But times they are a changin. I expect good things from the generations to follow. Soccer is big in my area.

Surprisingly, I thought the Women’s team played better this year than last year. Maybe a World Series best-of-seven would be a better yard stick to measure which team is best since Soccer is such a low scoring game. .

Off topic observation on height. I do remember getting creamed by a team of giants who based their entire strategy on head balls (to the tune of 8 goals). Corner kicks were death.

US dopers might think women are closer to men due to the fact that they have the best women’s team and a relatively weak male team… but everywhere else women are way behind.

Lack of sponsorship and tradition are a major factor now thou. In the future the best female teams might give the best males a hard time… but will lose just the same. Female advantages dont give them enough compensation for male muscles and body.

BTW… women’s football is a treat to watch. Certainly seem like soccer more than some men’s games. Pity we don’t give them as much TV coverage.

Hey MC Master of Ceremonies,

Unless the keeper is a midget, he/she should have no trouble jumping high enough to reach over the heads of attackers. The primary concern in catching crosses is positioning. I (at my sub-six-foot stature) certainly never had problems preventing crosses from reaching their intended targets.


Hmmmm…what does it mean that a sports thread has ended up in GD? Couldn’t have anything to do with the gender of the mod(s) responsible, now could it?

What are you implying, Eva?

Oh, nothing at all…

Let’s just say that although my HS girls’ soccer team consistently made the state finals, much more consistently than the boys’ team, it never would have occurred to me to put this thread in GD.

(By “my HS soccer team,” I mean just that the team represented my school not that I played on it. I never would have made the team; it was very, very competitive. That, and I sucked.)

I’m still confused.

Can you say what you’re trying to say in English instead of just hinting towards something? Because if you’re asking me to draw my own conclusions, you should know that that would be a mistake.

Oh well, I’d hate to lead anyone astray. I was trying to crack a joke that perhaps men, in general, are inclined to take sports more seriously than women do, even women who like sports.

But I did think I was writing in English.