Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

How Many Soccer Players In The World?

Group of soccer players

Most people are aware that soccer is the most popular sport in the world. However, it still can shock many to see just how many people play this game across the globe. From the top leagues to recreational players, it seems like everyone has kicked around a soccer ball at some point in their life.

How Many Soccer Players are There in the World?

The estimated total of soccer players in the world is 275 million. These numbers are based on those who currently consider themselves somewhat active in the sport. The number of players who have played at some point in their life would shoot up dramatically.

Table: How Many People Play Soccer In The World


How Many Countries Participate in FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, also known as FIFA, oversees worldwide soccer. There are 211 current members, and all of them have the opportunity to play for a spot in the World Cup.

Of course, there are a lot of differences between the top countries in the world and those who are still trying to get their soccer to the next level. Some countries have the resources to pour into being juggernauts every single year. Others are still developing as a country and trying to compete at a more local level.

Even at 211 countries, soccer is played at some level in virtually every country in the world. Players of all ages and skill levels can play in leagues to get different types of competition. Go to any random country in the world, and it won’t take long to find youngsters playing the sport and having fun doing it.

Countries With The Most Professional Soccer Players

With 275 million active soccer players, there are 128,983 players that do it professionally. This means that 0.00047% of all soccer players in the world are professionals.

Here are the 5 countries with the most pro players:

  1. Mexico – 9,753
  2. Brazil – 9,177
  3. England – 5,935
  4. Argentina – 3,920
  5. Turkey – 3,693

Why Are There So Many Soccer Players?

Many soccer players

The biggest reason why there are so many soccer players scattered around the world comes down to the fact that there are so many different ways to have access to the game.

All it takes is a small investment into the sport by buying a ball and finding some open field to practice. From there, it’s all about crafting skills and learning how to play as a teammate.

Soccer also doesn’t necessarily discriminate against shorter athletes. In a lot of sports, athletes can’t vary as much in size and still have success. Many think it’s actually an advantage to be closer to the ground and a little bit shorter. The truth is, a team of short players not even reaching 6’ tall can win on the biggest stage.

The sport has such an extensive history these days that most kids grow up learning about the sport at some point. They are constantly exposed to it on television or in local leagues, so it makes sense to go out there and play. Being inspired by others is one of the best ways to get involved in any type of sport.

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Whether it’s people watching the sport or playing the sport, there’s something to be said for a match that takes a relatively short amount of time. In just two hours of action, an entire match takes place.

Compare that to some of the other popular sports out there, and it’s the most time-efficient option out there. Couple that with very few stoppages in the action, and it is a sport people lock into the entire time.

Finally, high-end athletes will gravitate towards sports that pay the most amount of money to play professionally. With leagues all around the world paying players millions and millions of dollars, why wouldn’t they try to reach the highest level?

Not only is there money, but there is a chance to be an international hero for many. Players excelling at the club or national level have a chance to cement themselves as one of the most popular athletes/entertainers in the world. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are international celebrities at this point in their careers. They have as much name recognition as just about anyone in the world.

You can read more about why soccer is so popular worldwide on Movin993.

What are the Most Popular Soccer Events During the Year?

Every four years, the biggest soccer event in the world happens with the World Cup. It’s the most popular sporting event of any kind, and the best countries from around the world compete against each other for the title.

Every year, the Champions League final at the club level is viewed as the most popular sporting event in soccer. This is the battle between the two best teams in Europe. More often than not, these teams consist of many of the best players in the world. Teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris St. Germain, and Bayern Munich are all in the mix.

On a week-to-week basis, the soccer schedule fills up with matches between club teams in many different countries. There are also international friendlies that go on throughout the year, as well as matches for certain tournament qualifications.

What’s The Future Look Like For Soccer?

As big as soccer is right now, many people believe that it’s only going to get bigger in the next few years. That’s because some of the biggest countries in the world are starting to find out just how popular soccer is.

The United States and China are relative newcomers to the sport. If more athletes start to play, there’s a chance of the numbers jumping up even more in the next few years. It also makes it more competitive at the international level if two of the most populous countries in the world are competing.

The amount of players in soccer is already staggering. Chances are, the number can jump by as much as 100 million in a relatively short amount of time. That could widen the gap between sports like basketball, cricket, American football, and more.

Soccer is here to stay, and fans of the sport don’t seem to be losing any interest whatsoever. If so many people are interested in the sport itself, the next generation is bound to play the game for years and years to come. The game seems simple and takes very little to get started, but it’s catching the attention of so many worldwide.

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Interesting Facts About Professional Soccer Players

  • Kazuyoshi Miura holds the record as the oldest professional footballer, astonishingly active on the pitch at 55 years old.
  • The record for the youngest professional debut belongs to Ethan Nwaneri, who graced the field for Arsenal aged merely 15 years and 181 days in August 2022.
  • Towering above most, Kristof van Hout is the game’s tallest professional player, standing at a remarkable 6 feet 10 inches.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Élton José Xavier Gomes de Morais measures in as the shortest professional player at 5 feet 1 inch.
  • Paris Saint-Germain set a benchmark by shelling out a staggering €222 million, the highest transfer fee ever, to acquire Neymar in 2017.
  • The crown for the world’s highest-earning footballer goes to Lionel Messi, raking in a cool £1 million per week at Paris Saint-Germain.
  • The record for sprinting speed on the football field is held by Arjen Robben, clocking an impressive 37.78 km/h in 2013.
  • Lionel Messi’s magic at Barcelona saw him net an unparalleled 767 goals for a single club.
  • On the international front, Cristiano Ronaldo’s prolific form for Portugal has him tallying 109 goals.
  • In a single football match, Archie Thompson netted a whopping seven goals for Australia in a face-off with American Samoa in 2001.
  • Sergio Ramos has a somewhat dubious record, amassing 47 red cards during his tenure with Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.

Pro Footballers Making a Global Impact

Beyond their athletic prowess, several footballers have championed social and humanitarian causes, leaving a lasting legacy:

  • Pelé isn’t just a football legend. He was a fearless advocate against the human rights violations by the Brazilian government and consistently championed social equity.
  • Nelson Mandela, the revered South African leader and anti-apartheid crusader, was not just a statesman but a passionate football enthusiast. He leveraged the sport as a beacon of unity post-apartheid.
  • David Beckham, once England’s footballing poster boy, transitioned into an astute entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has collaborated with numerous charitable organizations, UNICEF, and Malaria No More being notable among them.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, beyond his footballing genius, has showcased immense generosity, channeling millions into diverse causes encompassing education, healthcare, and aiding disaster-stricken regions.
  • Lionel Messi, another maestro of the sport, has poured millions into noble causes, particularly championing children’s welfare and education.

✓ Also Read: Is Messi A Good Person At Heart? The Side You Haven’t Seen!


🌍 Why is soccer considered the universal sport?
Soccer, often termed the ‘beautiful game,’ has a simplicity that makes it accessible and appealing to people from all walks of life. Here’s why:

  • Universal Rules: Unlike many other sports, the basic rules of soccer are consistent wherever you go.
  • Minimal Equipment: All you need is a ball and some open space.
  • Diverse Participation: People of all ages, genders, and backgrounds play soccer.
  • Historical Significance: It’s a sport with deep roots in many cultures.
  • Global Events: Events like the World Cup connect people globally in shared celebration.

🏟️ Which stadiums are considered the cathedrals of soccer?
The world boasts some iconic soccer stadiums, revered by fans and players alike:

  • Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
  • San Siro in Milan, Italy.
  • Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico.

Each of these venues has witnessed some of the most pivotal moments in soccer history and commands respect from everyone in the soccer world.

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Who are some all-time great soccer players apart from Messi and Ronaldo?
Several legendary players have graced the soccer world:

  • Pelé from Brazil, often considered the best ever.
  • Diego Maradona from Argentina, known for his ‘Hand of God’ goal.
  • Zinedine Zidane from France, famed for his elegance on the ball.
  • Johan Cruyff from Netherlands, the proponent of the ‘Total Football’ philosophy.
  • Alfredo Di Stefano from Spain, a versatile forward with unmatched skills.

These players, along with many others, have etched their names in soccer folklore.

📺 How does media play a role in popularizing soccer?
Media has a significant influence:

  • Broadcasting Matches: Live broadcasting allows fans worldwide to connect with matches, creating a shared experience.
  • Highlight Shows: Condensed match highlights help cater to the busy lifestyle of fans.
  • Interviews & Documentaries: These provide a closer look into the lives of players and teams.
  • Analysis Shows: They provide insights, fostering deeper understanding and appreciation of the sport.
  • Merchandising: Media promotion of team jerseys, boots, and other merchandise further ingrains the sport into popular culture.

📈 How does soccer impact the economy of a country?
The economic impact of soccer is profound:

  • Job Creation: From players to coaching staff, administrators, and more.
  • Tourism: Big tournaments attract fans from all over, boosting local businesses.
  • Infrastructure Development: Stadiums, training facilities, and other infrastructures see growth.
  • Merchandise Sales: Jersey sales, club merchandise, and more contribute significantly.
  • Broadcast Rights: Television rights for leagues and tournaments can run into billions.

Soccer, therefore, can be a considerable economic driver for nations.

🤝 Why are soccer transfers so expensive?
Player transfers in soccer can reach astronomical figures due to:

  • Talent Scarcity: Exceptional players are rare.
  • Brand Value: Popular players can boost a club’s marketing and merchandise sales.
  • Broadcasting Revenue: Clubs earn significant amounts from broadcasting rights, giving them the means to spend.
  • Competition: Clubs compete to sign the best players, driving up prices.
  • Long-Term Investment: Clubs view players not just for immediate impact but also for potential future sales.

Transfers are as much about business strategy as they are about on-field success.

💰 How do soccer players earn apart from their salaries?
Soccer players have multiple income streams:

  • Endorsements: Many players sign deals with brands for promotion.
  • Image Rights: Players earn from the commercial use of their likeness.
  • Bonus Payments: For performance milestones like goals, appearances, and wins.
  • Licensing Deals: Video games, collectibles, and other licensed products.
  • Personal Appearances: Paid appearances at events, television shows, etc.

These additional streams often surpass the players’ actual club salaries.

🤕 What are common injuries in soccer and their prevention?
Soccer is physically demanding, leading to several common injuries:

  • Hamstring Strains: Often from sudden accelerations.
  • Ankle Sprains: Due to awkward landings or collisions.
  • Groin Pulls: Overstretching or rapid direction changes.
  • Knee Injuries: Ligament damage from twists or direct impacts.
  • Head Injuries: Collisions can sometimes lead to concussions.

Prevention includes proper warm-ups, conditioning, wearing protective gear, and ensuring proper playing conditions.


Soccer’s popularity is undeniable, with millions of people participating in the sport around the world. The accessibility, simplicity, and global events make it a favorite among people of all ages and backgrounds. As the sport continues to grow, it is expected to have an even greater impact on the global stage.