Best Soccer Positions For Tall Players (Top 3 Explained)

Unlike many other sports, soccer is not a game that requires its players to be tall. In fact, regardless of a player's height, there is probably a position that suits them. But what is the best soccer position for tall players?

Generally speaking, the best soccer position for tall players is the goalkeeper position. A tall goalkeeper has a long reach to keep balls out of the goal, jumps higher than other players, and makes the goal look smaller. Other positions that benefit tall players include center back and striker.

So now you know the best positions for tall soccer players, but why exactly is this? And should these positions only be played by tall players? In this article, I will answer these questions and much more.

What Position do Tall Soccer Players Play?

No matter what height a person stands at, there will always be a position on the soccer field that suits that player.

Unlike a sport such as basketball, for example, a player's height isn't a concern in soccer. In fact, the average height of a soccer player in Europe is only 5ft 11in, and during the 2018 World Cup, the average height of a player was 6ft.

With that being said, there are still many tall players in soccer. Even the Premier League currently features players reaching a massive height of 6ft 7in.

But what is the best position for these tall players?

1. Goalkeeper

The best position for tall players is undoubtedly the goalkeeper. When looking at the tallest players in soccer, the majority of them are goalkeepers.

However, it's worth remembering that goalkeeper is the hardest position in soccer. So just because a player is tall doesn't automatically make them a good goalie. They will also need the skills to match.

Why is it good for a goalkeeper to be tall?

There are four main reasons why it's good for a goalkeeper to be tall. I will list them now:

  • A goalkeeper needs to have a long reach:

The main reason it's good for a goalkeeper to be tall is because of how big professional soccer goals are.

The official size of a professional soccer goal is 24ft wide and 8ft tall. Because of this, it makes sense that a coach would want their tallest player covering this massive area.

Tall players also have a larger wingspan than shorter players. This makes it easier for them to reach and save shots aimed at the far corners of the goal.

  • A goalkeeper needs to be able to jump higher than other players:

Goalkeepers must also come off their line and catch the ball during opponent corner kicks.

Once again, it's beneficial for the goalkeeper to be tall in order to get above all the other players in the penalty area and reach the ball.

It's also good for the goalkeeper to have good strength. This is because they often make physical contact with other players when coming out to catch the ball.

  • A goalkeeper doesn't have to run much:

It's fair to say that tall players are not very fast runners in most instances. This also benefits the goalkeeper position as goalkeepers run the least amount compared to every other position.

It also means the goalkeeper is safe to pack on more muscle and strength to deal with the physicality of being a goalkeeper without worrying about losing speed in the process.

  • A tall goalkeeper makes the goal smaller:

If a goalkeeper is tall, the goal seems smaller. This will make it more difficult for the opponent to score a goal.

In addition, a tall goalkeeper also comes across as more intimidating. If a player runs to a tall goalkeeper, he is more likely to be discouraged than if the goalkeeper is small.

Should a goalkeeper always be tall?

Yes, generally speaking, a goalkeeper should always be tall. The average height for a goalkeeper is 3 inches taller than the overall average at 6ft 2in.

However, most goalkeepers usually stand closer to 6ft 4in when looking at the elite soccer teams. Yet there are also some very successful goalkeepers who can be considered smaller than average.

England and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is a good example of this. He stands at 6ft 1in, which is considered short for a goalkeeper.

So yes, a goalkeeper should at least be over 6ft tall if they want to be successful. It's usually ideal for them to be even taller. Players under this height are rarely ever played in goal.

Examples of tall goalkeepers:

The tallest professional goalkeeper is a Danish player named Simon Bloch Jørgensen, who stands at 6ft 11in.

However, this player has never played for a top team. When looking at Europe's top soccer leagues, these are arguably the best tall goalkeepers right now:

  • Thibaut Courtois - 6ft 7in
  • Nick Pope - 6ft 6in
  • Gianluigi Donnarumma - 6ft 5in

2. Center back

Suppose a player is tall but does not have the abilities required to be a goalkeeper. They can almost definitely play as a successful center back in that case.

For the most part, center backs are tall and strong. Most of soccer's tallest outfield players currently play in the center back position.

Why is it good for a center back to be tall?

Here are the three main reasons why it is good for a center back to be tall:

  • Center backs head the ball more than any other players:

The most important reason why it's good to have tall center backs is because of how much they head the ball.

Center backs often face long balls that are crossed into their penalty area. Therefore, a long player who rises high and heads the ball away can only be positive.

The same can be said in an attacking sense. Center backs are often asked to get forward when their team has a corner kick. This is because they can often use their height and strength to pull off a headed shot toward the goal.

  • Center backs need to be strong:

The center back is often seen as a very physical position on the soccer field.

Because center backs are responsible for tackling forward players to keep them from scoring, this position deals with a lot of physical contact.

Generally speaking, tall players are usually stronger than short players. This means they are built more naturally for making strong and physical tackles.

  • Center backs need long reach in their legs to block shots:

Center backs are tasked with being the last line of defense before the goalkeeper, meaning they need to block a lot of shots.

Most of the time, a center back can use their positioning to simply stand their ground in order to block a shot.

Sometimes, though, a center back may need to stretch out a leg in order to get their foot on an incoming shot. A tall player is always good to have in this case.

Should a center back always be tall?

No, a center back does not always need to be a tall player. However, there's no denying that having a height advantage can certainly help a team in defense.

The average height for a defender is 6ft. This is very close to the overall average height of a soccer player and shows that center backs aren't always tall.

However, it's worth noting that this average would include fullbacks who are rarely ever tall players.

There are many examples of shorter players doing well at center back, which proves this position doesn't always have to be played by a tall player.

Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez stands at only 5ft 9in. However, that did not stop the center back from achieving an impressive 52 clean sheets in 119 appearances for his former team, Ajax.

Examples of tall center backs:

Although there are many successful short center backs, there's no doubt that the majority of elite players in this position are tall.

Here are some examples of the world's greatest tall center backs:

  • Virgil Van Dijk - 6ft 4in
  • Gerard Piqué - 6ft 4in
  • Raphael Varane - 6ft 3.5in

There are also good examples of successful Premier League center backs who are even taller than the players mentioned above.

These players may have never reached the same level of success, but there's no doubt they used their height and strength to become great Premier League center backs.

  • Jannik Vestergaard - 6ft 6in
  • Dan Burn - 6ft 6in
  • Tyrone Mings - 6ft 5in

3. Striker

Being a tall player does not only limit a person to playing a defensive role. There have been many strikers in soccer who have successfully used their height to become world-famous goal-scorers.

These tall and strong strikers are usually referred to as target men.

Why is it good for a striker to be tall?

There are many advantages to having a tall striker. I will list them now:

  • Strikers often need to head the ball:

One advantage of being a tall striker is that they can rise above opposition defenders to head the ball towards the goal.

They can also use their length and heading skills to send passes to other forward players. Target men often work well with teams that like to play long balls.

  • Strikers take on challenges from physical center backs:

As I have already mentioned, center backs are some of the strongest and most physical players on the field. If a striker wants to match up with these center backs, then it's better for them to also be tall.

If a striker is tall, it usually means that they are also strong. Stronger strikers often have the ability to hold off center backs who may otherwise bully smaller forward players.

  • A tall striker can be very intimidating:

A tall player is undoubtedly more intimidating than a shorter player. And a tall striker will no doubt concern a defending team.

Let's say a ball is being crossed into the penalty area. If the center back is marking a player shorter than them, they are highly likely to be confident about getting up and dealing with the threat.

However, if the striker they are marking is the same height or taller, then there's a good chance the defender will think twice about how to defend the threat. This can easily lead to a mistake from the defender.

Should a striker always be tall?

Most definitely not. Choosing to play with a tall striker is very much a tactic rather than a requirement. The average height for a striker is 5ft 11in. This shows that playing a tall player in this position isn't always the norm.

As good as a tall target man can be, there are a few drawbacks to choosing to use a tall player in this position. The main problem is the loss of speed that comes with playing a tall player as a striker.

Examples of tall strikers:

There is probably no better example of a long striker than the former Liverpool and Tottenham player - Peter Crouch.

Crouch stood at a gigantic 6ft 7in and is one of the first names that soccer fans think of when talking about tall strikers.

The tactic of using a tall target man did not disappear after Crouch retired. There are still many towering strikers playing for elite teams today. These include:

  • Erling Haaland - 6ft 5in
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović - 6ft 5in
  • Alexander Isak - 6ft 4in


To summarize, it's usually a good idea to position the tallest player as the goalkeeper. This is because they can use their height and reach to block off the enormous goal sizes found in professional soccer.

If a tall player does not have the abilities needed to play as a goalkeeper, they could always try to be a center back. Many of the world's best center backs are taller players.

If a team wishes to play with a target man, then tall players can succeed as strikers as well. Some of the best strikers today stand at over 6ft 3in.

November 11, 2022
Published: November 11, 2022