How to Eat As A Young Soccer Player

Need for Nutrients

A crucial aspect for every soccer player, child or adult, is nutrition. Children and adolescents that exercise a lot often have a double burden: their bodies are still growing and already needs more energy.

Girls have their highest need for energy at age 11-14, boys a little later, around age 15-18. The need for energy and nutrients is in relation to their size a lot higher than for a normal adult. At the age of 5-7, children already need about 1,800 kcal. The same amount a grown woman needs while performing light physical labor.

During major growth periods, starting age 14-15, children need up to 3,500 kcal daily, with intensive soccer training, this can add up to 4,000-4,500 kcal per day, twice as much as a normal adult would need.

The need for certain nutrients, such as protein, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B & D can be disproportionally higher than their need for energy.


Compared to adult athletes, young players need a lot more water relatively to their body weight. To ensure the best performance, physically and mentally, it is crucial to drink before the player is getting thirsty.

Players that sweat a lot need to replace the lost water as soon as possible, so it is recommended to drink periodically after training or competition. This is a much more effective way to rehydrate than drinking a large volume in a short period of time right after.

Understandably, some kids might be less interested in eating and drinking right, but parents should try to motivate them by explaining that this kind of behavior will positively impact their performance on the field. That way, you can shape your child´s eating and drinking habits for the better for the rest of their lives.

General Guidelines

The right practice and an ideal diet are both important factors for a successful career. The right balance of energy input and output are a crucial aspect to stay healthy and competitive. Often, the increased energy output is interpreted as too high. As a result, over-eating or –drinking can negatively impact performance and lead to unwanted weight gain.

Here are some general guidelines on how you should shape the diet for your athletically active kids:

  • Increase Carbohydrate intake: use more fruit, veggies, potatoes, whole wheat products.
  • Check fat sources: use more plant and meat based sources, rather than fatty milk and milk products.
  • Increase fiber and liquid intake.

The most important thing is to be a good role model and live by example. Your child will be heavily influenced by your eating habits! Now you have some good guidelines to fuel your player for the upcoming summer camp season, for example our upcoming Speed & Agility Camp