How Many Calories Do Soccer Refs Burn? – Average Numbers

As the saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango,’ but in the case of soccer, it takes a whole team, including the often overlooked yet crucial role of the referee.

You might be wondering just how physically demanding the job of a soccer referee is, and how many calories they burn during a game.

As a fan, player, or aspiring referee, understanding the physical demands of this role can help you appreciate the sport even more and feel a deeper connection to the soccer community.

In this article, we will explore the role of a soccer referee, the physical demands they face, and how to calculate the caloric burn during a match.

We’ll also compare the calorie burn of a referee to that of a player, provide nutrition and hydration tips for referees, and discuss fitness training to help referees stay in top shape.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the men and women who keep the beautiful game running smoothly and fairly, and you’ll feel more connected to the world of soccer as a whole.

In a hurry? Here’s a quick & short answer that’ll definitely help you out!

Soccer referees, due to their active involvement in the game, can burn approximately 600 to 800 calories per match. This number can fluctuate based on factors such as the referee’s weight, the intensity of the game, and the duration of their physical activity. Remember, every individual’s calorie burn is unique!

The Role of a Soccer Referee

As a soccer referee, you play a crucial role in keeping the game fair and exciting, all while getting in quite a workout yourself.

You’re responsible for enforcing the rules of the game, making judgment calls, and keeping track of the time, all while constantly moving up and down the field to keep up with the action.

Your presence on the field not only ensures that the players are held accountable for their actions, but also fosters a sense of community among the players, coaches, and fans.

In addition to being a vital part of the game, your role as a soccer referee provides you with the opportunity to stay physically active and engaged.

Soccer referees often cover several miles during a single match, and need to be in top physical condition to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the sport.

As you sprint, jog, and change directions frequently, you’re not only making a positive impact on the game but also improving your overall fitness and well-being.

Embrace your role as a soccer referee, knowing that you’re an essential part of the game and a valued member of the soccer community.

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Physical Demands on a Soccer Referee


You’d be surprised at the intense physical demands placed on a soccer referee during a match! As the person responsible for maintaining order and enforcing the rules of the game, soccer referees need to be in top physical condition to keep up with the fast-paced action on the field.

In fact, their fitness level is almost as important as their knowledge of the rules, as they must be able to move quickly and efficiently to make accurate calls and ensure a fair match.

The physical demands on a soccer referee include:

  • Running:
  • Referees cover an average of 5 to 7 miles per game, constantly sprinting, jogging, and changing direction to stay close to the action.
  • Referees must have good endurance and agility to maintain this level of activity throughout a 90-minute match (plus any additional time for stoppages and overtime).
  • Mental focus:
  • Referees need to stay mentally sharp and focused throughout the game, making quick decisions based on their observations and knowledge of the rules.
  • This requires a high level of concentration and mental stamina, as any lapse in focus could result in an incorrect call or missed foul.

By meeting these physical demands, soccer referees not only ensure that they can keep up with the game, but also demonstrate their commitment to the sport and the players.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows referees to be confident in their abilities and ultimately helps create a sense of belonging within the soccer community.

How to Calculate Caloric Burn

Calculating the caloric inferno a referee endures during a soccer match requires a deeper understanding of their physical exertions and mental focus throughout the game.

To accurately estimate the number of calories burned, you need to take into account factors such as the referee’s weight, age, gender, and the intensity of their physical activities.

Additionally, the duration of the game, the terrain of the field, and the weather conditions also play a role in determining the caloric expenditure.

To give you a better idea of how these factors can affect the caloric burn, refer to the table below. Remember, these are just estimates and individual variations may apply.

By understanding the various factors and their impact on caloric burn, you can better appreciate the dedication and hard work that soccer referees put into the game, making you feel more connected to this essential part of the sport.

FactorImpact on Caloric Burn
WeightHeavier referees burn more calories due to increased effort
Age & GenderOlder and female referees may burn fewer calories
IntensityHigher intensity activities lead to greater caloric burn
Duration & TerrainLonger games and rougher terrains increase caloric burn
Weather ConditionsHot or cold weather can affect energy expenditure, as the body works harder to maintain its optimal temperature.

Related: What Percent Of Female Soccer Players Go Pro

Estimated Calorie Burn for Soccer Referees


It’s fascinating to dive into the world of soccer referees and estimate their calorie burn during a match.

As a soccer referee, you’re constantly on the move, tracking the players and keeping up with the game’s fast pace. This continuous activity can lead to a significant calorie burn, making it an excellent form of exercise.

While the number of calories burned will vary depending on age, weight, and fitness level, we can still provide a rough estimate. Research indicates that soccer referees can burn 800 to 1,500 calories per match.

This estimation is based on the assumption that a referee covers approximately 5 to 7 miles during a 90-minute game, which is quite impressive. To put this into perspective, you participate in a mini-marathon every time you officiate a match.

So, you get to be a part of this exciting sport and stay in great shape as you contribute to the fair play and enjoyment of the game. It’s a win-win situation for your passion for soccer and your health!

Comparing Calorie Burn: Soccer Referee vs Player

Now that we’ve explored the calorie burn for soccer referees let’s compare it to the players themselves and see how they stack up in physical exertion during a match.

Depending on their position and level of play, soccer players can burn a significant number of calories during a game, often more than the referee.

This is due to the players’ constant movement, bursts of intense sprinting, and overall engagement in various physical activities throughout the match.

To help you visualize the difference in calorie burn between a soccer referee and a player, consider the following numbers:

  1. Soccer referees burn an estimated 1,200-1,500 calories during a 90-minute match.
  2. Midfielders, who typically cover the most ground during a game, can burn 800-1,000 calories per hour or 1,200-1,500 calories during a 90-minute match.
  3. Forwards and defenders, who cover much ground but may not have as much continuous movement, can burn around 700-900 calories per hour, or 1,050-1,350 calories during a 90-minute match.
  4. Goalkeepers, who have the slightest movement on the field, can still burn around 300-500 calories per hour or 450-750 calories during a 90-minute match.

As you can see, soccer players tend to burn a comparable or slightly higher number of calories than referees.

This sense of shared physical exertion can foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging among everyone involved in the sport.

So, whether you’re a referee or a player, you can take pride in the fact that you’re all putting in the effort and reaping the health benefits that come with being active on the soccer field.

Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Soccer Referees

You might be surprised to learn that, just like soccer players, referees must pay close attention to their nutrition and hydration to stay at the top of their game.

As a soccer referee, you’re always on the move, covering a lot of ground during a match and burning calories.

To ensure that you can keep up with the pace of the game and make accurate calls, it’s essential to fuel your body with the right nutrients and maintain proper hydration levels.

Start by focusing on a well-balanced diet that includes a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats to provide the energy you need to power through a match.

Complex carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, will give you sustained energy, while lean proteins, such as chicken or fish, will help with muscle recovery.

Remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after a game to stay hydrated, as dehydration can impair your concentration and decision-making abilities. You can also consider sports drinks containing electrolytes to replace the minerals lost through sweat.

By taking care of your nutrition and hydration, you’ll benefit your performance and foster a sense of belonging among your fellow referees who share the same commitment to excellence.

Fitness Training for Soccer Referees


Maintaining peak physical fitness is crucial for soccer referees, as they must keep up with the fast-paced action and make split-second decisions throughout the match.

You’ll need to engage in regular fitness training that targets endurance, speed, agility, and strength to do this effectively.

By staying in top shape, you’ll perform better on the field and be part of a community of dedicated referees who take their roles seriously and strive for excellence.

One of the most effective ways to build your fitness as a soccer referee is to incorporate aerobic and anaerobic exercises into your training routine.

Focus on long-distance running and interval training to improve your cardiovascular endurance, and add in sprinting and agility drills to enhance your speed and quickness on the field.

Remember to include strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and planks to build a strong core and lower body.

By diligently working on these aspects of your fitness, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the physical demands of refereeing and proudly represent the soccer community.

Related: What Does CF Mean In Soccer?


So, you might think a soccer ref’s job isn’t as demanding as a player’s, but don’t be fooled! Referees burn many calories while keeping up with the game and making crucial decisions.

They need to stay fit and maintain proper nutrition and hydration to keep up with the demands of the game.

In conclusion, soccer referees are more than just decision-makers on the field. They put in the physical effort, burning many calories and staying in shape.

As a ref, you must prioritize your fitness and fuel your body right to excel in your role.

Manuel Esposito

Hello everyone! My name is Manuel and I've recently got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. I'm raised and born in New York, and I've been a big fan of soccer my whole life. Soccer is the reason why I got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science, and my goal with this blog is to help you improve your soccer techniques, strategies, and knowledge!

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