My wife and I saw the Marquette women play UConn in Milwaukee this afternoon. because of a TOPSoccer event they had for our special-needs son (big thanks to Marquette athletics for a great time for him).
Both teams have mediocre records, and UConn won 2-1, but here's the question. We noticed that Marquette's starting line-up was 1-2 inches taller on average, but we could see that UConn's players had better wheels, especially two of the forwards (#7 and #13).
Forgetting about foot speed, is there an ideal height for your backs vs. the forwards?
many college coaches are known to have a desired body type, club type, or recruit profile that they look for. Purdue will take good players from anywhere whereas other coaches really only want ECNL and GA players (we've attended camps where the ECNL and GA players were put on one field and the "others" got on the second field and rarely got a look). Tennessee is a program that "short girls" are always pushed towards because Brian Pensky (now at Florida State) did not "discriminate" against short girls the way some coaches do. But generally, the old trope of "Leo Messi is little" seems to hold - if you can play, you can probably find a fit.
where practically any body type can be a star. No need to be a freak of nature.
Typically, backs are taller than forwards, but Cristiano Ronaldo, is nearly 6'2".
In Notre Dame's 2023 recruiting class, Meghan Mrowick, a forward, is a very good basketball player also. She is 5'10".
It is helpful to have a "college size body" since it is a rough, physical game. Also, being tall allows one to get up on headers. Again, I would say generally coaches prefer taller backs than forwards, but a quick, tall forward would be great.
Sounds like you, your wife, and your son all had a good time at the game!
I tired to look at the current USWNT roster for heights.
The four goalkeepers are 5'9" to 6'0", probably to aid covering the top of the net.
Most of the other players are about 5'7" (average size for US women). The two exceptions on the shorter side are Crystal Dunn (a defender at 5'1") and Rose Lavelle (a midfielder at 5'4"). Dunn has exceptional speed and often joins the attack, and Lavelle is an exceptional ball handler who tends to create plays.
The taller players are Sam Mewis (6'0" midfielder and Lindsey Horan at 5'9".
In the past Abby Wambaugh and Cindy Parlow were considered giants as 5'11" forwards.
Height has advantages, especially if one is good at heading balls; but it seems size is not as important in most positions as speed, ball handling, soccer IQ, and foot skills.
From what I can find online, it appears to be top 25%.
However, the big bodies in the back still need to be able to defend the smaller forwards. Size does help in the back line because you don't ever want a fullback being pushed off the ball by a forward.
Another great counter-example from a size standpoint is Zlatan Ibrahimovic - a 6'5" forward.
with Eva Gaetino (5'11") and Leah Klenke (5'10"). Those are the two tallest starting field players for the Irish and, not surprisingly, Gaetino is the main target of Korbin Albert's corner kicks. On the flip side, it's good to have some tall defenders to defend opposing corner kicks and crosses.
Sure, I'd like to see a taller forward on offense for the same reason, but having a speed demon like Olivia Wingate is an advantage, too, as would be a person to has a very quick ability to get off quick shots.
Your point on physical play is important, too. Korbin Albert is an excellent combination of technical expertise and physical play. One of my favorite ND subs, Katie Coyle, is a very physical player who has decent wheels and the ability to turn the corner and get off centering passes.
Albert and Coyle are "only" 5'7" but in soccer today, that's AOK.
(Of course, ND WBB fans are preconditioned to like Irish athletes tall and versatile! Sonia Citron - 6'1" -- was an all-New York State soccer player and Olivia Miles a talented striker.)