0 out of 11 steps completed0%
11 Lessons

The foods and drinks that a player chooses in training and competition will affect performance. All players need to be aware of their personal nutritional goals and of how they can select an eating strategy to meet those goals. Every player is different, and there is no single diet that meets the needs of all players at all times. Individual needs also change across the season and players must be flexible to accommodate this.

Diet may have its biggest impact on training, and a good diet will help support consistent intensive training while limiting the risks of illness or injury. Good food choices can also promote adaptations to the training stimulus. Training hard to improve fitness makes no sense if the foods eaten after training are not chosen to maximise the adaptations taking place in the muscles. This may also allow for the same level of fitness improvement with less stamina training – allowing more time for skills and tactical work and reducing the risk of overuse injuries. Getting the right amount of energy to stay healthy and to perform well is key. Too much energy in the diet and body fat increases; too little and performance falls, injuries are more likely to occur, and illness results. Body mass and physique should be optimised in pre-season rather than trying to make adjustments at times when match demands are high. The optimum level of body fat is an individual issue, and body composition assessment is essential before any attempts to make changes are made.

Talent and dedication to training are no longer enough to achieve success in elite football. Good nutrition has much to offer players and match officials, including improved performance, better health, and enjoyment of a wide range of foods.

Prof Ron Maughan

Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition

Presented by

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should:

  • have an understanding of the role of carbohydrate, protein and fat in the diet of a football athlete;
  • understand the issues associated with dehydration and how to monitor hydration status in football players;
  • have an awareness of the supplements commonly used by footballers and the problems associated with supplement use, and be able to produce a supplement policy for your local team;
  • be able to advise about performance nutrition strategies before, during and after a football match;
  • be able to advise about nutrition strategies which can be used to prevent illness and enhance performance while travelling.


  • Read the relevant section in the FIFA Medical Manual and other required reading
  • Review the suggested reading
  • View, or listen to, any relevant multimedia content
  • Complete the course quiz

Required reading

Nutrition for Football: A practical guide to eating and drinking for health and performance
F-MARC (2010)


FIFA Football Medicine Manual, 2nd Edition
Chapter 2.5 (pages 123-130)

Suggested reading

Nutrition and football
Maughan RJ (ed) (2007)
Routledge, London


  1. Garcia-Roves PM, Garcia-Zapico P, Patterson AM, Iglesias-Gutierrez E. Nutrient intake and food habits of soccer players: Analyzing the correlates of eating practice. Nutrients 2014 Jul 18;6(7):2697-717.
  2. Maughan RJ. Impact of mild dehydration on wellness and on exercise performance. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003 Dec;57 Suppl 2:S19-23.
  3. Kurdak SS, Shirreffs SM, Maughan RJ, Ozgunen KT, Zeren C, Korkmaz S, Yazici Z, Ersoz G, Binnet MS, Dvorak J. Hydration and sweating responses to hot-weather football competition. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2010 Oct;20 Suppl 3:133-9.
  4. Maughan RJ, Watson P, Evans GH, Broad N, Shirreffs SM. Water balance and salt losses in competitive football. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2007 Dec;17(6):583-94.
  5. Hespel P, FAU MR, Greenhaff PL. Dietary supplements for football. Journal of Sports Sciences JID – 8405364 1031.
  6. Tscholl P, Junge A, Dvorak J. The use of medication and nutritional supplements during FIFA World Cups 2002 and 2006. Br J Sports Med 2008 Sep;42(9):725-30.
  7. Maughan RJ. Alcohol and football. Journal of Sports Sciences JID – 8405364 1031.
  8. Maughan RJ, Shirreffs SM. Nutrition and hydration concerns of the female football player. Br J Sports Med 2007 Aug;41 Suppl 1:i60-3.
  9. Teixeira VH, Goncalves L, Meneses T, Moreira P. Nutritional intake of elite football referees. J Sports Sci 2014;32(13):1279-85.
  10. Zerguini Y, Kirkendall D, Junge A, Dvorak J. Impact of Ramadan on physical performance in professional soccer players. Br J Sports Med 2007 Jun;41(6):398-400.