Most fitness trackers are designed for general exercise — we’re talking running, jogging, step class, gym sessions, even swimming. Rarely is a tracker designed to handle the rigor of competitive sports, in which physical contact and impact play an essential role.
Sure, we soccer players could give the typical fitness tracker a go, but they’re not exactly cheap, and with all the collisions, dirt, and weather we play through, it’s just not going to stand the test of time.
What we need are fitness trackers suitable for the rough and tumble of soccer, which is why I’ve composed this article!
I spent the last few weeks researching the best fitness trackers for soccer in existence. With one of these nifty devices, you can enjoy the high-tech health monitoring of your gym-going buddies without worrying about it falling to pieces by halftime. Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- Best Overall – Catapult One
- Best Wrist Fitness Tracker – Garmin Venu
- Premium Pick — Garmin Forerunner 735XT
- Best Budget Pick — Huawei Band 4 Pro
- Most Comfortable — Fitbit Charge 5
- Buyer’s Guide
- Best Fitness Tracker For Soccer Players: Frequently Asked Questions
Best Overall – Catapult One
As you can see, the Catapult One is no ordinary fitness tracker, as it doesn’t go anywhere near your wrist.
This little piece of genius is a vest that you can wear during both practice and official soccer matches to track your performance across a wider array of scenarios than you ever could with a standard wrist tracker.
The Catapult One (and other trackers of this ilk) are utilized by professional soccer teams and players to collect precision data during both training sessions and matches, data about speed, movement, intensity, distance, etc.
It’s both comfortable and FIFA-approved, so don’t worry about breaking any rules. The only things you’ll be breaking with this beast are your own boundaries.
But this isn’t just my number one pick because it’s not wrist-bound. The GPS operates with surgical precision, ensuring data is accurate as can be, and the app comes with a soccer-specific “Smart Coach” that reviews your data and offers tailored tips on raising your game — Pretty cool, huh?
As if that wasn’t enough, the battery lasts for a whopping 7 hours, which is much longer than most soccer matches and training sessions, meaning it’s not going to leave you hanging before the final whistle is blown.
- 7-hour battery — Will last for entire training session
- Vest tracker — FIFA-approved and safe to wear during games
- Smart Coach — Tailored advice to up your game
- Accurate GPS — True tracking leads to real improvements
- Versatility — Not the best for generals workouts
- Used by elite teams, Catapult One is a GPS tracking solution that captures ten times more data than leading fitness trackers.
- Includes FIFA-approved pod, vest, charging dock, carrying case, and a one-year Catapult One membership.
- Track and improve the core metrics that make you a better player, including total distance, sprint distance, top speed, and more.
- Analyze player positioning with heat maps and get access to training exercises developed by pros.
- Access performance and data trends, visual heatmaps, and customized recovery and training tips.
Best Wrist Fitness Tracker – Garmin Venu
The Venu by industry leaders, Garmin, is a full-blown smartwatch that just so happens to be one of the best fitness trackers in the game… any game!
Of course, as it’s a wristwatch, you won’t be able to use it to monitor your performance in official soccer matches, but for use during training, there’s no wrist-based tracker more suited to the job.
First of all, it’s a sleek, lightweight, low-profile design, meaning it won’t get in your teammates’, your opponents’, or your way. It’s also waterproof, so even if your training session is marred by a downpour, the Venu won’t let you down.
Garmin is renowned for its GPS technology, and the Venu doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It offers up insanely accurate data, and thanks to the super-bright AMOLED display, it’s delivered with clarity no matter the lighting situation.
With the GPS fired up, it’ll last a full 6 hours, plenty long enough for a full training sesh, and the Connect app offers up more performance metrics than you could possibly imagine, allowing you to hone areas of your game you didn’t know existed.
Combine that with the customizable activity parameters, and you’ll be equipped to the nines to improve your performance on the pitch.
- Features for days — Tons of metrics to help you improve
- Low-profile — Doesn’t feel imposing
- Accurate GPS — No guesswork here
- AMOLED display — Delivers data with clarity
- Waterproof — Rain can’t stop the Venu
Wristwatch — Not suitable for gameplay
- Beautiful, bright AMOLED display and up to five-day battery life in smartwatch mode; up to six hours in GPS and music mode
- The broadest range of all-day health monitoring features keeps track of your energy levels, respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, estimated heart rate and more
- Easily download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon music or Deezer (may require a premium subscription With a third-party music provider), and connect with headphones (sold separately) for phone-free listening
- Record all the ways to move with more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, pool swimming and more
- Get easy-to-follow, animated cardio, strength, yoga and Pilates workouts right on your watch screen
Also available from…
Premium Pick — Garmin Forerunner 735XT
If you like the cut of the Venu’s jib, but have the money for an all-improved variant, allow me to introduce you to the Forerunner 735XT.
Weighing in at a minuscule 1.6 oz, you won’t even realize you’re wearing this thing, which is exactly what you want from a fitness tracker when you’re playing soccer.
Although this watch is a few years old at this point, the heart tracking device is considered the best of the best in terms of accuracy, and speaking of accuracy, the GPS is razor-sharp, so if you’re looking for ultimate precision, you’ve found it, my friend!
Much like the Venu, it has customizable activity modes that you can fine-tune to suit your soccer training, but this time around, the data will be more accurate and even more varied, helping you to improve all aspects of your game.
It’s also completely waterproof, so when the rain falls, play on.
Putting the cherry on top of the low-cal cake, the battery runs for a solid 14 hours, and that’s in full GPS mode, too!
- Accurate GPS — Accurate data allows real progress tracking
- Waterproof — Live in a drizzly climate? No problem
- Battery life — 14 hours in full GPS mode!
- 1.6 oz — Featherweight makes it super comfortable
- Color display — Review your data in style
Price— Not as pricey as it used to be, but still costs a pretty penny
- GPS running watch with multisport features.Special Feature:Bluetooth.Water Resistant: Yes.Forerunner Specifications - Operating temperature range : From -20º to 50ºC (from -4º to 122ºF)
- Estimates heart rate at the wrist so you can run freer on race day.Shock resistant. Battery life : Smartwatch Mode Up to 11 days. GPS mode Up to 14 hours. UltraTrac mode Up to 24 hours without wrist heart rate
- Provides advanced dynamics for running, cycling and swimming7, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio and more (when paired with a Running Dynamics Pod, HRM Run or HRM Tri Monitor, sold separately)
- Offers VO2 max estimate, lactate threshold (when used with a chest strap heart rate monitor), race predictor and recovery advisor
- Connected features4: smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking and more
Also available from…
Best Budget Pick — Huawei Band 4 Pro
The trackers we’ve seen so far are amazing, but they’re also quite a drain on the old bank account there, so let’s take a look at an awesome budget option, the Band 4 Pro from Huawei.
It may not be all that flashy, but it’s great for soccer players for several reasons. Take the form factor, for instance. It’s about as inconspicuous and low-key as they come, meaning it won’t get caught on clothing or injure you or other players.
It’s also exceedingly lightweight, and despite the very reasonable price tag, the GPS offers pretty snappy positioning and accurate readings, allowing you to make shrewd decisions concerning your training regime and progress.
The only real downside I can think of, besides a general lack of features when compared to the Garmin specimens mentioned earlier, is that it has a lovely touch screen.
Now, that wouldn’t be an issue for general exercise, but for a contact sport such as soccer, it’s easy to push something accidentally, and send the watch off on a tracking tangent.
- Price — Awesome value for money
- Integrated GPS — And it ain’t bad either
- Low-profile — Least imposing wrist design on the market
- Fit — Super comfortable
- Feature density — A little lacking in the advanced feature department, but it has all the essentials
- Brighter Colors, Smarter Life: Featuring a stunning 0.95 inch AMOLED touchscreen of great colour and contrast, HUAWEI Band 4 Pro provides you an ultimate visual experience; Also the HUAWEI Watch Face Store (available only on Android and availability may vary by region) offers various watch faces in different styles, such as sports, cartoons, intelligence and hi-technology
- 24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring: Thanks to the professional optical devices, processing chips and AI algorithm, the HUAWEI TruSeen 3.5 monitors your heart rate accurately and provides intelligent vibration reminders if your heart rate exceeds the heart rate limit; While you are sleeping, the device will continue to monitor your sleep while the invisible light causes no distractions
- Get Better Sleep Care: Healthy sleep is the basis for healthy living; HUAWEI TruSleep 2.0 tracks your heart rate during sleep to recognise the four phases and analyse the sleep quality; Also, this device can identify 6 types of sleep problems and provide scientific recommendations (availability may vary by region) for better sleep
- Powerful Built-in GPS: Leave Your Phone at Home: With built-in GPS, the HUAWEI Band 4 Pro provides accurate and fast positioning services to free you from your phone; After completing your outdoors workouts such as running, walking, cycling or open water swimming, you can view your GPS data on the map
- Push Yourself: Indoor/Outdoor Pro Tracking: HUAWEI Band 4 Pro tracks all of your favorite sports activities with multiple sports modes: Outdoor/Indoor Run, Outdoor/Indoor Cycle, Outdoor/Indoor Walk, Free Training, Elliptical and Rower modes, and even Pool/Open Water swimming.Professional Data Helps You Train Better: Thanks to the algorithm powered by FIRSTBEAT, you will get professional sports guidance based on the data of Heart rate zone, VO2max and recommended recovery time and training effect.Ambient operating temperature is minus 10 degree Celsius to plus 45 degree Celsius
Most Comfortable — Fitbit Charge 5
And now we come to the stalwarts of the industry, FitBit.
Although these groundbreaking fitness trackers don’t have the sharpest GPS in the world, the Charge 5 is definitely a step in the right direction for the company, providing highly accurate results you can use to map out your performance and progression.
It’s also insanely compact and comfortable to wear, so you won’t feel like you’re taking to the field wearing a bulky Rolex. It can also be submerged in up to 50 feet of water, not that you’ll need that during soccer training, but it’ll certainly survive a rainy day on the pitch.
The Charge 5 is jam-packed with tons of features, a ridiculous amount considering the reasonable price tag.
Not only will things like the 24/7 heart rate tracking and GPS help you improve your fitness and soccer abilities, things like sleep tracking and stress management protocols help you to improve all aspects of your wellness.
The 7-day battery life just sweetens the already objectively sweet deal. Of course, you can expect that to drop about 5 hours when utilizing the GPS facilities, but that’s still long enough for one hell of a kick about!
- Low-profile — Comfortable and non-restrictive
- Waterproof — Don’t let the rain set you back
- Battery life — Will last you a full training session
- Feature-dense — Tons of metrics to mess with
- Wristwatch design — Not suitable for games
- GPS — It’s great; it’s just not… Garmin great
- Optimize your workout routine with a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to exercise or should focus on recovery (Requires Fitbit Premium membership)..Operating temperature : 14° to 113° F (-10° to 45° C)
- Get a daily Stress Management Score showing your body’s response to stress and take steps to improve your levels with an on-wrist EDA sensor mindfulness session. Band Size:Sm: Fits wrist 5.1"- 6.7" . Lrg: Fits wrist 6.7" - 8.3" in circumference
- Track your heart health with high & low heart rate notifications and a compatible ECG app (The Fitbit ECG app is available in select countries. Not intended for use by people under 22 years old.)
- With the Health Metrics dashboard, track SpO2, heart rate variability, skin temperature variation and more (Not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and should not be relied on for any medical purposes.)
- See your real-time pace & distance without your phone using built-in GPS during outdoor activity, then see a map of your workout route in the Fitbit app
Soccer Specific Features To Look Out For
As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not a good idea to wear any form of jewelry during a soccer match. Not only is it a danger to you, but it also poses a threat to your fellow teammates as well as your opposition.
No one enjoys being clocked in the temple by a ring or pulled to the ground by their necklace… it’s just best to take off all your hard accessories before taking to the pitch.
This means that for a fitness tracker to be really suitable for soccer players, it needs to be somewhat soft, or at the very least, unobtrusive.
Even if you manage to find a particularly soft tracker for your wrist, chances are, a referee isn’t going to allow you to wear it in an actual game.
Your coach may not even allow you to wear it during a practice match, so it’s worth your while looking for alternative designs that aren’t worn on the wrist.
Size & Weight
A fitness tracker should not impede your performance in any way, so you need to look out for one that weighs next to nothing and doesn’t protrude too far from your body.
Weather & Dirt Resistance
Most fitness trackers have basic waterproofing to keep them safe from sweat, but as soccer is usually played outside, come rain or shine, our ideal tracker needs to be incredibly robust in the face of the elements, and, of course, loads and loads of mud!
Although football is considered the sport of big hits, there are a lot of high-speed impacts in soccer, so our fitness trackers need to be ready to roll with the punches!
If you want to track your fitness in the great outdoors, your tracker needs GPS functionality; it’s just the way things are. So, make sure you look out for one with some super accurate and fleshed out GPS appointments.
General Features To Look Out For
Soccer training sessions can be quite grueling, often taking place over entire days, which means your fitness tracker requires a beefy battery to keep up.
I’d be on the hunt for something that can pump out 5 hours’ work in full GPS mode, but 3 hours is probably sufficient for most future soccer stars.
What good is a GPS system if the data it collates is all skewed and inaccurate? None… is the answer to that question. In light of this, prioritize looking for a tracker with a high-performing GPS system that has plenty of data collecting features.
Although a modest footprint is best for your soccer-optimized fitness tracker, you also want to be able to see plenty of data on the face (if it’s a watch).
You need to be able to see all the info clearly, so if you often play in bright sunlight or poor light conditions, a backlight wouldn’t go amiss!
The fitness tracker market is incredibly competitive, and to help their products stand out in the crowd, many manufacturers are kitting their products out with lots of different modes and features.
As long as you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, there’s no reason you shouldn’t capitalize on this market struggle, and grab yourself a tracker that can do all manner of nifty things.
If I could recommend just a couple of these extra features, I’d recommend choosing something with solid heart rate monitoring, as well as fleshed-out sleep tracking abilities.
Combining the data collected by these functions, you’ll be able to improve your fitness, and thus, your game, a great deal!
This one often goes by the wayside — If you’re planning on incorporating a fitness tracker into a larger system of devices, before you purchase it, make sure it will fit into the prospective technological ecosystem that you have in mind.
Best Fitness Tracker For Soccer Players: Frequently Asked Questions
Still with me? Excellent. Got time for a quick FAQ session? Double excellent! Let’s go!
Is Accuracy In A Fitness Tracker That Important?
For serious athletes, high tracking accuracy is non-negotiable. In fact, even if you’re more of a casual player, a tracker still needs to provide somewhat accurate data if it’s to be of any use whatsoever.
Data is only going to help you improve your fitness and soccer proficiency if it’s correct. Anything else will be misleading, which may amount to you making the wrong decisions when it comes to training and improving your health.
A fitness tracker with lots of cool features is great and all, but without accuracy, it’s just a piece of fancy trash.
Can You Track Soccer With FitBit?
The FitBit is a favorite of many athletes (soccer players included) for its low-key footprint, price tag, and the fact it is one of the first of its kind. However, in many ways, it’s not the perfect fitness tracking tool for the beautiful game.
Although FitBits do have GPS functionality, it’s not the best for tracking hyper accurate data on the pitch, and as they’re a wrist-bound device, they’re not suitable for anything other than practice games (with your coach’s permission, of course).
Can Garmin Watch Track Soccer?
Garmin fitness trackers are generally preferred to FitBits for tracking soccer, as their GPS technology is superior; however, they’re also quite bulky devices in comparison, which isn’t ideal.
How Do You Use A Fitness Tracker Effectively?
A fitness tracker can be kitted out with all the bells and whistles in the world, but unless you learn how to use them effectively and develop an action plan based on the data, it won’t be of any use to you.
To maximize the efficacy of your fitness tracker for soccer or otherwise, you should…
- Ensure it’s fit for purpose. You’ve already got this down, as you’re reading this article about fitness trackers for soccer specifically, so well done!
- Wear it as much as possible during your exercise. Data can only help you improve if it’s consistent. As is true with anything to do with the sciences, it’s all about repeated measures. This is the only way to track progress accurately.
- Establish clear goals for yourself to work on. It might even be worth breaking larger goals into smaller increments so you can tell if you’re on the right path.
- Use or create some form of log to track your progress over longer periods of time. This will prevent regression, and keep you on the path to glory.
Some fitness trackers come with long-scale data logging as standard, but with others, you might have to take notes manually once you get past a certain timeframe.
Can You Use A Fitness Tracker Without A Phone?
You can absolutely use most fitness trackers without a phone, but a lot do have partner apps that bring even more functionality to the table, so it’s best to just bite the bullet and use a tracker in conjunction with your pocket computer.
There you have it, twinkle toes — 5 of the very best fitness trackers for soccer players. Treat yourself to one of these and you stand to fast track your journey to superstardom, or, at the very least, fast track your local team to the cup final. Man of the Match is as good as yours!