It takes time to build up the levels of fitness and conditioning required for a sport like soccer. When a player is sidelined due to injury their levels of fitness starts to drop. The longer they are unable to train the more drastic the drop. Take the ACL injury for example. A player with such an injury can be out of play for as much as 159 days. That’s nearly half a year. Injuries are a part of soccer and 65% of all soccer injuries are not surprisingly in the lower body, however maintaining the following three states will help minimize the chances of tearing an ACL.
Speed is important for any soccer player. However, apply the force of that speed correctly and in the proper direction will go a long way to reducing the chances of injury. Applying force in the proper direction keeps your joints in line and takes stress off of structures—like the ACL—that are not designed to bear those loads.
A recent study showed that the majority of soccer injuries (51.2%) occur during the second half of play. This is where the level of fitness comes in. Being at a level of fitness where you can perform at 100% throughout the entire 90 minutes means much less chance of injury.
There are two points at which ACL injuries are likely to occur: Firstly when athletes are not able to activate the anterior and posterior muscles in the right ratio leading to greater stress on the knee. Second, when athletes are weaker on one side of the body than the other which creates risk for the weaker side. Functional training in the gym should be used to fix imbalances.