I’ve been a collegiate sports performance coach for 20 years. One thing I always felt was effective was showing guys the heights and weights of players at their position in the pros.
It helped give many players the extra motivation needed to gain weight when they were able to compare themselves to guys at the next level.
So, this is essentially the same research I would share with players, but now I’m sharing it with you. I took the 30-Man Rosters for the 2023 Major League Soccer season, over 700 players total and broke them down by position.
For this guide, I took an average of the heights and weights of the 230 defenders across the league. In addition, just for fun, I listed the tallest, shortest, heaviest and lightest defenders as well. Go ahead and impress someone today with your newfound random soccer knowledge.
Average Height of an MLS Defender
The average height of a major league soccer defender is 71.85 inches (just under 6’0″ tall).
Average Weight of an MLS Defender
The average weight of a major league soccer defender is 169.71 pounds.
Who are the Tallest Defenders in Major League Soccer?
There are 6 guys listed at 6’5″, but Matthew Nocita at 6’8″ is easily the tallest defender in the league.
|Tallest Defenders in the MLS|
|Matthew Nocita||6’8″||New York Red Bulls|
|Jackson Ragen||6’6″||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Aime Mabika||6’6″||Inter Miami FC|
|Jack Elliott||6’6″||Philadelphia Union|
|Omar Gonzalez||6’5″||New England Revolution|
|Nick DePuy||6’5″||Nashville SC|
Who are the Shortest Defenders in Major League Soccer?
There are over a dozen guys listed at 5’7″, but only two are shorter than 5’7″.
|Shortest Defenders in the MLS|
|Jimmy Medranda||5’5″||Columbus Crew|
|Anthony Sorenson||5’6″||Philadelphia Union|
Who are the Heaviest Defenders in the MLS?
There are seven players listed at 205 pounds or more.
|Heaviest Defenders in the MLS|
|Aime Mabika||214||Inter Miami FC|
|Omar Gonzalez||207||New England Revolution|
|Matt Hedges||207||Toronto FC|
|Matthew Nocita||205||New York Red Bulls|
|Jackson Ragen||205||Seattle Sounders FC|
|Nick DePuy||205||Nashville SC|
|Zac McGraw||205||Portland Timbers|
Who are the Lightest Defenders in the MLS?
Here are the five lightest defenders in Major League Soccer, all weighing under 140 pounds.
|Lightest Defenders in the MLS|
|Anthony Sorenson||126||Philadelphia Union|
|Bryan Oviedo||132||Real Salt Lake|
|Joseph Mora||132||Charlotte FC|
|John Tolkin||135||New York Red Bulls|
|Christian McFarlane||139||New York City FC|
So, what did I learn?
Outside of goalkeepers, soccer defenders (at least in the MLS) are on average the biggest players on the pitch.
“Biggest” is still a very relative term though as soccer players are some of the smallest players of any major sports league. Some of the biggest defenders in the MLS weigh around 200 pounds which is right around the average weight for a major league baseball player.
Outside of height being beneficial when playing corners and crosses in the air, size just isn’t the advantage in soccer that it is in other sports. Instead, speed, quickness and of course skill are much more at a premium.
Finally, if you’d like to see the full position-by-position breakdown, check out the average heights and weights of major league soccer players by position.