Jennifer DeRosa knows all too well about soccer injuries. Jennifer started playing soccer at four years old and battled through injuries from a young age through college, playing Division 1 Soccer at UNC Asheville. Injuries included knee and neck strains, and she even needed anterior compartment surgery to bilateral lower legs.
From experience, Jennifer also knows that sometimes players play through the pain and may downplay just how injured they are in order to continue playing. Jennifer did this, and despite getting treatment when she was not playing, suffered damage and injury that made the recovery process last longer.
Since becoming a physical therapist, she’s had two meniscal tears that likely stem from years of playing soccer. “I don’t think until now, I realized how important the weight training and off-season workouts were to not only making your stronger in order to compete and be a better soccer player but also injury prevention for during the soccer season, as well as later in life.”
For soccer players in high school that are thinking about playing in college, Jennifer stresses that strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, and balance workouts are worth the effort now. To start, here are two areas that Jennifer suggests soccer players focus on:
- Single leg activities to activities to allow for decreased compensation and bring out any imbalances that may be present already. This includes single-legged deadlifts and single-legged sit to stands
- Upper-body exercises, like push-ups and dumbbell rows, as soccer mainly focuses on leg strength, but it is important to be well-rounded all over
Between taking the time to let injuries heal and working on building up overall fitness, soccer players can better prepare themselves for a long soccer career.