When you associate travelling with footballers, you would probably think of the nice holidays they go on when there not playing.
Now while footballers do get a break once the season is over, they will be required to travel a fair bit when the season is still active.
Sometimes it is long journeys while other times its just a short bus ride down the road.
In this guide, though, I will go over the number of times a footballer would travel during the season and the factors that would impact the number of times they do.
Why Do Footballers Travel?
Being a footballer, you spend most of your time in the city of the club you signed for. There you will frequently be using the club’s facilities, whether that be for team training, own training or simply preparation for your next game.
If a player’s next game is at home, then apart from a short drive to the stadium, there isn’t much travelling in place. However, where the travelling comes into it is when a team has an away game.
When players have an away game, it will typically require them to travel to that team’s stadium to play that fixture.
Occasionally you can have away games played at home or on the neutral ground closer to you than the opposing team, but these are a few and far between.
Along with travelling to away games, the other reasons why footballers will travel is to have a break from football. Like any normal person, footballers also need a rest and time away to come back feeling energised and ready for the new season.
How Frequently Do Footballers Travel?
How frequently they travel really depends on how congested their fixture schedule is. Typically the more teams there are in one league, the more games a team has to play.
This means more fixtures are crammed in, which can sometimes lead to a team playing two times a week instead of one.
For the top leagues, a team will play once a week in the domestic competition.
However, if they are involved in a continental competition like the Uefa Champions League, for example, then they could have up to 12 games scheduled for midweek in a season.
There is also no correlation between the better you are, the more games you play.
Because in the UK, teams in the Championship (second division) play 8 games more in the regular season than the Premier League (first division).
So, as a result, the championship is often deemed as a very demanding league.
What Means Do They Travel By?
The most common means of transport for football teams is to travel by bus. Most clubs will have a team bus and a designated driver that will be responsible for getting them to the away games.
These journeys are typically made at least a day before matchday unless they’re in the same city. This means the footballers will often stay in hotels close to the away teams stadiums.
If the journey is less than 4 hours, then a bus will be used. However, if it’s longer, then a plane might be used instead.
The times when the only option is to take a plane is when playing teams abroad. So if a team is playing in the Europa league or the champions league, they would fly there.
What’re The Furthest Clubs Travel?
Back in the 2o16 season, a record was set for the highest miles for a team to travel for a premier league fixture.
The fixture saw Newcastle travel 355 miles for their away match with Bournemouth on the south coast. Now while that is one long bus journey, most teams don’t have to travel as much, especially if you’re in the middle of the UK.
However, for the clubs like Newcastle and Bournemouth, who are on the opposite ends of England, the away miles over the course of a season will rise quite a lot.
In total, though, the number of miles premier league clubs will make in a season will be around the 2000 and 5000 marks.
While it’s a lot of miles, the UK is quite small in comparison to other countries, so for those teams in other countries where the area radius is far bigger then the miles could go through the roof.
Hitting Over 1000 Miles A Game
One example is a league I follow quite closely in America called the MLS.
Now in this league, because there is one top division team in a state, it means for away games, a team would have to travel to another state. This can sometimes be in the thousands just for one match!
If Vancouver Whitecaps, for instance, were playing away to New York City FC, they would need to travel 2987 miles to get to the east coast.
Sunday League = Smaller Distances
While the above examples are for the professional teams in the world, if you are further down in the football ladder, the distances will go down significantly.
Here in the UK, for semi-pro/amateur leagues, they will consist of teams in the same county. This means you don’t have to travel across the country just for one game.
Right now, I play at an amateur level and in a league where I only play against other teams nearby. So I rarely travel for more than 1 hour for an away game.
So as you can see, the number of miles a football team travels will heavily depend on how in the football pyramid the team is and the country they are in.
As you can see, several factors dictate the amount a footballer will travel and how far they will.
From my findings, the better the team, the more travelling you will be required to do. This is because the better teams are involved in several competitions both domestically and abroad and tend to play further games on top of the regular season.
That brings us to an end, and I hope that gave you an idea of what footballers go through when travelling.
If you have further questions to ask me, do let me know 🙂