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6 Training Secrets of Pro Soccer Players

Get-fit tricks from soccer’s strongest athletes, just in time for the Women’s World Cup.

This month, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will land in Canada for a month’s worth of summer competition among some of the strongest sportswomen in the world. Pay close attention and you’ll notice that not only is soccer one of the most popular—if not beleaguered—sports on the planet, it’s also one of the most challenging.

Studies show that elite football players have brains more equipped to process visual scenes and perform high-level cognitive tasks. They also have better eye-muscle coordination than other athletes and non-athletes; hearts strong enough to run an average of 6 miles per game; and bodies tough enough to endure 90-minute matches.

But it’s not just the fittest of the fit who see perks: Research also suggests that soccer beats out other forms of cardiovascular exercise and can even help manage blood pressure and diabetes. We tapped the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Fitness and Sport Science Coach, Dawn Scott, to find out how she trains the pros.