Best Fitness Trackers For Soccer Players [ Including Options For Referees]

Not even a single smartwatch or fitness tracker has been designed exclusively for football (soccer) players. In sharp contrast, we have witnessed the evolution of runner, dive, and cycling smartwatches in the past decade. 

Dedicated watches like Garmin Forerunner 945, Suunto 7, and Polar Vantage V2 are extremely popular among runners and triathletes. Why?  They add tremendous value to their life. How? They provide them with all the necessary details regarding their fitness level to keep them motivated; and, encourage them to do better.

Soccer players need something similar, but they have a hard time finding one that meets their preference. This humble attempt is to help them do so. 

Below we have added one of the best fitness trackers & smartwatches for soccer players, and we intend to keep updating this list in line with new insights about smartwatches. 

We have tried to balance the list with both top-of-the-line premium trackers with a few low-end models so affordability isn’t an issue. There is a short, to-the-point buying guide in the end.

Without further ado, let’s get straight to our curated list.

Best Pick:

Garmin Fenix 5X hits the sweet spot when it comes to price and performance. (In the context of soccer-related fitness tracking)

Also, Garmin ConnectIQ has the most popular third-party apps related to football. You can turn it into a Referee smartwatch or Soccer fitness tracker depending on the apps you are going to install in it.

Garmin Fenix 5x: Best Rugged Smartwatch For Football Players/Referees 

Features:

  • OS: Garmin Proprietary OS
  • Storage:  16 GB 
  • Display: 1.1″ (218 x 218)
  • Sensors:  GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, ACCELEROMETER, GARMIN ELEVATE™ WRIST HEART RATE MONITOR, Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Thermometer.
  • Battery: 10+ days Without GPS
  • Weight: 3 Oz
  • Water and dust Resistance:  10 ATM (up to 100m)
  • Color: More than 10
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire lens: Yes
  • Strap Material: silicone (Metal, leather bands are also available) 
  • Preloaded topographic and cycling maps: Yes
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and ANT+

Review: 

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus is a multisport smartwatch that you can use as a training partner on soccer fields. 

The watch is highly rugged more than we need for a sport like football. To give you a hint, it houses sapphire glass to provide protection against scratrates, extreme abuse. Plus, it is ATM 10 rated.

The battery life lasts more than 8 hours on GPS continuously running in the background. Other than GPS, it has GLONASS, Galileo  as a backup for accurate position tracking. 

Though watches don’t have a dedicated activity for football tracking, you can install third party-app like Sports+ to squeeze the most out of powerful hardware. You can use less expensive models like Garmin Forerunner 235 and its successor Forerunner 245 with this app too.

Garmin app store (Garmin ConnectIQ) also has an app for Referees. Installing Referee Watch on supported Garmin Devices (including this one) makes them on par with popular referee watches. 

Two major downers of this watch are the price and chunky build. But you have to make a compromise here for the rugged design.

Fitbit Charge 4: Best GPS Fitness Tracker For Soccer Players

Features:

  • Battery Life: 7 days. 4 hours (GPS mode)
  • Display: 1-inch PMOLED screen (160 x 100-pixel)
  • Water Resistance: Up to 50m 
  • Colors: 2
  • Sensors: Altimeter, 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, GPS, Vibration motor, NFC
  • Other: Spotify Control, Automatic Exercise recognition 
  • Bands Included: Classic wristbands [both small (Fits wrist 5.5″ – 7.1″ ) & large(Fits wrist 7.1″ – 8.7″ in circumference)]

Review:

Any list of premium fitness trackers would be incomplete without Fitbit products. The company has proved, time after time, that it is dependable. 

Fitbit Charge 4 is the very first fitness tracker with GPS and NFC. Plus, it adds one or two sensors including the latest blood oxygen saturation sensor. 

The battery life is great at 7 days, but fall short when GPS is enabled( A full charge lasts 4 hours)

There is no dedicated mode for football, but the tracker provides in-depth data about running and you will have to do a little math yourself to exploit that data for your advantage.

Though sleep tracking doesn’t have anything directly to do with soccer, it would certainly help athletes to lead a fitness-oriented life. Fitbit offers the most advanced tracking of sleep.

In addition to this, the tracker is IP68 rated so you won’t have to take it off while post-match shower. 

The two main downers are the expensive price tag and so-so build of the watch. Unless money isn’t an issue, you won’t take it to a soccer match as it can’t handle extreme abuse in such a rough sport. 

Amazfit Stratos + (Exclusive Edition): Best Chinese Smartwatch For Soccer Athletes

Features:

  • Screen: 1.34″ display screen (Resolution: 320 X 300) | | Sapphire watch crystal
  • Processor & Memory: 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 512M RAM, approx. 2GB of free space available
  • GPS: Low-power GPS + GLONASS dual satellite positioning
  • Wireless Connection: Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sensors:  PPG heart rate sensor, Triaxial acceleration sensor, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic sensor, Air pressure sensor4, Ambient light sensor
  • Battery Life: Up to 5 days ( 35 hours all-course GPS-enabled and heart rate monitoring)
  • Body Material: Ceramic, stainless steel, glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate, glass
  • Sports modes: Soccer + 13 others
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM (up to 50m)
  • Standard Watchband (Width): Quick release leather watchband 6 (22mm), fluororubber sports Watchband7 (22mm)

Review:

Amazfit Stratos + is a multisports watch by a well-established Chinese wearable tech company. It is a cost-effective solution to expensive multisports watches like Garmin Fenix 5X and Suunto 5. 

The watch has Soccer as a dedicated activity and covers all the related metrics to the sport. With that, it covers multiple other sports modes. 

Surprisingly, it has both GPS and GLONASS to accurately track your footstep. But more important than it can last 35 hours with tracking heart rate in parallel and GPS mode enabled. The screen is made of sapphire glass to give it a rugged look. Also, it is ATM 5 rated.

Heart Rate tracking isn’t always accurate but this will be among many compromises you will have to make for its cheap price. 

Apart from that, Amazfit has to do serious work on their software as the proprietary apps crash now and then. Plus, there are some compatibility glitches with IOS devices.

Suunto 5: High-End GPS Smartwatch For Football Players

Features:

  • Display: 1.2 inches | 218 x 218 resolution
  • Sensors:  GPS,GLONASS, GALILEO, Heart Rate, Altimeter, Compass etc
  • Battery: 40 hours
  • Weight: 2.33 Oz.
  • Glass material: Mineral crystal
  • Case material:Glass fibre reinforced polycarbonate
  • Water and dust Resistance:  
  • Color: 5+
  • Strap Material: Silicone 
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Review:

Suunto 5 has more than 80 sport modes, including Football, and is a bit more expensive than many of its competitors like Garmin Forerunner and Polar Vantage Series. 

The Finnish company is famous for its sport-specific products and Suunto 5 is no different. Equipped with a rugged body, advanced sensors, and long battery life, it is perfectly suitable for soccer. 

The watch has GPS on board, so you won’t have to take the smartphone for better accuracy. You can take shower or even swim with it(50m water resistant). Watch is backed by a powerful app that presents meaningful data in a digestible format. 

However, there are a few caveats.

The 1.2-inch display is very dim, especially for outdoor conditions; and, it offers small real estate for items to fit on the screen. The display is a non-touch type, which in most cases isn’t an issue for sportsmen and athletes. 

Apart from that, the interface takes some time to get used to it. Though Garmin Fans might not argue, others may find it difficult to adjust to the complex interface. Also, the watch weighs more than its competitors and leans towards a chunky design. 

Polar Vantage M: Affordable Smartwatch For Soccer

Features:

  • Display:   1.2-inch  | 240 x 240 pixels
  • Sensors:  GPS, GlONASS, Heart rate sensor 
  • Battery: 30 hours in power training mode
  • Weight: 1.58733 Oz
  • Water Resistance:  up to 30 ft 
  • Case Material: Glass fibre reinforced polymer
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Review:

Polar watches are worth-mentioning competitors of Garmin and Suunto when it comes to sports wearable. Polar takes it to next level by introducing skin contact measurement of metrics along with the watch (available in latest, expensive sports watch series like Vantage V, and V2)

The Polar Vantage M, on the other hand, is the top choice for price-conscious multi-sport smartwatch buyers who are more inclined to use the watch for running and other outdoor-based activities including Football (soccer). Here, you can find that football is a dedicated sports activity in a number of polar watches.

Vantage M is a tough watch with a Glass fiber reinforced polymer casing, but it doesn’t come at the price of comfortability. The battery life is great, lasts 30 hours in training mode and it is highly unlikely that you will surpass this time without recharging the watch. The watch is water-resistant up to 30m, which is less than the minimum standard. 

The most powerful feature of the watch is the company’s proprietary Power FLow, the online window to your training, sleep, and activity. With the Polar Flow app, all your training data is easily available in one place.

You can also sync your data to other online sports communities, such as Strava or TrainingPeaks.

For under $200, you get a great range of features and excellent sensors, coupled up with a good screen, whilst the watch being very light altogether.

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

Features:

  • Display:    | Resolution: 320 x 300
  • Sensors: GPS, GLONASS 
  • Battery: 7 days (10-20 hours GPS mode Enabled)
  • Weight: 2.61 oz
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM (100m ) 
  • Case Material: Glass fibre reinforced polyamide
  • Band Material: Silicone
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Review:

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR supports more than 80 sports modes. It stands shoulder to shoulder with beast sport watches like the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Polar Vantage V2, and is equally more expensive. 

With an optical heart rate sensor, Spartan Sport is very accurate and doesn’t need a strap to refine the heart rate tracking data. However, if you are still skeptical, you can add an external heart rate chest strap. 

Other than heart rate, you have the option to track sleep, calories burned and pretty much everything you can expect from a regular fitness smartwatch. 

The GPS tracking is very accurate and Garmin has added GLONASS (Russian Alternative to GPS) for better coverage. 

The mobile app focuses on showing you totals and workout history, which you can drill further into to see a breakdown of sessions and view graphs for aspects like pace, speed, heart rate, and cadence. 

The smartwatch offers you 7 days of battery life without GPS enabled. Using GPS + GLONASS, you can’t expect the battery to last more than a day. Also, the watch is rugged to the core and unsurprisingly chunky.

It’s ATM 10 rated, so you won’t have to worry about water penetration even if you dive with it let alone take a shower. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Best GPS Smartwatch For Soccer Under $200

Features:

  • OS: Tizen-based wearable platform 4.0
  • RAM & Storage: 768MB + 4GB
  • Display: 1.4in AMOLED circular (364 ppi)
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9110 dual-core 1.15GHz
  • Sensors:  Altimeter, barometer,GPS, heart-rate monitor, Gyro, etc.
  • Battery: 340mAh (60H)
  • Water and dust Resistance:  5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter, 4G LTE enabled Standalone smartwatch

Review:

Samsung Galaxy Active 2 is a true allrounder. It might not have soccer as a dedicated activity but is equipped with the right hardware. You can install third-party apps like mapmyrun on its Tizen platform to track your soccer games. 

However, keep in mind, you might not get as detailed data as you get in Suunto Spartan Sport and Garmin fenix. 

Active 2 has a rugged built up. It can withstand shock, can be submerged in water, and can take falls from a considerable height. We have also featured it as the best rugged smartwatch in a separate dedicated post. 

Active 2 has a stunning design. It is extremely lightweight thanks to its aluminum casing. The bands are interchangeable and highly comfortable. 

The best thing about this watch is surely the freedom to use it in a variety of ways. You can use it as a standalone watch as it has cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity. Or, outdoor gear as it has a decent battery life of more than 3 days. 

Ticwatch Pro 3: Best Wear OS Watch For Soccer Referees 

Features:

  • OS: Wear OS
  • RAM & Storage: 1Gb &  8 GB
  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear™ 4100 Platform.
  • Display: 1.4″ Retina AMOLED (454 x 454)
  • Sensors:  GPS, Blood Oxygen, heart rate, Glonass+Galileo, 
  • Speaker and Mic: Yes
  • Battery: 3 days
  • Weight:  42.3 Oz
  • Water and dust Resistance:  10 ATM (up to 100m)
  • Color: Shadow Black
  • Strap Material: silicone (Other bands are also available) 
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and GPS, 4G LTE

Review:

Ticwatch Pro 3 is the very first watch that houses one beast of a processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 (a breakthrough development over older, sluggish Wear 3100.) 

Thanks to the powerful processor(1GB RAM and 8 GB storage.), Ticwatch Pro 3 flawlessly runs Wear OS and the apps that are developed for the OS. 

Wear OS Apps like REFSIX can make it a great referee watch as the hardware support to run the application is solid. REFSIX PRO Upgrade to REFSIX PRO to measure a variety of data points during football matches to give referees greater insight into performance after matches. (Including heatmaps, distance, and speed)

Pro tip: you can turn any GPS enabled Wear OS watch into a great wearable for Referees. The reason we choose Ticwatch Pro 3 has to do with its top-of-the-line hardware to run Wear OS applications.

In our opinion, the watch might have a large dial, but it doesn’t look chunky. 1.4″ Retina AMOLED (454 x 454) screen has an always-on feature. The matte black finish adds to its aesthetic appeal. 

The watch is IP68 rated. No need to fear water penetration up to 5m. It is reinforced with stainless steel and high-strength nylon with glass fiber. In a line, it is built to last. And in the comfortability department, Mobvoi has managed to keep it 30% than its processor, Ticwatch Pro.

Garmin Forerunner 45: Cheap Smartwatch For Football Players

Features:

  • Display:   1.04-inch transflective display |  208 x 208 resolution
  • GPS: Yes  (plus GLONASS and Galileo)
  • Battery: 7+ days
  • Weight: 1.13
  • Water Resistance:  5 ATM
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Review: 

Garmin Forerunner 45 as the name suggests is a smartwatch essentially for runners, and as football involves a lot of the latter, being a regular player you won’t have to spend money on a premium soccer-enabled smartwatch. In just under $100, Forerunner 45 will get you all the necessary insights you need. 

You can definitely take advantage of its range of position tracking hardware. It has all three of them(GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) to accurately track the position. 

A 10 ATM watch would be an overkill for soccer players. 5 ATM is a decent water resistance level for taking a quick shower with the watch on and to protect from the sweat penetration into the watch. 

The 1.04-inch transflective display is a bit smaller than what is generally expected. The 208 x 208 resolution, similarly, isn’t great for a crisp, vibrant display. However, you can expect little from a $100 watch in terms of display. For sports, any display that is visible in all light conditions will do the job. 

Apart from that, the watch has a very rugged construction and can withstand mild abuse involved in a vigorous soccer game. 

The major drawback of this watch is that there is no dedicated activity for soccer and you can’t install any third-party app to compensate for it. In short, you will have to go an extra mile to translate the insights from your run to improve efficiency at football games. 

Finding Best Fitness Tracker For Football: Features To Look Out For?

Being a soccer player, all you need from the smartwatch is to track speed, pace, max speed, running route map, and your football games. But most importantly you must expect accurate heart rate tracking as it goes into a lot of different factors that relates to your fitness level. 

A standalone GPS is a must. The whole point of buying a smartwatch is to leave the smartphone at home. Keep in mind, tracking metrics with GPS-enabled on the watch will take a heavy toll on the battery life. As a rule of thumb, buy a watch that lasts at least 6 hours (with GPS working seamlessly)

Many of the smartwatches we include in this list have football as a separate sport mode, but if not, you must make sure that the hardware(Heart Rate sensor, Memory, Processor, Accelerometer, GPS) is just there to track the data. If the first condition is fulfilled, you can download Third-Party Apps on the watch to exclusively track football related metrics. 

Lastly, the watch should be tough like a rock. Soccer is an injury-prone sport, and there’s no place for fancy watches in it. The tracker should be water and dust resistant ( IP68 or ATM 5 rated at least) so there are no chances of water impregnating the bezel during a shower or while you are sweating on the field. 

The screen should be scratch resistant to a very high degree, and the straps should not break, even if we pull a truck from it (pun intended) However, at the same time the bands should be comfortable, best not itchy and the watch should have a less chunky design.

Wrap Up:

There are certainly more high-end watches that can track football as a dedicated activity, but none provide as much value as we have added to our list. 

We intend to keep updating this list whenever we come across a better soccer fitness tracker or a smartwatch.