Nutritional Guidelines

Soccer players are continuously looking for ways to improve their performance, increasing the body’s maximum potential and forcing it to achieve championship form. Training leading up to a tournament is done with hard work and commitment on a daily basis. With the amount of effort and time spent in training comes an equally high energy consumption and that is where nutrition (fuel) will come in.

High energy can be obtained through a diet which is rich in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main fuel and energy source of the body and the soccer player needs loads of them. It is equally important to consume the proper carbohydrates as outlined below. Protein is also very important to the soccer player diet as they help with recovery and muscle growth. Fats are important and essential to a healthy diet as long as they are consumed appropriately. A general rule is to consume 60% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 15% fat in your diet. Fluid is very important and should be consumed before, during, and after every soccer event.

GCT players are expected to recognize the importance of nutrition before, during and after tournaments / games and to prepare their bodies for the challenge. Failing to do this is the equivalent of failing to prepare for an exam. The results are just as obvious on a soccer field as they would be in a classroom. Therefore, GCT players are expected to follow the guidelines shown below.


Pre-Game Meal

The pre- game meal should be consumed 3-4 hours prior to a soccer game. Plenty of water/ Gatorade should be consumed at the meal. The meal should be planned around individual likes and dislikes, thus a variety is essential.

Carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index (GI) should be consumed before the game to preserve energy stores and provide long lasting energy throughout the game. High GI foods should be consumed immediately before and during the game to provide for lost energy during the first half of games.

In-Game Nutrition

Players are encouraged to consume easily digested foods during the game and at half time. These include crackers, grapes, oranges, watermelon, rice crispy bars, trail mix, etc... Players should bring Gatorade to all games. Each player should drink 10-12 ounces 30 minutes prior to the game, 8-10 ounces of water before

kick-off, and 10 ounces of Gatorade at half time. Water should be available to all players at any time prior to, during, and after games. Light colored Gatorade (Tiger, Rain, etc.) instead of darker colors are recommended, as it is easier to digest.

Post-Game Snack

Immediately following the game (within 30 min.), players should drink Gatorade/water. Light snacks should be consumed if there is a game the next day or later in the day. This should include high carbohydrate and protein foods. Trail mix, rice crispy bars, watermelon, other fruits, crackers, and of course Chick-Fil-A sandwiches are always a hit. The post game snack should be consumed immediately as this is when the player’s glycogen stores are wide open and able to consume the most for the next match. One to two hours after, this event lessens

and the player is not able to consume as much food. The post game meal should contain a good balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Calories are important and should be consumed at the rate of 2500/3000 per day. Older teams can consume more; younger teams may consume less depending on the weight of the individual.

Nutritional Guidelines at Out-of-Town Tournaments


All players will be instructed by their coaches and athletic trainers concerning the importance of nutrition before a tournament. 

Players will be required to attend all scheduled meals. 

No sodas or carbonated drinks are allowed prior to and during the tournament. Water will be served at all meals.

Breakfast should be eaten daily. If your game is early a light breakfast should be consumed with plenty of fluids.

Pre-game meals should be planned 3-4 hours prior to the beginning of each game. If not possible, nutritious snacks and plenty of fluid should be consumed.

Post- game nutrition should include the immediate snack/Gatorade (within one hour of the game) followed by a larger meal later after the return to the hotel.

Players should hydrate at all times during the tournament. Urine color should appear clear (not dark yellow) upon waking in the morning, before the game, and before going to bed. This is a simple way of acknowledging proper hydration.

Low GI Foods
Spaghetti Grapes Nuts Popcorn
Pasta Pear Dried Fruit Banana Bread
Oatmeal Apples Avocado Broccoli
Cereals Sweetened Yogurt Peanuts Cauliflower
Rice Fat Free Milk Green Pease Mushrooms
Oranges Green Beans All Bran Wheat Tortilla
Med/High GI Foods
Graham Crackers Chips Bread Ice Cream
Peanut Butter Crackers Dates Cream of Wheat Pita Bread
Corn Chips Baked Potatoes Fruit Roll-ups Raisons
Honey Rice Cakes Mashed Potatoes Trail Mix
Watermelon Cheerios Cheese Pizza Juice Box
Pretzels Waffles / Pancakes Bananas Fig Newton's