why do soccer players fake injuries

Why Do Soccer Players Fake Injuries?

There’s something that soccer players do that always manages to frustrate fans – and that’s fake an injury. You see it all the time, a player goes down clutching their leg even though they didn’t get touched, and suddenly the game is stopped while they wait for medical attention.

So why do soccer players fake injuries? Is it really just to buy themselves some time or is there something else going on?

Read on as we take a closer look at this phenomenon and find out what’s really going on.

5 Reasons Why Soccer Players Fake Injuries

1. To Waste Time

With the clock ticking down, there’s nothing a team in the lead hates more than having to defend for those final few minutes. So what do they do? They start faking injuries of course!

This way they can waste valuable time and hope that the game will finish before the other team has a chance to score.

2. To Break Up the Play

When one team is on the attack and putting pressure on the other, the last thing the defending team wants is for the play to continue uninterrupted. So what do they do? They start faking injuries!

This way they can break up the play and give themselves a chance to regroup. It can dampen momentum if a team is on top.

3. To Get a Player Sent Off

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to play against a team with an extra man. So what do teams do when they’re up against a player who’s proving to be a real handful? They start faking injuries!

This is done in the hope that the referee will see that the player in question is causing problems and will decide to send them off. This tactic is known as “gamesmanship” and it’s used all too often in professional soccer.

4. To Make the Referee’s Job More Difficult

Let’s face it, referees have a tough job. They have to keep track of 22 players, make sure they’re following the rules, and keep an eye on the game clock all at the same time. So is it any wonder that they sometimes get things wrong?

Players know this, and they often take advantage of it by faking injuries. They know that if they can make the referee’s job more difficult, there’s a chance that they’ll make a mistake in their favor.

5. To Score a Goal

This one might seem a little far-fetched, but it does happen from time to time. If a team is in a good position to score a goal, they may start faking injuries in the hope that the referee will play on, and thus, create a scoring opportunity.

Of course, this tactic is highly controversial and not something that’s condoned by the sport’s governing body, but it does happen.

What Is It Called When Soccer Players Fake Injuries?

One could argue that faking injuries in any sport is a form of cheating. In some cases, it may even be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

soccer player in pain holding knee

However, in the world of soccer, faking injuries has become so commonplace that it almost seems accepted by many fans and pundits alike.

This phenomenon is often referred to as “simulation”, “diving” or “gamesmanship”. It occurs when a player embellishes or exaggerates contact to fool the referee into awarding a free kick or penalty.

Simulation has been a part of soccer for years, but it seems to be becoming more and more prevalent in the modern game. Many believe this is due to the increased physicality of the sport.

With players getting bigger and stronger, there is more contact than ever before. This has led to more opportunities for simulation, as it is often easier to sell a dive when there is actual physical contact involved.

Which Player Positions Pretend Most Often?

In general, it is forwards who are most likely to “simulate” or “dive”. This is because they are the players who spend the most time in the opposition’s penalty area and are thus more likely to be fouled.

Often the ‘reward’ for a forward diving is a penalty kick, which is a very good chance to score a goal. This means that there is a lot of incentive for forwards to dive, as it can be extremely beneficial to their team.

That being said, simulation can occur anywhere on the field and any player can be guilty of it.

In some cases, even the goalkeeper may dive in an attempt to get a decision from the referee. For instance, if a goalkeeper is about to be scored upon, they may dive early in an attempt to get a foul called and avoid conceding a goal.

Unfortunately, all positions on the field have been known to take a tumble on occasion.

Some of the most famous (or infamous) divers in the history of soccer include Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and Diego Maradona.

These are all world-class players who have been caught “diving” on multiple occasions.

What Are the Most Common Soccer Player Injuries?

Soccer, like any sport, carries a risk of injury. However, due to the physical nature of the game, certain injuries are more common in soccer than in other sports. The most common soccer player injuries include:

Sprains and Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament (a band of tissue that connects two bones). A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon (a cord of tough tissue that attaches muscles to bones). Sprains and strains often occur when players fall awkwardly or overstretch.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are common in soccer, due to the amount of running and twisting involved. The most common knee injuries include:

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury – this occurs when the ACL is stretched or torn

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury – this occurs when the MCL is stretched or torn

Meniscus injury – this is an injury to the cartilage that cushions the knee joint

woman playing soccer injured on the field

While serious knee injuries can end a player’s career, most knee injuries can be treated with surgery and/or physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Ankle Injuries

The ankle is another common site of injury in soccer, due to the sudden changes in direction and the amount of running involved. The most common ankle injuries include:

Sprained ankle – this occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn

Fractured ankle – this is a break in one or more of the bones that make up the ankle

Achilles tendon injury – this occurs when the Achilles tendon (the large tendon at the back of the ankle) is stretched or torn


Hamstring injuries are common in soccer, due to the explosive sprinting and sudden changes in direction involved. The most common hamstring injuries include:

Hamstring strain – this occurs when the muscles or tendons of the hamstring are stretched or torn

Pulled hamstring – this is a more severe form of a hamstring strain, which can involve a partial or complete tear of the muscle

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common injury in soccer, particularly among beginners. Shin splints occur when the muscles and tendons around the shin become overloaded and inflamed. 

Treatment for shin splints usually involves rest, ice, and pain relief medication.


A groin strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons of the groin. Groin strains are common in soccer, due to the twisting and turning movements of the game. The most common symptom of a groin strain is a pain in the groin area.

Other symptoms may include muscle spasms, weakness, and tenderness. Treatment for a groin strain typically includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery is rarely necessary.

What Is the Punishment for Faking an Injury

There is no set punishment for faking an injury in soccer. However, if a player is found to have deliberately faked an injury, they may be subject to disciplinary action from their club or league. This could include a fine or suspension from playing.

In some cases, a player may be banned from playing soccer altogether. This is usually only the case if the player is found to have committed a serious offense, such as violence on the field.

While there is no punishment specifically for faking an injury, it is generally frowned upon by coaches, teammates, and fans.

Faking an injury can be seen as dishonest and unsportsmanlike behavior. It can also disrupt the flow of the game and give one team an unfair advantage.

Why Women’s Soccer Game is Less Dramatic

While there are many reasons why women’s soccer is less dramatic, one of the most likely reasons is that women’s soccer players are less likely to fake injuries.

women's soccer team playing on the field

Female soccer players are less likely to fake injuries because they are less likely to suffer from serious injuries.

Another reason why women’s soccer is less dramatic is that the game is generally less physical.

There are fewer player-to-player collisions and less body contact overall. This means that there are fewer opportunities for players to get hurt, and less need for players to fake injuries.

Thirdly, women’s soccer is typically less competitive than men’s soccer.

This is because there are fewer teams and less money in the sport. As a result, there is less pressure on players to win at all costs. This can lead to a more relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Finally, women’s soccer is often played for fun, rather than for glory or money.

Many female soccer players play because they love the game, rather than to achieve fame or fortune. This can lead to a more positive and enjoyable atmosphere both on and off the field.


Do Soccer Players Fake Injuries a Lot?

Yes, soccer players do fake injuries quite often. This is because the sport is quite physical and there is a lot of contact between players. This can lead to injuries, which players may then fake to gain an advantage.

Who Is the Best Soccer Player To Fake Injury?

There is no one “best” soccer player to fake injury. However, some players are more adept at faking injuries than others. This is usually because they are more experienced and have a better understanding of the game.

What Are the Biggest Injuries in Soccer?

The biggest injuries in soccer are usually to the legs, such as the knee or ankle. This is because these areas of the body are under a lot of stress when playing soccer. Other common injuries include strains, hamstrings, and sprains.


Faking an injury in soccer is a common occurrence and one that can be difficult to punish. This is because there is no specific punishment for faking an injury, and it can be seen as unsportsmanlike behavior.

Faking an injury can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to waste time or to get another player in trouble.

While it is certainly not something to be proud of, it is not necessarily a punishable offense. If you are caught faking an injury, the most likely outcome is a warning from the referee.

This doesn’t mean that faking injuries is something to be taken lightly. If you are caught faking an injury, you may find yourself in hot water with your team, coaches, and even the league.

So while there may not be specific punishments for faking an injury, it is still something that should be avoided.

Which soccer player do you think fakes an injury the most?

Read More: Find out what a soccer shin guard is. Learn more with tips on how to wear soccer shin guards properly so that you can be as safe and comfortable as possible while playing your favorite sport.

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