Stamina is an integral part of soccer performance. A standard match lasts 90 minutes, and cup games can have 30 minutes of overtime, so to compete at any level, you need to be incredibly fit. While you may be inclined to perform long, steady-state runs to improve your endurance, this isn't the best method, and it has fallen out of favor with most coaches. During a game, you constantly move at different speeds, so you need to train with different drills to build your stamina at all levels.
Sprint endurance is one of the key aspects of a soccer match. During a game, you'll frequently have to sprint short distances at full speed to reach a loose ball or make a tackle. Set two cones 30 meters apart. On a "go" command, sprint as fast as you can between the cones, and have someone time you. Once you pass the finish line, jog steadily back to the start line. Repeat this seven times, with 25 seconds' rest between sprints. Record your fastest time, and note the drop-off in speed between your fastest and slowest times; use these as markers to improve on.
Speed Endurance Runs
Speed endurance runs condition you for moving over a variety of distances, as you'd have to do in a game. Place cones 20 yards apart and sprint between them. Walk or jog steadily back to the start, and repeat five times. Take two minutes' rest, then change the distance between the cones to 30 yards, and sprint between them twice. Take another two-minute rest, then move them 40 yards apart, and do another two sprints. Finally, perform one 50-yard sprint.
Weights-based circuit training is an effective method of increasing stamina; it also boosts strength, which is vital with the increasingly physical nature of the modern game. A traditional circuit for soccer includes 10 to 20 stations, at which exercises are performed for around one minute each. The circuit should work your whole body, and include a combination of muscular endurance exercises, such as body-weight squats, pushups and lunges, along with cardio-based ones such as skipping, sprints and burpees; and plyometrics such as box jumps and medicine ball throws.
Fartlek is a more random version of speed endurance runs. There is no real structure to it, but the key is to keep moving for a sustained duration, changing your pace as needed. Your speed should vary between a fast walk, an all-out sprint and everything in between. The randomness of Fartlek represents the changing paces you'll experience in a match.
This drill involves the use of a soccer ball, so combines stamina training with ball control and possession skills. Split players into groups of five -- two attackers, two defenders and one player who wears a vest and is always on the team in possession of the ball. In an area 12 by 15 yards, the attackers start with the ball and aim to keep it for as long as possible while passing and moving around the area. If the defenders steal the ball or it goes out of play, possession changes hands. Rotate who the free player is, because this role is very tiring.