In a comparative study, involving untrained men, the soccer team created more new muscle and lost more weight than the joggers. The study ran for three months with participants in both groups working out 2 to 3 times a week for an hour. However, both groups showed significant improvements in blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and balance. Meaning...wait for it...exercise in general is a good thing.
Researchers believe the shifts between walking, running and sprinting caused the soccer players to experience health improvements. These changes in speed and intensity are very similar to interval training, which has been shown to increase the benefits of cardio workouts. Plus theses sudden changes in speed use both the quick and slow twitch muscle fibers, where jogging just works the slow fibers.
The major difference between the two groups was their opposing attitudes to their workouts -- Unlike the joggers who found their runs difficult, the soccer players enjoyed their practice.
Moral of the story: Playing on a team has multiple benefits. Focusing on your teammates (and winning) masks the physical effort. So what are you waiting for? Becks to be your coach? A girl can dream, but find a team near you and have fun on the field.