The National Center for Sports Safety has important
information about the limitations of stretching in reducing injury.
Static stretching, in which a player lengthens a muscle and holds
that position for a set period of time, does not help avoid injuries and
can actually increase them. The exception is players who have flexibility problems such as
tight hamstrings. These players can benefit from static stretching, but
it should only be done on off-days and just after practices and games.
Pre-game preparation should include these activities to prepare the muscles:
Running patterns used in soccer - forward, backward, side shuffles, grapevines
Active soccer-specific movement patterns - kicking motion, lunges, hip rotations
More soccer specific activities - keep-away, shooting, long passes, etc.