There are other tests out there, but all are variations on these themes: lab test, timed distance run, beep tests.
I favor the intermittent beep test for a couple of reasons:
- It is soccer-specific running. Run for a distance (20 meters) change direction, run again (20 meters), then a brief rest.
- Other tests correlate better with VO2 max (like the 12-minute run and continuous beep), but this correlates with what is important to the coach: how far the player runs during the game.
Circumstances had a series of soccer players tested using the continuous beep test one day. About two weeks later, a subset of the first group was tested using the intermittent beep test. Using the continuous beep test, the goalkeepers were very close or even equal to the field players in total distance run. When tested using the intermittent beep test, the field players outran the goalkeepers by over 25 percent, which makes more intuitive sense for soccer.
Back to the question: How much endurance is needed? Using the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (its formal name), high school girls should be approaching 700+ meters and college should be near or over 1,000 meters.
National level women are typically 1,500 meters or higher and some exceptional players are over 2,000 meters. High school boys should be close to 1,000 meters, with national-level boys in the 1,500- to 2,000-plus-meter area.
These are all level 1 tests (slower start and slower progression). World-class adult men should be around 900 to 1,000 meters or more on the level 2 test (a faster start and much faster progression).