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Real-time physiological monitoring of athletes during sporting events has tremendous potential for maximizing player performance while preventing burn-out and injury, and also enabling exciting new applications such as referee-assist services and enhanced television broadcast. Emerging advanced monitoring devices have the right combination of light weight and unobtrusive size to allow truly non-intrusive monitoring during competition. However their small battery capacities, limited wireless ranges and susceptibility to body effects make real-time data extraction a challenge, particularly in sports with a large playing area. In this work we present the novel application of body area sensor networks to monitoring soccer players in a soccer field. We begin by outlining the challenges in experimental data collection and elaborate on the design choices we have made. Secondly, we show that the inherent characteristics of the operating environment lead to unacceptably high delays for direct transmissions from the players to the base stations. This leads to our third contribution, namely a multi-hop routing protocol that balances between the competing objectives of resource consumption and delay.