The aim of this study was to examine the effect of intermittent high-intensity shuttle running and fluid ingestion on the performance of a soccer skill. Nine semi-professional soccer players volunteered to participate in the study. Their mean (+/- s(x)) age, body mass and maximal oxygen uptake were 20.2+/-0.4 years, 73.2+/-1.8 kg and 59.1+/-1.3 ml x kg(-1) min(-1) respectively. The players were allocated to two randomly assigned trials: ingesting or abstaining from fluid intake during a 90 min intermittent exercise protocol (Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test: LIST). This test was designed to simulate the minimum physical demands faced by soccer players during a game. Before and immediately after performance of the test, the players completed a soccer skill test and a mental concentration test. Performance of the soccer skill test after the 'no-fluid' trial deteriorated by 5% (P<0.05), but was maintained during the fluid trial. Mean heart rate, perceived exertion, serum aldosterone, osmolality, sodium and cortisol responses during the test were higher (P<0.05) in the 'no-fluid' trial than in the fluid trial. The results of this study suggest that soccer players should consume fluid throughout a game to help prevent a deterioration in skill performance.