Objectives This study compared the effects of three carbohydrate-hydration strategies on blood glucose concentration, exercise performance and hydration status throughout simulated soccer match-play. Design A randomized, double-blind and cross-over study design was employed. Methods After familiarization, 14 recreational soccer players completed the soccer match simulation on three separate occasions. Participants consumed equal volumes of 9.6% carbohydrate–caffeine–electrolyte (∼6 mg/kg BW caffeine) solution with carbohydrate–electrolyte gels (H-CHO), 5.6% carbohydrate–electrolyte solution with electrolyte gels (CHO) or electrolyte solution and electrolyte gels (PL). Blood samples were taken at rest, immediately before exercise and every 15 min during exercise (first half: 15, 30, 45 min; second half: 60, 75, 90 min). Results Supplementation influenced blood glucose concentration (time × treatment interaction: p <0.001); however, none of the supplementation regimes were effective in preventing a drop in blood glucose at 60 min. Mean sprint speed was 3 ± 1% faster in H-CHO when compared with PL (treatment: p = 0.047). Supplementation caused a 2.3 ± 0.5% increase in plasma osmolality in H-CHO (p <0.001) without change in CHO or PL. Similarly, mean sodium concentrations were 2.1 ± 0.4% higher in H-CHO when compared with PL (p = 0.006). Conclusions Combining high carbohydrate availability with caffeine resulted in improved sprint performance and elevated blood glucose concentrations throughout the first half and at 90 min of exercise; however, this supplementation strategy negatively influenced hydration status when compared with 5.6% carbohydrate–electrolyte and electrolyte solutions.