Soil is a complex system where biotic (e.g., plant roots, micro-organisms) and abiotic (e.g., mineral surfaces) consumers compete for resources necessary for life (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus). This competition is ecologically significant, since it regulates the dynamics of soil nutrients and controls aboveground plant productivity. Here we develop, calibrate, and test a nutrient competition model that accounts for multiple soil nutrients interacting with multiple biotic and abiotic consumers. As applied here for tropical forests, the Nutrient COMpetition model (N-COM) includes three primary soil nutrients (NH4+, NO3−, and POx (representing the sum of PO43−, HPO42−, and H2PO4−)) and five potential competitors (plant roots, decomposing microbes, nitrifiers, denitrifiers, and mineral surfaces). The competition is formulated with a quasi-steady-state chemical equilibrium approximation to account for substrate (multiple substrates share one consumer) and consumer (multiple consumers compete for one substrate) effects. N-COM successfully reproduced observed soil heterotrophic respiration, N2O emissions, free phosphorus, sorbed phosphorus, and free NH4+ at a tropical forest site (Tapajos). The overall model posterior uncertainty was moderately well constrained. Our sensitivity analysis revealed that soil nutrient competition was primarily regulated by consumer-substrate affinity rather than environmental factors such as soil temperature or soil moisture. Our results imply that the competitiveness (from most to least competitive) followed this order: (1) for NH4+, nitrifiers ~ decomposing microbes 〉 plant roots, (2) for NO3−, denitrifiers ~ decomposing microbes 〉 plant roots, (3) for POx, mineral surfaces 〉 decomposing microbes ~ plant roots. Although smaller, plant relative competitiveness is of the same order of magnitude as microbes. We then applied the N-COM model to analyze field nitrogen and phosphorus perturbation experiments in two tropical forest sites (in Hawaii and Puerto Rico) not used in model development or calibration. Under soil inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus elevated conditions, the model accurately replicated the experimentally observed competition among different nutrient consumers. Although we used as many observations as we could obtain, more nutrient addition experiments in tropical systems would greatly benefit model testing and calibration. In summary, the N-COM model provides an ecologically consistent representation of nutrient competition appropriate for land BGC models integrated in Earth System Models.