The beautiful game. It’s unpredictable, exhilarating, and can bring communities together. And, you can play it just about anywhere. As long as you have a ball and a few people, you have yourself a game of soccer.
We’ve all played soccer in different locations from parking lots to back yards. But, have you ever measured the specific dimensions of a soccer field when casually playing with friends? If not, you may be surprised by the overall pitch length and width.
For official and league games, the field has to have specific field dimensions. Before the game begins, these should be marked out on the pitch. This can be done using a chalk outline or some kind of masking tape.
The International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA as you may know better, sets out the regulations for the length and width of a soccer pitch. Therefore, every official and league game must follow these guidelines.
These include the penalty area that is marked out with lines, the six-yard box, penalty spots, the center circle, the penalty arcs, and the halfway line where the game kicks off. If these are all correctly marked, you have yourself a game of soccer!
As you can imagine, some of the hardest work is put in before a soccer game even starts. Not only is getting the correct field dimensions difficult but it is vitally important.
If you have an official or league game coming up or just want to play with the proper dimensions, read on to find the correct soccer field dimensions.
We have included all you need to know for youth ages and adult soccer matches. That’s right, the dimensions can change through different age categories.
Let’s begin by looking at the field dimensions for adult soccer.
Soccer field dimensions for adults
The field dimensions for an adult soccer match are universal. The exact size of the playing area is set forth by FIFA, the official governing body of soccer.
As you probably know, soccer fields are rectangular in size with either a grass or artificial astroturf surface. They are also pretty big. That’s why soccer pitches are often used to give examples of how much land there is somewhere.
For instance, “the area covered over 14 soccer fields.” When you find out the dimensions below, you’ll realize this is a large area!
So, what are the exact dimensions of a soccer field? Well, FIFA’s regulations state that the field’s two touchlines that form the length of the pitch have to be between 90 and 120 meters long or 100 to 130 yards in length.
Both halves of the pitch must be the exact same length and width as each other. Therefore, the halfway line is just that. It must cross directly across the middle of the pitch in a horizontal manner.
In the middle of the halfway line is the center circle. This should measure 9.15 meters in radius and it’s where the ball is placed for kick-off.
Then there are the goal lines. This is where the goals are placed (you can find out about soccer goal dimensions in another of our articles). The goal lines must form the width of the pitch. They must be between 45 and 90 meters in length or 50 to 100 yards long.
Then we have the business end: the goal area or the six-yard box. This space is marked out on opposite ends of the pitch.
Two lines must be marked at a right angle. These extend into the pitch and are 5.5 meters away from either side of the goalposts. The lines must also measure 5.5 meters in length before being met with a closed-off line. This runs parallel to the actual goal line.
The penalty arc makes up the rest of the penalty box markings. This small semi-circle outline borders the edge of each penalty box. It lies outside the box with a radius of 9.15 meters from the penalty spot.
Even the markings themselves have precise dimensions. Each line must be the same width as each other and cannot measure more than 12 centimeters.
So, you may be thinking you can go out and experience what your favorite international soccer players do on the pitch. However, while the above dimensions are the correct sizes set out by FIFA, international games have even stricter requirements.
According to FIFA’s rules and regulations, the width of the pitch must be between 64 meters and 75 meters. Additionally, the length of the field has to be between 100 meters and 110 meters.
When considering the penalty box dimensions, the two goals must be located precisely in the middle of each of the two goal lines.
The penalty box is marked with a line around each of the goals on either end. This is where the goalkeepers can handle the ball legally. Outside the box and you have yourself a handball situation.
The line that makes this area must begin at 16.5 meters from each goalpost. This extends 16.5 meters into the soccer pitch at a right angle.
The penalty box is then enclosed within a marking that is drawn parallel to the goal line situated at the top of the box. This joins two lines encompassing the whole penalty box.
Then there is the penalty spot. This is located in both penalty boxes and is 11 meters in front of the goal. This has to be marked at the specific midpoint between both goalposts. It’s from this exact position where penalty kicks are taken and dreams are made or shattered.
These are the exact soccer field dimensions for adult games but the sizes differ for youth soccer matches. Let’s take a look at these differences below.
Soccer field dimensions for youth games
While you may wonder why soccer field dimensions are different for younger players to adults, there are some very good reasons.
On the whole, youth soccer players play on smaller pitches because it helps them develop their skills and hone their techniques. The smaller play area means the children don’t spend the whole game running around a large open space without ever touching the ball.
Unlike adult soccer regulations where the size requirements are set in stone, youth soccer leagues have variations to the dimensions. This is mostly seen in the lower ages groups where the number of players on each team can also vary.
Here are the field dimensions for different age groups, as set out by the Football Association (FA) in the United Kingdom.
- U7 and U8 - Most often, children of this age group play five-a-side soccer matches. As you can imagine, a full-sized soccer pitch would be far too large for these little legs. Therefore, the pitches are much smaller and should measure 37 meters (L) x 27 meters (W).
- U9 and U10 - As a child’s age advances, so does the number of players on a team. At this age, the players start to play seven-a-side games. The FA suggests that soccer fields should measure 55 meters x 37 meters. A considerable difference to the U7 and U8 games.
- U11 and U12 - Yet again, the pitches get larger as the children grow bigger as well as the number of players on each team. U11s and U12s generally play nine-a-side games. The touchlines should measure 73 meters in length while the goal lines should measure a distance across 46 meters.
- U13 and U14 - This is when players usually progress to playing with eleven on each side. The FA recommends that the pitches measure 82 meters x 50 meters at this point.
- U15 and U16 - At this age group, the soccer field dimensions increase again to 91 meters x 55 meters. Once a player is older than 16, they should progress to playing on full-sized adult pitches measuring 90 to 120 meters in length and 45 to 90 meters in width.