Soccer is a game for all ages. Whether your kids are playing for the first time or you’re a seasoned player with many years behind you, we can all enjoy this beautiful game.
While the most important item in soccer is the ball, you also have to have goals. The good news is, just about anything can act as a goal at either end of the pitch.
You don’t need professional goal posts and netting to enjoy a competitive game of soccer. Be honest. How many times have you played with a pile of jumpers or some trash cans making up the two goals?
Okay, maybe not these specific items but we’ve all used a variety of objects to make our goals.
However, the goals must be the correct dimensions. Alongside the official rules and regulations of soccer, there are requirements that go into the makeup of the goals. Probably the most important regulation is the dimensions of the soccer goals.
Getting this size is important to make the game as fair and official as possible. Even if you’re just having a kick around with some friends, knowing the exact dimensions will make you more prepared for an actual match.
What you may not know is that there are different official sizes when it comes to youth and adult soccer.
Today, we are going to guide you through these dimensions so you can set up your goals for a fun game of soccer right away.
Official soccer dimensions for youth
Firstly, we’re going to find out how far apart your goalposts (or stack of chairs) should be when playing youth soccer.
In general, the dimensions of the goals get smaller the younger the age group is. However, these measurements can vary in different areas of the world with the US and United Kingdom having slightly different regulations. We will discuss this further down.
Your local league can inform you of the soccer goal dimensions that are required in your state. Dimensions can often vary between different leagues as well as countries.
Most younger age groups tend to play with smaller teams. For instance, many play five-on-five or seven-on-seven games. This is in contrast to the regular eleven-a-side matches that teenagers and adults usually play.
Youth soccer goal dimensions in the United States
As we mentioned, soccer goal dimensions can vary from one country to the next. Focusing on the United States, US Youth Soccer suggests following the goal sizes used with youth soccer.
There is a range of age groups that come under the youth soccer bracket. These include 6U, 8U, 10U, and 12U. The U stands for “under”. Therefore, if your child is 7 years old, they will play for the under 8 team.
With 6U teams, US Soccer Youth recommends using goals that measure 4 feet in height and 6 feet in width. Also, this age group should play four-a-side or three-a-side games to help develop their skills with the ball.
8U goal sizes should remain the same as 6U games with four or five-a-side matches being played.
It’s not until you reach the 10U age group that the goal dimensions change. Here, the size increases to measuring either six feet by twelve feet or six feet by eighteen feet. The number of players on each team also increases to seven-a-side.
The goal dimensions increase again for the 12U category. The dimensions should be either six feet by eighteen feet or you can increase the width to twenty-one feet across. The majority of soccer leagues will let teams play with eight or eleven players at this stage.
Once players are over the age of twelve, the youths usually progress to playing full-size soccer games on standard-sized pitches with adult-sized goals.
That being said, let’s take a look at the goal dimensions for adult soccer.
Official soccer dimensions for adults
The regulations and overall rules of soccer are governed by the International Football Federation. You probably know this better as FIFA.
Because of these regulations, the laws and rules of the beautiful game remain equal for everyone who plays. This includes the size of the field of play and the exact dimensions of soccer goals.
For the adult game, soccer goal posts must be 2.44 meters in height with the crossbar being eight feet above the ground.
Measuring from one post to the other, it should be 7.32 meters in length. This is equal to twenty-four feet when considering the imperial system.
The posts and crossbar have to be the same width and depth. Furthermore, the goal line must match its width. This should not measure more than twelve centimeters in total.
Once you have these measurements in place, you can attach a net to the posts and crossbar to catch the ball. If you’re a goalkeeper, we hope you catch the ball before it hits the net!
It’s worth noting that the net must not get in the way of the goalkeeper. Of course, if you’re just playing casually, you may not have goalposts to attach a net. Just be prepared to retrieve the ball every so often.
If you’re playing in a league, then the goals must be:
- Made from wood or metal
- Round, square, or rectangular in shape
As long as the posts don’t pose any threat to the players and they follow the correct dimensions, you are ready for kick-off!
Don’t forget about the location of the goals too! Yes, the dimensions are critical but you must know where the goals go as well.
One goal must be located at opposite sides of the playing field in the middle of the goal lines. The goal line is generally drawn on with chalk and lies directly below the crossbar.
These dimensions and placements are applicable for all adult matches around the world. Unlike youth levels where goal dimensions differ from one league to another or in certain countries, adult matches are played with the same regulations throughout the world.
Youth soccer goal dimensions in the United Kingdom
As we mentioned, the goal sizes differ in various countries. The UK, which is the country of soccer’s origin, also has children’s age groups. It’s not until players reach the age of thirteen that they begin playing on full-size pitches.
Under thirteens play on small field sizes with much smaller goal dimensions. In the U7 and U8 leagues, children play five-a-side soccer.
This allows them to improve their soccer skills with the ball. The pitch is smaller at this age with goals measuring only six feet in height and twelve feet in width.
U9s and U10s continue to use these goal sizes but they play on larger pitches with seven-a-side matches.
It’s not until children reach the U11 and U12 age groups that the goals increase in size. At this point, goalposts should be seven feet in height with a width of sixteen feet.
The playing field also lengthens and widens at this age to accommodate the increase in team numbers to nine-a-side.
U13 and U14 age groups are when adult rules and dimensions make an appearance on the soccer field. Here, children begin to play eleven-a-side games while FIFA suggests using seven feet by twenty-one feet goal sizes.
If these measurements are not possible, adult-sized goals are permitted. Adult size goals measure eight by twenty-four feet and this is what is used from 15 years of age onwards around the world.
Whether you’re coaching a soccer league or playing casually with friends, having the right goal dimensions is important. It helps players develop their skills and techniques, especially those in the youth age groups.
Remember, always check with your local league for the exact regulations and requirements in your area. Dimensions can vary from one federation to the next so getting this right is critical.
While youth soccer goals vary in size throughout the world, the adult size of eight by twenty-four feet is in place everywhere so you can get playing right away.