Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with around four billion estimated fans. That’s a large chunk of the planet! As such, there’s a lot of it going on.
Across the globe, loads of different countries and continents all have their own soccer games and tournaments going on – so much so that there’s unlikely to ever be a time of day where soccer isn’t being played somewhere!
But if you’re a fan, keeping on top of it all can be very difficult. There are so many different teams and events to keep track of that it can become overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve come to help! Below, you’ll find out all the information you could possibly need about the soccer seasons around the world, from their start and end dates, to the amount of matches they’re likely to be playing.
When Is Soccer Season In America?
Though it may not be the country’s most popular sport, there is a lot of soccer played in America.
This is across lots of different divisions and age groups, resulting in a handful of different seasons running across certain points of every year.
March is traditionally a time for seasons starting, in some form or another.
The MLS (Major League Soccer, America’s male professional soccer league) and the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League, self-explanatory!) tend to begin their season around this time.
Interestingly, both divide their league into an Eastern and a Western conference, with teams sorted by their geographical location – that’s what happens when you’ve got a country as big as America!
On the youth side of things, the youngest teams will return from their break and enter the Spring order of their games, while the slightly older school teams will begin properly now.
When it comes to the next step of youth, college, it isn’t so. Rather they play uncompetitively or spend their time practicing.
When the hot summer comes, the MLS and NWSL are continuing their matches, getting increasingly through the various divisions and tournament levels.
Just as they’re in the thick of it, the youth leagues will be coming to their end and deciding winners. As for college? They’ll be competing in a semi-professional manner.
Between August and December is when things start wrapping up for the MLS and the NWSL.
The MLS tend to begin their play-offs (the final rounds) in November, playing their final match in December.
For the NWSL it tends to vary: sometimes they play all their finals in September, sometimes October, or sometimes November!
All in all, by the end of the season, each MLS team will have played 34 matches – half at home and half away.
Last year a massive 459 total matches were played! For the NWSL, each team will have played 22 regular games, before those who made it to the play-offs complete some more.
As for younger teams, schools will have a bunch of programs at this time of the year. For college teams, however, they tend to have their entire short season in this period.
The primary one is within the NCAA (the National Collegiate Athletic Association, founded by Theodore Roosevelt of all people!).
It often runs just a couple of months, wrapping up at the end of the year.
When the winter arrives, soccer across the board tends to relax a bit, running no proper seasons or tournaments.
I suppose it can be chilly! Players use the time to practice their skills, training up for the next season ahead.
As you can see, soccer is played at all points of the year, in some form or another.
Whether it’s just training, or a full on season tournament, American soccer players are going to be getting their exercise throughout the entire year.
Obviously, this can drastically change the weather conditions. In Summer, the soccer players may be sweltering, whereas in Winter they might be freezing completely!
For this reason, that is probably why the soccer season itself tends to wind down when it comes to the coldest time of the year.
It wouldn’t be doing any team any favors if they were shivering – and the cold fans wouldn’t be happy either!
How Many Games In An American Soccer Season?
As you’ve seen, all the various American soccer seasons tend to run in different ways and across different dates.
Whether it’s adult leagues, men or women, or younger players, all vary the length and time of the seasons.
On a similar note, they also have different amounts of matches that are played in each season! We’re going to break down how many games each team competing in a season is likely to play.
For the youngest tournaments, a team of kids is likely to play between 16 and 20 matches each across their season.
As they get older, the games actually get fewer! A high school team will play somewhere between 8 and 12 soccer matches.
At a higher-education level, a college team should play around 16 matches.
MLS (Major League Soccer)
As we’ve said before, a Major League Soccer team is going to play 24 games in total across the annual season.
17 of these are at their home stadium, and the other 17 are played away at the pitches of their rival soccer teams.
NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League)
Also as noted before, the women’s soccer teams are likely to play around 22 regular games per season.
Whichever teams succeed through into the play-offs and the final are going to be playing a few more on top of that, though.
How Long Is An American Soccer Season?
Given how long a match is (90 minutes), how many teams there are, and how many games there are to get through…understandably, American soccer seasons can last a very long time!
The professional leagues particularly can span months alone. As before, though, it really varies between all different types of league.
So below, find out all about the lengths of different seasons!
The youngest soccer teams surprisingly don’t have the shortest seasons, considering that the players are very young and should probably work less! However, that is taken into account.
Though the youth soccer season does take 16 weeks in total, it is split in half, likely to make it more manageable for the young players.
8 weeks of matches take place in Spring, while the final 8 weeks take place in the Fall, leaving Summer between them for training and less-competitive play.
A season for high school soccer teams will take the length of just one of those youth halves! At just 8 weeks long, these players perform all their games across two months – by far the shortest soccer season in America.
When you get to college level, a season lasts 12 weeks – 3 months. This is always at the end of the year, finishing on a high.
MLS (Major League Soccer)
The MLS has an awful lot of matches to play across the year, and as such their season is the longest season out of all American soccer leagues.
Lasting 34 weeks, it takes up a large chunk of the year, but this is always going to be the case when there are traditionally around 400 matches or more played.
NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League)
The NWSL is the second longest American season, which is understandable because it’s a full professional adult league.
Lasting 24 weeks, it sees a whole host of soccer matches played by the American women’s teams.
When Does The MLS Season Start This Year?
As you may have guessed from the information earlier, the Major League Soccer season starts early in the year.
Their 2022 season began on February 26th, where soccer teams started to compete against each other in the regular matches.
The regular season should finish on October 9th, where play-offs will then take place, and the MLS Cup Final should happen on November 5th.
This final takes place just 16 days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup begins – a once every four years tournament, and the largest soccer competition in the world!
As always, the teams across America will be divided into two different categories: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
This depends on their location. For example, the New York Red Bulls will play in the Eastern, while Nashville SC will play in the Western.
It isn’t exclusively America that plays in the MLS, though, because the country’s neighbor Canada also has a small role. 3 Canadian teams compete in the league, such as the CF Montréal.
When Does The NWSL Season Start This Year?
The seasons for the National Women’s Soccer League starts a little later than the MLS does in 2022.
The league also isn’t quite as old as the MLS, the NWSL being founded in 2012, while the male counterpart was founded in 1993.
Beginning on April 29th, the 2022 NWSL season will be the league’s 10th annual competition. It will come to a close on October 29th, lasting exactly 6 months.
As always, there will be a series of play-off matches before the end, increasingly eliminating the soccer teams until the final match where one team will be crowned victorious.
Like the MLS, the NWSL season is also split into divisions – although more of them.
Similar to the MLS, it has an East and West Division for the different teams, but also includes a Central Division for good measure.
This breaks up all the teams nicely into more manageable groupings.
When Do The Youth Soccer Seasons Start In America?
Soccer seasons for the young tend to have a range of different starting times, and there is no official overall season for youth.
As we’ve mentioned before, the youth season is split into two parts, each with 8 weeks of games.
One section takes place in Spring and usually continues until May, while the other section takes place around the Fall and ends in November.
Though the Summer in between can be a time left for casual training and friendly matches, some young teams may succeed into National or Regional Cups that are special to their state or city.
These are played in this in-between period, so there isn’t as much rest for those teams!
A focused soccer team for middle schools in America is very rare. They are few and far between, with any keen young soccer fans probably just playing in the more general youth leagues to get their fix.
If a middle school does have a team, it could play at any time and for any length – since it’s uncommon and there are no rules, a middle school may do it however they see fit!
High school teams are much more common. We’ve mentioned already that they tend to have a season last 8 weeks, but when this season begins and ends can really vary.
Some might start in the later half of the year, while others might have their season already completed by May.
It really depends on the school. However, the length is likely to remain the same at least.
When Is Soccer Season In Europe?
Soccer is arguably more popular in Europe than in America, probably because the game was invented in Britain.
As a result, there is a lot more soccer going on. It is also because Europe is a large grouping of countries, all with their own way of doing things! America is not the same.
With many different countries comes many different individual professional tournaments.
There is a great range of different soccer seasons that happen in Europe every year, with around a 45 week long season going along – that’s just 7 weeks short of a full year!
Safe to say, there’s a lot of soccer in the continent of Europe.
Most countries have their own leagues going on, all with different start and end dates.
And we’re going to break it all down for you!
Premier League – England
The birthplace of soccer takes the game very seriously, and it is the most popular sport there by far.
The most important tournament in England is known as the Premier League, and involves 20 soccer clubs competing against each other.
The team Manchester United has won its famous cup the most, earning it 13 times – quite a lot considering that the league’s only been running for 30 years!
The Premier League often begins in August, towards the end of the year, and runs until May the next year. This means that it runs for around 9 months total.
Every year, 380 matches are played between all the teams, and there tend to be about a 1000 goals scored across all the games.
Serie A – Italy
The top Italian soccer league is known as Serie A, and was founded as long as 124 years ago. Just like the English Premier League, 20 soccer teams compete for the grand prize.
Also exactly the same is the amount of total games that are played, which is an even 380 soccer matches.
Similar too is the date range of the Serie A, which runs from August to May the following year. The team Juventus has won the league the most, with an astonishing 36 total wins.
La Liga – Spain
The most important Spanish soccer league is known as La Liga, and has been going since 1929. Like the others, it involves 20 soccer teams, and a total of 380 total soccer games played.
La Liga runs between August and May.
Bundesliga – Germany
The German top soccer league is known as Bundesliga. Running since 1963, it involves slightly fewer teams than the other European leagues, with 18 soccer teams competing.
Bayern Munich is the team with the most wins, having succeeded a total of 30 times. 306 matches are played each league.
Like the other European soccer leagues mentioned before, Bundesliga runs about 9 months – between August and May of the next year.
Ligue 1 – France
The French soccer league involves 20 teams, but will be dropping to 18 from 2023-2024. 380 matches are typically played.
Like the others listed before, it also runs from August to May of the following year.
Eliteserien – Norway
The Norwegian professional soccer league is different to the others in a few ways. Firstly, it has 16 teams, the least of them all.
This means just 240 matches are played across the season.
And that season? Unlike all the others, it runs from April to November.
Running 7 months, it’s the only European league to start early in the year – just as the others are about to finish!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Has Won The Most MLS Cups?
The LA Galaxy team has won the most, with 5 wins.
Who Has Won The Most NWSL Shields?
The top prize of the NWSL is the Shield, which has been won the most by the North Carolina Courage team. They’ve won it 3 times, a third of the total competitions there have been!
Who Has Scored The Most MLS Goals Ever?
Soccer player Chris Wondolowski has scored the most with a total of 171 goals, all achieved since he began playing in 2005.
As you have seen, there are a huge amount of different soccer seasons going on all over the world every year.
There’s a reason soccer is the most popular sport on the planet! America has two main professional leagues of its own, each with their own different running dates and rules.
When it comes to their youth team, things become even more varied, and there’s little official way to run things.
In Europe, the home of soccer, there are countless different professional leagues from all the different European countries.
However, most of them all run around the same period – which makes it less confusing to keep up, but much harder to see every game!
There’s never been more soccer to watch than there is now, and there’s always a game going on somewhere.
With the help of this guide, you can stay informed and up to date on all the latest with the sport!