Soccer fields are some of the biggest playing surfaces in professional sports. However, one thing that makes them unique is that they often vary depending on who and where a game occurs. The different sizes of soccer fields may confuse new soccer fans. Here is a short breakdown of the various dimensions of soccer fields in professional and developmental soccer leagues.
What Are the Soccer Field Dimensions?
Soccer is one of the unique sports that allows some variation in the size of the playing surface between different venues. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game stipulate that the dimensions of a soccer field can be as small as 50 yards by 100 yards and as large as 100 yards by 130 yards. Professional soccer pitches are larger than NFL football fields.
In soccer, the lines that run the field’s length are touchlines. The lines at the end of each field are called goal lines. In the four corners where the touchlines and goal lines meet, soccer rules state there must be a corner flag placed to identify the boundaries of the field of play.
How Tall is the Corner Flag?
The corner flag must be no shorter than 1.5 meters or five feet tall. A corner arc is a one yard drawing around the corner flags, connecting each boundary line. This quarter circle is the location from where players take corner kicks.
What is the Playing Surface Material?
The Laws of the Game state that the playing surface can change between venues. Some locations have a natural grass, while others have artificial turf. While the size and makeup of the field of play can vary between locations, soccer rules mandate the size of many distinct features on a football field need to be the same. These distinct features include the corner area and flags, the penalty area, and even the goal line.
How Big is the Goal Area?
The Laws of the Game have specific rules that apply to the goal area. Goalposts are eight yards apart, with a crossbar eight feet above the ground. Experts usually refer to the eight feet between each goalpost as the “goal line.”
However, the Laws of the Game define the “goal line” as the two short sides of the soccer field. As a result, most people colloquially call the excess space on either side of the goal line the “byline.”
Thanks to its consistent goalpost measurements, the goal area is the “six-yard box” thanks to its consistent goalpost measurements. It extends six yards on either side of the goal and six yards in front of the goal line. This goal area means a measurement that’s 20 yards by 6 yards.
How Big is the Penalty Area?
The penalty area similarly extends from the goalposts and is often called “the 18-yard box.” It’s formed by measuring 18 yards from each goalpost and 18 yards from the goal line. That means that the entire penalty area measures 44 yards by 18 yards.
Inside the penalty area, there are a few more standardized features. This penalty area includes the penalty mark, 12 yards from the center of the goal, and the penalty arc, representing a 10-yard circle carved around the penalty spot. The penalty arc dictates the closest that teammates and opposing players can take to an attacker attempting a kick when taking a penalty kick.
Standardized Field Markings
The goal and penalty boxes aren’t the only standardized markings on a soccer field. A halfway line usually denotes the middle of the field. This line is treated much like the 50-yard line on an American football field.
Each end of the halfway line can be marked by a flag, much like the corners of the field. These flag posts must be shorter than the corner flags and can only be 1 yard tall.
In the middle of the field, there is a center mark between the touchlines, which is where teams will kick off to start a game. The center circle is a 10-yard line around the center mark. Only one player from each team can enter the center circle during the kick-off.
Are Soccer (Football) Fields Standardized for International Play?
To make sure that national teams have a consistent experience and advantage when playing international matches, FIFA, the governing body of international football, standardizes the size of the soccer pitch. Fields must be between 110 and 120 yards long and 70 to 80 yards wide.
This rule most often refers to international tournaments like the World Cup or Olympics and impacts all international play levels. While this ruleset has some variability or flexibility, keeping the pitch size consistent ensures that no team has an advantage.
How Big is the Field in Youth Soccer?
The governing body of youth soccer allows the playing field to adapt to different children’s age. That’s because young children can’t cover an enormous distance when they’re small. For example, a youth soccer field for children six years old and younger play on an area between 25 and 35 feet long and 15 to 25 feet wide.
How Big is the Soccer Field for High School?
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) mandates the size of high school soccer fields. It states that the size of a soccer field should be between 100 and 120 yards long and between 55 and 80 yards wide. This playing field is slightly smaller than most professional soccer fields, allowing students to grow strong and adapt to the college or professional game.
This site also benefits many high school programs because a standard football field is 120 yards, including the end zones.
Conclusion: How Big is a Soccer Field
Soccer (football) is a rare sport that allows for a variable pitch size between locations. While the width of the field can vary, certain parts of the area, like the goal size, need to stay the same. These consistencies help limit some soccer players’ home-field advantage while still keeping the game recognizable for fans.