There are eleven players on the field for a team during a professional soccer game. With two teams on the field playing against each other, the total number of players on the soccer field is twenty-two. The mix of ten outfield players on a team includes offensive and defensive positions. The eleventh person on every team is the goalkeeper. In addition to that, professional teams can have a max of 23 eligible players on their team.
So how many players tend to play on the offensive and defensive side of the ball during a game? How many soccer (football) players make up a typical team? Do High School and College Soccer leagues also use eleven players, or do they play with fewer? Does the soccer pitch size determine the number of players on the field?
Here is the complete breakdown of the popular sport of soccer and how many players are on a team during a game.
What is the Breakdown of Eleven Players on the Field for a Professional Soccer (Football) Match?
Whether you are in the English Premier League, Major League Soccer, La Liga, or another professional league, you need to strategize what players should play certain positions during a game. Since a goalie is one of the eleven players on a field, a soccer coach has ten other roles to fill. Here is a breakdown of what soccer coaches can do to fill the ten different soccer positions.
The Defensive Alignment Strategy
Out of the eleven players on the field of play during a game, some will primarily play defensive roles for their team. Outside of the goalkeeper, who is the only player allowed to use their hands to protect the goal, most teams have five additional players play defensive positions in the outfield.
The center back plays in front of the goalkeeper and is the last line of defense in the outfield. Next, you have two fullbacks, which flank the edges of the field from where the center back plays. Finally, the defensive midfielder plays towards the middle of the area and works to protect the center back by being their team’s first line of defense.
The Offensive Alignment Strategy
Teams tend to play five offensive players during a soccer match. Starting towards the center of the soccer pitch is the attacking midfielder. The attacking midfielder helps bring the offensive drive towards the goal and pass the ball to the two wingers playing on the edge of the pitch.
Teams have two wingers, which help drive the soccer ball up the field due to their speed. They can either receive the soccer ball from a defender or get the ball from an attacking midfielder if they want to set up an offensive drive.
The forward is the striker on the team, and their role is to score goals for their team. The forward striker sits closest to their opponent’s goal, which means they are in an excellent position to take high percentage shots against a goalkeeper.
How Many Players are on a Professional Soccer (Football) Team?
Since the FIFA Laws of the Game (Law 3) set the maximum number of players at eleven during a match, with one being a goalkeeper, teams need to carry additional players for substitutions. The minimum number of players on a professional team is 14, and the maximum is 23. However, soccer coaches can determine the number of substitutions they want to make during a game and don’t need to use everyone on the bench.
Also, competition rules specify that a team must recognize the number of players available for substitution during a match. The competition rules state this because you can only bring players off the bench onto the pitch once they have been recognized as part of your squad by the referee. Identifying players before a game allows both sides to build a strategy against them just in case they enter a game.
How Many Players Play in the World Cup / MLS Cup?
Each team has eleven players to play a game, from friendly matches to the World Cup.
How Many Players Play in a Soccer Friendly Match?
Friendly soccer matches allow more substituted players to go in and out of the game than a regular-season or World Cup play. Since the friendly match does not count for wins or stats, more substituted players join the action to play in front of fans and allow some superstars to rest during the game. However, there are always eleven players on each side during a match.
Why Do Soccer Teams want to Carry More Players Than Eleven?
Teams tend to carry extra bench players for a few reasons outside of substituting them for rest during the game. First, a player who receives a yellow card during a match might get replaced because the coach might see them as a disadvantage on the pitch. For instance, getting a yellow card might make that player play more passive, so they don’t receive a second yellow card, which then goes to an automatic red card, and they have to leave the game.
Second, some players might start playing poorly during a game, so that the coach will substitute them for a different player. The coach can move that struggling player out during the game or sit on the bench for the next round.
Third, injuries occur during soccer (football) games. If an injury occurs between players, the coach will need to replace them with substituting players, assuming they have not hit the maximum number of substitutions during the game. If the team already used the maximum number of timeouts and a player gets injured, the team plays with one less player for the remainder of the match.
How Many Subsitutions Does a Soccer Team Get During a Game?
Professional soccer games allow substitutions to be at three during a game. However, during the 2020 season, that number went up to five due to the Covid-19.
The Premier League decided to keep the max number of substitutions at three during this period.
How Many Payers are on a Women’s Professional Soccer Team During a Game?
There are eleven soccer players on a women’s professional soccer team during a game. Women soccer plays on the same size soccer field as men, so they play with the same number of players.
How Many Players on a College Soccer Team?
A college soccer team (both men and women) has eleven soccer players on the pitch during gameday. The size of a college soccer field matches what FIFA regulates for their size.
How Many Players on a High School Soccer Team?
High School Soccer Teams (men and women) have eleven players who play on the field during a game.
How Many Players are on a Youth Soccer Team?
Youth soccer leagues tend to have fewer players than what you will find in high school, college, or professional soccer leagues.
Since the kids are smaller, the field is smaller, which means there is less room for players. Depending on the age of the youth league, teams will hover around 6-9 players to play a game. The minimum number of players on a youth soccer team must be seven.
If a youth team has fewer players than seven on that game, most games will move players from one team to the other. Since this is a youth league, the rules are relaxed and set to allow players to play the game without injuring or overworking certain players on matchdays.
Conclusion: How Many Players are on a Soccer Team?
In summary, the rules of soccer state that a professional soccer team has eleven players on the field during a game. The eleven players mix one goalie and ten players between offense and defense.
In addition to having eleven players on each side during the match, teams are given three substitutions, so teams carry a max of 23 players to the game. Substitutions can occur for numerous reasons, so having a team on the bench that can fill in for an injury or give another player a rest is critical.
Finally, youth soccer leagues will have less than eleven players since the pitch is smaller than other leagues. However, high school, college, and pros will always have eleven players on a team play during gameday.