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How Big is a Soccer Field?


soccer field size and dimensions post header image of soccer field

Many people are interested in knowing how big a soccer field is. I remember when I first found out I was surprised at all the requirements of the size and dimensions that a soccer field must comply with. I wanted to share this information with you to help you understand and appreciate the space in which soccer is played.

So, how big is a soccer field?

According to the laws of soccer, the size of a soccer field must be between 100-130 yards (90-120 meters) long by 50-100 yards (45–90 meters) wide. In an international game, the size of the field must be between 110-120 yards (100-110 m) long by 70-80 yards (64-75 m) wide. [source]

You may be here because you have a role in creating a soccer field or you may just be a fan who is interested in this area of soccer and just wants to know how big a soccer field is. Either way, this post should answer all your questions when it comes to the size and dimensions of a soccer field.

Size and dimensions of a soccer field

picture of soccer field with all the dimensions marked
Measurements of the markings on a soccer field

When it comes to the dimensions, size, or markings on a soccer field there are specific criteria that every field or stadium has to comply with.

For instance:

The length of a soccer field must always be 100-130 yards (90-120 meters) long at both national and international level.

As you can see in the image above everything from the width of the field to the radius of the corner arc is clearly laid out to help everyone understand what the size and dimension requirements are on a soccer field.

In the rest of this post we’ll go into more detail about the measurements for each individual area of the field and explain everything you need to know.

Official dimensions for a soccer field

This table below lays out the requirements for the dimensions of the field and clearly shows how big a soccer field is.

YardsMeters
Maximum Width10090
Maximum Length130120
Minimum Width5045
Minimum Length10090
Information taken from the official Laws of the Game of soccer

In the above table, measurements are from the outside of the lines as the lines are part of the area they enclose. The touchline must also be longer than the goal line.

This means a soccer field is larger than a football field and if you’re interested in comparing the size of a soccer field to the size of a football field click here to go to my article comparing the two fields in detail.

Dimensions for a soccer field in international games

For international games, the requirements are similar but slightly different. This table below will show you what the maximum and minimum lengths and widths should be for and international game.

YardsMeters
Maximum Width8075
Maximum Length120110
Minimum Width7064
Minimum Length110100
Length and width of an international soccer field

In the above table, measurements are from the outside of the lines as the lines are part of the area they enclose. The touchline must also be longer than the goal line.

Each individual competition can determine the length of the goal line and touchline within the above dimensions that are set out for them. You will often find that different games are played on slightly different sized fields even in the same competition. This is because even within a competition’s guidelines there can be some variations.

Field markings

soccer field markings

The only markings allowed on the field are the specific markings described in these rules and shown in the graphic above. The markings are used as boundaries to clearly define where on the field the ball or the player is.

It is a requirement that the field of play must be rectangular and marked with continuous lines which must not be dangerous.

It is acceptable to use artificial playing surface material for the field markings on natural fields as long as it is not dangerous.

The two longer boundary lines are referred to as the touchlines. The two shorter lines are called the goal lines.

The field of play is divided into two halves by a halfway line, which joins the midpoints of the two touchlines.

The mark in the center of the field is at the midpoint of the halfway line and a circle with a radius of 10 yds (9.15 m) is marked around it. At kick-off, at the beginning of each half or at a restart after a goal has been scored, the opposing team must stay outside of this circle until the ball has been kicked.

Marks may be made off the field of play 10 yds (9.15 m) from the corner arc at right angles to the goal lines and the touchlines. This is to show the distance the opposing team must stay away from the ball at a corner kick.

All lines must be of the same width, which must not be more than 5 inches (12 cm) and the goal lines must be of the same width as the goalposts and the crossbar.

Where artificial surfaces are used, other lines are permitted provided they are a different color and clearly distinguishable from the football lines.

A player who makes unauthorized marks on the field of play must be cautioned for unsporting behavior. If the referee notices this being done during the match, the player is cautioned when the ball next goes out of play.

The goal area

When you look at a soccer field you will see two rectangular boxes around the goals. The smaller of the two boxes is called the goal area.

To determine the size of the goal area two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, 6 yds(5.5m) from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for 6 yds (5.5m) and are connected by a line drawn parallel with the goal line.

These measurements are why you may sometimes hear the goal area referred to as the “6-yard box”.

The penalty area

penalty area markings

The larger rectangular box surrounding the goal is referred to as the penalty area.

To determine the size of the penalty area two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line 18 yards (16.5m) from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for 18 yds (16.5 m) and are connected by a line drawn parallel with the goal line.

These measurements are why you may sometimes hear the penalty box referred to as the “18-yard box”.

Within each penalty area, a penalty mark is made 12 yds (11m) from the midpoint between the goalposts. The penalty mark is measured from the center of the mark to the back edge of the goal line.

An arc of a circle with a radius of 10 yds (9.15 m) from the center of each penalty mark is drawn outside the penalty area.

Corner area

corner arc

The corner area is defined by a quarter circle with a radius of 1 yard (1 m) from each corner flagpost drawn inside the field of play

Flagposts

corner flag and arc

A flag must be placed at each corner of the soccer field. It should be at least 5 ft (1.5 m) high and it must have a non-pointed top.

There is the option of placing a flagpost at each end of the halfway line. This is not a requirement and can be done if desired. If a flagpost is placed at the end of the halfway line then it must be at least 1 yard (1 m) outside the touchline.

The technical area

Not every soccer field will have a technical area. Only stadiums or fields where there is a designated seated area for team officials, substitutes and substituted players will there be a need for a technical area.

When it comes to the technical area certain rules apply. They are as follows.

  1. The technical area should only extend 1 yard (1 m) on either side of the designated seated area and up to a distance of 1 yard (1 m) from the touchline
  2. Markings should be used to define the area
  3. The number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is defined by the competition rules
  4. The occupants of the technical area are identified before the start of the match in accordance with the competition rules
  5. The occupants of the technical area must behave in a responsible manner
  6. The occupants of the technical area must remain within its confines except in special circumstances, e.g. a physiotherapist/doctor entering the field of play, with the referee’s permission, to assess an injured player
  7. Only one person at a time is authorized to convey tactical instructions from the technical area

Goals

soccer goal posts and net

When it comes to the goals on the field of play there are also specific rules that have to be followed.

  • A goal must be placed on the center of each goal line.
  • A goal consists of two vertical posts equidistant from the corner flagposts and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.
  • The goalposts and crossbar must be made of approved material. They must be square, rectangular, round or elliptical in shape and must not be dangerous.
  • The distance between the inside of the posts is 8 yards (7.32 m) and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 8 ft (2.44 m).
  • The position of the goalposts in relation to the goal line must be in accordance with the set guidelines which show that the goal post must be 6 yds(5.5m) from the nearest goal area line and 18 yds (16.5 m) from the nearest penalty area line.
  • The goalposts and the crossbar must be white and have the same width and depth, which must not exceed 5 ins (12 cm).
  • If the crossbar becomes displaced or broken, play is stopped until it has been repaired or replaced in position. If it can not be repaired the match must be abandoned. A rope or any flexible or dangerous material may not replace the crossbar. Play is restarted with a dropped ball.
  • Nets may be attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal; they must be properly supported and must not interfere with the goalkeeper.
  • Safety Goals (including portable goals) must be firmly secured to the ground.

Field surface

When it comes to the field surface that the game will be played on there are a couple of options for what can be used.

  1. The field can be completely natural – such as grass. This is what you will most commonly see.
  2. The field can be completely artificial. This is dependent on the specific competition rules the field is being used for.
  3. The field can be a hybrid of natural and artificial materials. Again, this is dependent on the specific competition rules the field is being used for.

In any competition, if an artificial surface is used then the color of the surface must be green.

An artificial surface must also meet the requirements of the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf or the International Match Standard unless special dispensation is given by The IFAB. This applies when the artificial surface is used in competition matches between representative teams of national football associations affiliated to FIFA or international club competition matches.

The IFAB makes the decisions

There is only one authority for any professional or official game who decides what a soccer field is going to look like. That is the International Football Association Board(IFAB). The IFAB is the organization that governs and decides what the rules of soccer are. From the FIFA World Cup final all the way down to a small remote village a soccer game has to follow their rules.

This is no different when it comes to the size or dimensions of the soccer field. The IFAB has specific measurements and expectations that have to be followed. In this post, these rules have been laid out for you so you can see and understand what a soccer field should look like.

All these sizes, dimensions, and measurements used in this post are the official measurements taken from the IFAB Rules of the Game.

If after reading this you want to see how a soccer field compares with a football field then click here to go to an article I wrote comparing the two.

Or if you’re interested in finding out more about the rules of soccer check out this recent article I wrote A Simple and Easy to Understand Guide to the Rules of Soccer

*Also, check out the next post The 15 Pieces of Equipment Used in Every Soccer Game *

Ben

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Sign up to the yoursoccerhome.com newsletter here or check out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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