How Many Games in a Soccer Season?


How Many Games in a Soccer Season? image

A soccer season gives each team in a league the opportunity to play every other team in that league at least once. What many people don’t know is how many games are there in an entire soccer season.

In this article, you will discover the answer to this question for not just one league but the top 10 leagues from around the world including the MLS, the English Premier League and La Liga in Spain.

The Number of Games

The reality is that there is no single correct answer to this question as the answer depends on which soccer league from around the world that the question is referring to. Different leagues play different amounts of games throughout a season.

To help answer your question, in the table below I’ve listed the number of games played in a season for each of the top 10 most popular leagues in the world.

The number of games played in a soccer season:

SOCCER LEAGUE NUMBER OF GAMES IN A SEASON
Major League Soccer (MLS) – US34
Primeira Liga – Portugal34
Dutch Eredivisie -Netherlands34
Argentine Super League – Argentina23
Brasileirão – Brasil38
Ligue 1 – France38
Serie A – Italy38
Bundesliga – Germany34
English Premier League – England38
La Liga – Spain38
Number of games in a soccer season for the top 10 soccer leagues

In a second we’ll look at the details of a season for each of these leagues, but as you can see from the table above, with the exception of the Argentine Super League who only play 23 games in a season, the majority of the most popular soccer leagues around the world play either 34 or 38 games in a season.

If you’re wanting to find out about a high school soccer season and when it starts, this article I wrote will tell you everything you need to know.

How the Number of Games Is Determined

The number of games played in a season depends on two things.

  1. The format of the competition
  2. The number of teams in each league

Competition Format

By far the most popular and most used competition format in any soccer league is the double round-robin tournament.

In this format, each team in the league plays every other team two times. The first game between the two teams will be at one team’s home stadium and the second game will be at the other team’s home stadium.

The idea behind playing an opponent both at “home” and “away” is that it gives each team a fair chance of winning the game.

It has long been the case that teams have a far better win record when they are playing with “home-advantage”. When they are at their own stadium they are both playing somewhere familiar and the majority of fans in the stadium are supporting them.

As an example of this, in January 2020 the Spanish team Barcelona had gone 35 UEFA Champion’s League games at their home stadium, Camp Nou, without losing a single one.

So giving both teams the opportunity to play against each other with home advantage makes the results at the end of the season much fairer.

Barcelona player Lionel Messi was a huge influence on their unbeaten run. He is one of the greatest players to ever play soccer, but not many people are aware of his impressive disciplinary record. Do you know how few red cards he has received throughout his career? If not, click here to jump to an article I wrote about it and find out!

Number of Teams

Once you know the format for a competition all you have to do to work out the number of games that will be played is to factor in the number of teams that are taking part in that league in a specific season.

As an example, if a league has 22 teams that take part each season and the league uses a double round-robin format where each team plays each other twice then each team will play 42 games.

This is because each team plays each of the other 21 teams at “home” and each of the 21 other teams “away”.

21 games +21 games = 42 games in a season

The Games Played in Each League’s Season in More Detail

soccer season table

Now we know how the number of games played is worked out let’s look at each of the most popular soccer league’s seasons in more detail starting with the MLS.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

Total number of teams: 27

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 34

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 918

In the 2021 MLS, each team will play 34 games during the season. Each team plays every other team in their conference two times, following a double round-robin format. Each team also plays one game against most teams in the opposite conference.

There are a total of 918 games played throughout an entire MLS season. All 27 teams involved in the MLS play every other team in their conference two times throughout a season, plus extra games against teams in the opposite conference. This adds up to a total of 918 games played.

The MLS season runs from March to December each year.


Primeira Liga – Portugal

Total number of teams: 18

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 34

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 612

In the Primeira Liga in Portugal, each team plays 34 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (18 teams each playing 34 games) means that there are a total of 612 games played throughout an entire Primeira Liga season.

The Primeira Liga season runs from August one year to May the following year.


Dutch Eredivisie – Netherlands

Total number of teams: 18

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 34

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 612

In the Dutch Eredivisie, each team plays 34 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (18 teams each playing 34 games) means that there are a total of 612 games played throughout an entire Dutch Eredivisie season.

The Eredivisie season runs from August one year to May the following year.


Argentine Super League

Total number of teams: 18

Competition format: single round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 34

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 612

In the Argentine Super League, previously known as the Argentine Primera División before 2017, each team plays 23 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 24 teams that take part and the league follows a single round-robin format.

All these games added together (24 teams each playing 23 games) means that there are a total of 552 games played throughout an entire Argentine Super League season.

The Argentine Super League is unique amongst the top 10 most popular leagues in that the teams will only play every other team once, either at “home” or “away”.

The Argentine Super League runs from June to December every year.


Brasileirão

Total number of teams: 20

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 38

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 760

In the Brasileirão, each team plays 38 games during a season. This is because there is are 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (20 teams each playing 38 games) means that there are a total of 760 games played throughout an entire Brasileirão season.

The Brasileirão season runs from May to December every year.


Ligue 1 – France

Total number of teams: 20

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 38

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 760

In the Ligue 1 in France, each team plays 38 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (20 teams each playing 38 games) means that there are a total of 760 games played throughout an entire Ligue 1 season.

The Ligue 1 season runs from August one year to May the following year.


Serie A – Italy

Total number of teams: 20

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 38

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 760

In the Serie A in Italy, each team plays 38 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (20 teams each playing 38 games) means that there are a total of 760 games played throughout an entire Serie A season.

The Serie A season runs from August one year to May the following year.


Bundesliga – Germany

Total number of teams: 18

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 34

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 612

In the German Bundesliga, each team plays 34 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (18 teams each playing 34 games) means that there are a total of 612 games played throughout an entire Bundesliga season.

The Bundesliga season runs from August one year to May the following year.

English Premier League – England

Total number of teams: 20

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 38

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 760

In a Premier League season, each team plays a total of 38 games. The Premier League follows a double round-robin format meaning all 20 teams present in the league play all 19 other teams two times throughout a season.

There are a total of 760 games played in a Premier League season. All 20 teams involved in the Premier League play every other team two times throughout a season, adding up to a total of 760 games played.

The English Premier League season runs from August one year to May the following year.


La Liga – Spain

Total number of teams: 20

Competition format: Double round-robin

Total number of games each team play in one season: 38

The total number of games played by all teams through the entire season: 760

In the La Liga in Spain, each team plays 38 games during a season. This is because there is a total of 18 teams that take part and the league follows a double round-robin format.

All these games added together (20 teams each playing 38 games) means that there are a total of 760 games played throughout an entire La Liga season.

The La Liga Season runs from August one year to May the following year.


In any soccer game during a season, there are specific pieces of equipment that are always used. To discover what they are, click here to go to an article I wrote describing the 15 items.

To really understand the rules of soccer better and appreciate what makes it such a great game have a look at this article I wrote explaining the rules of soccer in an easy-to-understand guide.

Or simply to go to the next article – Does Soccer Have Timeouts?

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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