The high school soccer season is one of the most exciting times of the year for high school soccer players. It’s essential to know when the season starts and how long it lasts to be able to prepare well. This article will explain exactly when the season begins.
For the majority of States, the high school soccer season is in the Fall. The season starts simultaneously with the school year in August/September and usually ends in November. Some states have exceptions to this, and their high school soccer season begins in the winter or spring.
Despite its European origins and tradition, soccer is becoming more and more popular in the States, especially among younger generations. In fact, the United States currently has 3.9 million youth soccer players, more than any other country in the world.
In this article, I want to show you:
- When a high school soccer season starts
- Three southern states – California, Texas, and Florida – that are exceptions to this
- How long a high school soccer season is
- how the high school soccer season compares to a professional soccer season
- And how to prepare for the upcoming season
Let’s get started!
When a High School Soccer Season Starts
The United States is very specific when it comes to organizing its high school sporting competitions.
The organization and scheduling are within the state high school athletics associations’ jurisdiction. Each association is responsible for determining the schedule for each season.
The main factors that determine the schedule are:
- historical traditions
- weather conditions (although southern states are more lenient in this aspect)
- the popularity of individual sports among children
- and the balanced use of sporting facilities
On a general level, high schools divide the school year into three periods:
- Autumn season – coincides with the beginning of school (late August or early September) and lasts until November
- Winter season – lasts from November to February
- Spring season – lasts from early March to the end of the school year (late May or early June)
This allows for better distribution of all sports throughout the year based on the weather conditions. It also enables the schools to organize a more balanced usage of their facilities.
High school soccer is typically a fall, or autumn, sport. This means that the season lasts from late August or early September and ends in November when it’s time for the winter season.
However, some southern states have a different schedule and put soccer on the winter season schedule.
There can also be variations between boys’ and girls’ high school soccer seasons as they are played during different seasons of the year.
Boys usually play high school soccer during the traditional Fall schedule.
Girl’s high school soccer may be moved to the spring season. This runs from early March to the end of the school year in late May or early June.
Regardless of when high school soccer season begins, the length of a high school game is the same.
High school soccer games are 80 minutes long. A high school game is split into two equal periods of 40 minutes with a half-time break that lasts for 10 minutes.
Three Exceptions to This Start Time
As I’ve already mentioned, some southern states make changes to the traditional schedule and treat soccer as a winter sport, rather than a Fall sport. The main reason for this is the different climate in the south of the US compared to the northern states.
Let me show you three examples of this.
High School Soccer Season in Florida
Florida is one state where the high school soccer season doesn’t take place during the Fall.
According to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), the regular high school soccer season in Florida starts in November. This means that it is part of the winter season. This date is valid for both boys and girls.
The regular season in Florida then ends either during the penultimate or ultimate week of January, depending on the start of the district tournament, scheduled after the regular season.
The state championships are held in early March, just before the start of the spring season.
High School Soccer Season in Texas
Texas is another southern state that falls under the exceptions list. Like in Florida, soccer is a winter sport in Texas, but the dates are different.
According to the University Interscholastic League (UIL), Texas’s high school soccer season is scheduled to start in early January, with the state finals to be held in April.
High School Soccer Season in California
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) schedules its soccer games for the winter season. The high school soccer season in California commences in November, and the playoffs finish in March. This is true for both North and South California.
This puts California on the list of exclusions, which are – as we can see – characteristic for southern states.
How Long Is a High School Soccer Season?
A high school soccer season is usually four months long. The duration of a high school season is generally fixed within the four months of a specific season of the year, most commonly Fall.
High school soccer seasons in the spring are a bit shorter due to the summer holidays. But spring soccer is a rare phenomenon in boys’ soccer, although it’s a little more common in girls’ soccer.
The fact that American high school seasons have a fixed length is related to the duration of the school year that is divided into three separate periods.
As I did above, I want to give you three examples of the season’s length in different states.
Length of High School Soccer Season in Florida
The high school soccer season in Florida lasts for 118 days, or 3 months and 26 days. The season starts in November and finishes in March. This means that it is within the four-months of the winter season.
Length of High School Soccer Season in Texas
Based on the calendar provided by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the high school soccer season in Texas lasts for 106 days, i.e., a total of 3 months and 16 days. The season starts in January and finishes in April.
The soccer season in Texas season starts well into the winter season and colliding with the start of the spring season. The Texas soccer season is a bit shorter than in other places.
Length of High School Soccer Season in California
According to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), California’s high school soccer season starts around late November or early December and ends in mid-March. This fits into the winter season section of the school year.
How the High School Soccer Season Compares to the MLS
When we compare high school soccer to real professional soccer in the United States, we can see some significant differences with the scheduling.
Namely, as we’ve said – high school soccer is usually played during the Fall. The exceptions to this are some states where the girls play during the spring season and some southern states that also play during the winter season.
The MLS (Major League Soccer), America’s primary league competition for male soccer players, has an entirely different schedule.
The MLS season starts either in late February or early March, depending on the calendar, and wraps up in October. October is when the post-season games begin, which ends with the MLS finals in December.
The same goes for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The difference here is that the NWSL season starts in April, not in February/March.
The main reason behind this is that many MLS and NWSL teams don’t have their own stadiums.
They share their stadiums with NFL teams. This means that they are highly dependent on the NFL season and have to schedule their matches to not collide with America’s most popular sport.
Although many high schools don’t have a dedicated soccer field, they do own all their facilities so they can organize their competitions with much more liberty.
Find out how big a soccer field is by checking out this article I wrote detailing the dimensions of a soccer field.
How to Prepare for the High School Soccer Season
The last thing I want to look at here is the best way to prepare for the upcoming soccer season.
Maybe you’re a parent wanting to help your child prepare, or perhaps you’re a high schooler looking to get ahead. Either way, here are some tips that should help.
Here are three ways to prepare for the high school soccer season:
1. Train and prepare
The first and most important thing you need to do is train and prepare.
Running to stay in shape and doing some other drills that will benefit your form will be hugely beneficial. Although long-distance running isn’t great, and I explain why here, cycling can be great.
Other physical activities can be useful to complement your other soccer training.
To give you an idea of how pro soccer players train, I put together a guide that gives you a comprehensive overview of everything they put themselves through to be the best at what they do. You can check out that article here.
It can also be worth signing up for a personalized online fitness course such as this one. They will give you specific workouts to keep you at your peak fitness.
2. Do some technical soccer drills
Depending on your position on the field, you should also do some technical drills.
There are many different soccer drills you could do to improve your skills. However, to simplify your choice, I have put together a list of some of the best soccer drills here.
To be one step ahead of the others, you should consider taking part in an online soccer course such as this one, on Udemy.com. Not only will it rapidly increase your skills and abilities, but it will also give you the confidence needed to dominate on the field.
3. Do some psychological preparation
You’ll also need to do some psychological preparation for the new season.
Catch up on all the news regarding your team and your rivals to know what to expect. You can also watch some games and clips online to improve your perception of the game and maybe try out something new.
The most important thing is to start the season well-prepared.
Hopefully, you now feel you have everything you need to know about high school soccer seasons in the United States. Including the three southern states that are an exception from the general schedule.
To find out more about high school soccer, check out one of these other articles I’ve written.
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