You may find yourself wondering, exactly how big a soccer field is. If you’ve watched games from your television screen, it might not show you just how big the field is and so you may want to know, what the exact size is.
Many may be surprised when they find out the size and dimensions of a soccer field and the strict rules that this field must comply with. You might even be reading this because you have a job that includes creating a soccer field (that sounds like a fun job!)
Or if you are a fan who just wants to know. However it is for you, we have answers. So… exactly how big is a soccer field?
A soccer field must be between 100-130 yards/ 90-120 meters in length and 50-100 yards/40-90 meters wide. However, these numbers change during an international game. In an international game, the size of the field must be between 110-120 yards/ 100-110 meters in length, and 70-80 yards/ 64-75 meters in width.
What are the dimensions?
When looking at the dimensions, size, and markings of a soccer field there are specific criteria that every field, stadium, or venue must comply with.
A soccer field must be between 100-130 yards or 90-120 meters in length, at national and international levels. This is all due to the rules of soccer meaning that these rules must be within said measurements.
If you look at a soccer field, you will be able to see that everything from the width of the field to the corner arc is laid out clearly to help everyone who is looking understand the size and dimension requirements of the field.
Let us have a look at the official dimensions required for a soccer field. We will help you understand exactly how big and spaced the soccer field is with detailed measurements.
Throughout this article, we will also help you understand the dimensions for an international soccer field, as well as the individual important spaces on the field, such as the goal, penalty areas, and even the corner dimensions too.
Game Legal Dimensions
Let’s visualize these dimensions a moment.
These measurements you see above are for the outside of the lines, as these lines are viewed as part of the area that they surround, it is worth remembering that the touchline must also be longer than the goal line. If you go looking at MLS soccer fields you will find that they always comply with these regulations.
If you are wondering how these fields compare with football, then all you really need to know is that a soccer field is larger than a football field.
What about the markings?
Now, before we jump into anything else’s think of the markings, you are surely wondering about those. The only markings allowed on a soccer field are the specific markings that are described in the rules and that you see on a traditional soccer field.
These markings are used as boundaries to define where on the soccer field the ball or a player is. It is a requirement that the field must be rectangular, no other shape, not even slightly is acceptable. It must also be marked with continuous lines also and must not be dangerous.
It can be acceptable to use an artificial playing surface material as well, this is okay as long as this surface is not dangerous either. Many fields may use the astroturf surface, artificial grasses, although many may prefer to use real grass or even specialized grass.
Before we tell you about the significance and dimensions of these markings, let’s find out the basics about them. On a playing field, the two longer boundary lines are known as touchlines, whereas the two shorter lines are known as goal lines.
The field that the players play in, is divided into two halves as well, it is done so by a halfway line, which joins in 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 around 10 yards, or 9.15metres, is then marked around it. At kick-off, the beginning of each half, or at the beginning of a restart after a score, the opposing team must stay out of the aforementioned circle until the ball has been kicked and the game can continue.
You may notice marks that have been made off the field of play at 10 yards, 9.15 meters, from the corner arc, these are in right angles to the goal and touchlines. This is done to show the distance that the opposing team must stay away from the ball at a corner kick.
The lines, all of them, must also be the same width, they must all be specifically 5 inches or 2 centimeters. The goal lines must also be of the same width as the goalposts and the crossbar as well.
Now, you may have seen how on a grassed playing field that these lines are traditionally white. But, what if the chosen playing surface is white?
If an artificial surface is used and the surface is white then the lines must be in a different color and must be distinguishable from football lines. Other lines are permitted on artificial surfaces they must simply be visible and distinguishable.
It may seem odd to note this, but, there may be an instance when a player makes unauthorized marks on the field. If this is done they must be cautioned for unsporting behavior, if the referee is to notice this then the player is cautioned when the ball is next played.
The Goal Area
Now, we spoke briefly about the goal area earlier, let’s have a proper look at that. If you look at a soccer field, you will notice that around each goal is a rectangular box and within this box is another, smaller rectangular box. The smallest of these two is called the goal-area.
If you are seeking to determine the size of this area then you seek the two lines drawn at right angles to the goal line, these are drawn 6 yards or 5.5 meters from the inside of each goalpost. These lines will then extend into the field for 6 yards or 5.5 meters. At this point they are then connected by a line that is drawn parallel to the goal line and a box is formed.
If you ever hear the goal box referred to as the ‘6-yard box’, this is why this name simply refers to its measurements and nothing else. It is a good indicator to know the measurements of a soccer field if only to give you the knowledge to understand what is meant when this is said.
So, we mentioned that there was a larger box around the goal box earlier. The box that the goal box is inside, is the penalty box.
When we are looking to determine the size of this box, we take notice of the two lines drawn at right angles to the goal line, much like we did with the goal box.
These lines are 18 yards or 16.5 meters from the inside of each goalpost. These, much like with the goal lines, extend into the field of play for 18 yards, or 16.5 meters, and then connect by a line that is drawn parallel to the goal line.
Much like the goal box, these lines also give rise to an alternative name for this box, as it is sometimes referred to as the ‘18-yard box’.
While we are here with the penalty box, let’s quickly talk about the penalty mark. Inside each penalty area is a penalty mark, which is made 12 yards, or 11 meters from the midpoint between the goalposts, this is measured from the center of the mark to the very back edge of the goal line.
Then an arc of a circle with a radius of about 10 yards, or 9.15 meters, from the center of the penalty mark is then drawn outside of the penalty area. This is visible when you look at a soccer field. This is the semi-circle that you see just beyond the penalty box and this is its purpose.
While it may not seem necessary to note, it is still important to take notice of the corner areas. These are still very important and are imperative to remember if you are taking part in the design of a soccer field.
This corner area is defined by a quarter circle with a radius of a yard, or a meter from each corner flag post that is drawn inside the field of play.
Have you ever looked at a soccer field and questioned the existence of those flagposts? Wondering what their significance is and what the specifics of them are? Well, we will tell you.
In soccer a flag must be placed in each corner of the field, it should be at least 5ft in height (1.5 meters) and it must have a non-pointed top, for safety.
There is also the option of placing a flag post at each end of the halfway line as well, though this is not a field legal requirement.
If it is decided to place a flag at the end of each halfway line then it must be at least 1 yard or 1 meter outside of the touchline.
Dimensions for International Play
We looked at national field play earlier and briefly mentioned international play.
International games require similar measurements and dimensions but they differ ever so slightly. We will give you an easy view of this.
Above we have shown you the measurements for an international soccer field. These measurements are from the outside of the lines, as the lines are part of the area that they surround. Remember that the touchline (length), must be longer than the goal line (width).
ANy individual competition can determine the length of the goal line and touchline, as long as it is within these specified dimensions.
There may be different games played on minorly different sized fields, even if they are within the same competition. This is all dependent on the competition's guidelines, as even within a set of guidelines there will be some variations.
The Technical Area
Now, getting a bit more technical.
Not all fields have a technical area, this is primarily reserved for places such as stadiums or fields in which there is a designated area, usually steamed.
For team officials, substitutes and substituted players. This is the reason for a technical area in a field.
Even within technical areas, there are still rules that apply, shall we have a look at some of these rules?
- The technical area should only extend one yard on either side of the designated seated area, and be up to a distance of one yard from the touchline.
- The number of persons permitted to occupy the technical area is defined solely by the rules of the competition.
- Occupants of the technical area must remain within its confines except in specific special circumstances, for example; the event of a physiotherapist or a doctor entering the field of play, with granted permission from the referee, in the event of injury to a player on the field.
- The area must be defined by markings.
- Those who occupy the technical area must be identified before the beginning of the game under the rules of the competition.
- Persons within the technical area must behave responsibly.
- Within the technical area, only a singular person at any given time is allowed to convey any tactical instructions from the technical area.
On the field of play, many specific rules must be followed concerning the goals. Both in terms of play and in terms of dimension.
These are as follows;
- A goal must consist of two vertical posts at equal distance from the corner flag posts which we mentioned before. These are then joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar. These must also be made from approved materials, they must also be square, rectangular or elliptical in their shape and must not be dangerous at all.
- The distance between the inside of the posts has to be 8 yards and they must also be 8ft in distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground.
- This goal must also be placed directly in the center of each goal line.
- They must have nets attached to the goals and the ground behind the goal, these must be sufficiently supported and should not interfere with the goalkeeper.
- Both the goalposts and the crossbar must be white and must have the same width and depth, not exceeding 5 inches.
- The position that these goal posts are in, concerning the goal line, must be in relation and according to the set guidelines that show that the goal must be exactly 6 yards from the nearest goal line area, and18 yards from the nearest penalty line area.
- For safety, if the crossbar at the top of the goal becomes displaced and broken, then the play is stopped until it has been repaired or replaced in position. If it cannot be repaired then the match must also be abandoned or postponed. Any ropes or flexible materials cannot replace the crossbar of the goal. Similarly, any safety goals or portable goals must also be firmly secured into the ground.
The Field Surface
There are a few available options for the field surface that the game can be played upon.
One of these options is that the field can be completely natural grass, this is the most common field surface you will find
Secondly is artificial turf, which is often synthetic grass or sometimes astroturf. In this case, it will depend on the specific competition and its rules.
The other option available is a hybrid surface. Again, this depends on the rules for the competition.
Regardless of the competition, the surface that must be used has to be green in color. Any artificial surface must also meet requirements set by ‘FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf’ or otherwise unless there has been a special dispensation by the IFAB.
IFAB makes all the decisions in this area. IFAB stands for International Football Association Board.