In most high schools, the soccer team forms the center point of everything that that school does. For the students who play, soccer is everything, and it also provides entertainment for other students and staff.
Additionally, it allows others to pull out their pom-poms and cheer on their team on the sideline of every game. In short, high school soccer is a big deal for students, staff, and parents, so knowing when the season begins is vital.
Thankfully, in most States in the USA the high school soccer season begins during the same time of the year. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
In most cases, the high school soccer season begins in the fall and then runs throughout the year simultaneously with the high school academic year.
In this guide, we’re telling you absolutely everything that you need to know about high school soccer including when the season begins in different States and the differences between high school soccer and professional soccer seasons. So with no further ado, let’s get started.
When does high school soccer begin?
First, let’s take a look at when the high school soccer season begins. As we have already mentioned, in some States this will differ, however, the majority of States operate on the same high school soccer season.
We’ve already spoken about the importance of high school soccer in the USA, so as you can expect organizing the soccer season is one of the most important things in a high school’s planning schedule.
As the USA is such a large country the planning of each high school season is decided by the High School Athletics Association, with different jurisdictions covering different areas.
The rules for high school soccer are universal across the USA, but the planning for the seasons is up to the different areas. Each association will plan the schedule for their area as they have access to all of the teams within that catchment area and can organize games accordingly.
While the soccer season in most States operates throughout the same months of the year, there will be some differences from area to area. America is vast so different factors will determine the soccer season in different areas, this includes weather conditions, access to sporting facilities, historical traditions, and interest in soccer.
Some teams may play on different days, others might take breaks in line with storm warnings and risks of natural disasters. But generally, they operate throughout the same seasons with breaks at the same times, so let’s take a look at when high school soccer begins.
In most States, the soccer season begins in the fall and runs throughout the autumn term in high school. This might seem like a really short period, but high schools are incredibly sporty areas and so they have to factor a variety of different sports into the academic year.
While some schools might have the ability to run a long soccer season, most simply do not have the facilities to run a soccer season alongside other sports.
The climate of most States makes the autumn season the most appropriate time to play soccer beginning in late August/early September and running through till November, just in time for Thanksgiving. This allows sports that are better suited for the Winter or Spring season to be played during this time.
It is now important to note that this is not the case for all States. In particular, some Southern States switch up their schedule and play soccer during the winter season rather than the autumn season. This is perfectly okay as there is rarely any overlap between States, in most cases games will be restricted to other teams within their State.
You may also notice some differences in soccer seasons depending on the gender of the team as some schools choose to run their girl’s soccer season in the Spring so that there is no overlap between the female and male soccer games.
There are also some exceptions to these rules, as we mentioned earlier, so let’s take a look at the States where the soccer season differs.
The States Where It Differs
While it is common for there to be some small changes between the soccer seasons in different States depending on the factors that we looked at earlier, it is very rare for any major differences to occur.
We’ve already touched on it, but let’s take a deeper look at some of the Southern States which make major changes to their high school soccer schedule.
Due to the vast size of the land that makes up the USA, there are huge climatic differences between some States.
The most dramatic differences can be observed between the Northern and Southern States which is why some Southern States run their soccer season during the spring season rather than the autumn.
There are 3 States where this difference is particularly notable, they are:
First, let’s take a look at Texas. In Texas, soccer is viewed as a Winter sport. Most high schools view the Winter season as the time between November and February, but Texas is an exception to this rule.
Even though it is classed as a Winter sport, Texas runs their high school soccer season from early January through to April. Technically, this means that the soccer season actually runs across both the Winter and Spring seasons, but despite this, it is still viewed as a Winter sport by those who live in Texas.
Similarly, soccer is also viewed as a winter sport in the southern State of Florida. This was decided by the Florida High School Athletic Association, who stated that the high school soccer season shall begin in November. This is right at the beginning of the Winter season, so unlike the soccer season in Texas, in Florida, it actually runs throughout the winter rather than catching the tail end of it.
The district tournaments will then wrap up at the end of January as the winter season begins to come to an end. A month or two later, the State soccer championships will then begin in early March, in line with the Spring soccer season. These rules apply to both female and male soccer.
Finally, let’s take a look at the Western State of California. While it is often categorized as Western, California is also the most Southern point in that area of the USA so it is unsurprising that they match the patterns that we have seen in Texas and Florida.
In California, the entire State plays its soccer season during the Winter season, although the north of the State is very different from the south. This season commences in November, in line with the winter season, and runs throughout the “colder” months before wrapping up in March.
Unlike Florida, California follows the pattern set by Texas as they wrap up the entire season in March and do not recommence at a later date for the State championships. Instead, the entire soccer season is completed during the 4 month period that covers the winter months.
So now that we’ve taken a look at where there are exceptions to the rules of the soccer season, let’s look at how long the season lasts.
How long does it last?
In the same way that the time of the year that high school soccer is played differs from professional, so does the length of the season.
As we have already mentioned, most high schools only have the facilities to run soccer for a certain period of time. This isn’t because soccer is taxing, it is because high schools have to be well-rounded and play a huge variety of sports throughout the year.
Due to this, the high school soccer period is shorter than the professional soccer period, but how long is it?
In short, the majority of high school soccer seasons will run for a 4 month period in which all of the games for the year will be played, and champions of the season will be announced.
As we have established, the majority of States organize their academic year so that the soccer season can be played during the 4 months that make up the autumn season in the fall. Generally, this is fixed and it is very rare for there to be any change to the soccer season.
That is aside from the States that we looked at earlier. As we have established, Texas, Florida, and California alike all schedule their soccer season so that it runs through the Winter season which begins in November and ends in February. The exact times in which these States run their soccer seasons differ depending on the State, but does the length of the season differ too? Let’s have a look.
Of these three States, only two give guidelines on the exact length that the high school soccer season should be. California fails to do this and simply states that the season starts in late November and ends in mid-March which could potentially make this season longer than the majority of other States.
But unlike California, both Texas and Florida give exact numbers for the length of their soccer seasons. In Texas, the soccer season runs for exactly 106 days which is a total of 3 months and 6 days making it shorter than the average season.
Similarly, the soccer season in Florida is also shorter than the average season as it runs for 118 days which is the equivalent of 3 months and 26 days.
As well as these exceptions, we have also mentioned that some States choose to run their male soccer season in the autumn, and their female season in the spring.
The spring season is the shortest season out of the three, so because of this, the female soccer season tends to be shorter than the autumn season. Now that we have covered that, let’s take a look at the differences between high school and professional soccer seasons.
High School vs Professional
We have already told you this a couple of times, but as you would expect there are a lot of major differences between high school and professional soccer seasons.
At every stage, professional soccer is operated on a whole other level than other types of soccer, so there really is no shock that their season operates independently of the high school soccer leagues.
Major League Soccer (MLS) begins their soccer season at the time when the exceptions to high school soccer begin to wrap up their season, and this is during the end of February and beginning of March.
Following this, the professional soccer schedule is completely independent of the high school soccer schedule as it runs during the time while school is out for the Summer. The official professional soccer season then wraps up in October, however post-season games then begin ahead of the finals in December.
Unlike high school soccer which often splits women’s soccer from men’s soccer, professional soccer runs alongside one another in independent leagues. However, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is slightly shorter than the MLS so it doesn’t begin until April.
However, just because of the “professional” label that is attached to the MLS and NWSL this doesn’t mean that they aren’t objected to the same problems as high school soccer. Just as high schools find their soccer seasons limited by a lack of facilities, so do professional soccer teams.
The majority of MLS and NWSL teams do not have their own systems, instead, they share the stadiums owned by the NFL. Even though soccer is popular in the USA, it is in no way as popular as the NFL and so the MLS and NWSL find themselves having to schedule their games around NFL games.
So just because there is an insane amount of money in soccer in the USA, this doesn’t mean they are immune to the same trials and tribulations felt by high schools. However, as the NFL is primarily played in the late autumn and winter, the seasons for professional soccer and high school soccer do not match.
In short, the time at which the high school soccer runs depends on the State that you are living in.
In most cases, the high school soccer season will run in the 4 months that compile to make the autumn season, right at the beginning of the academic year.
However, some southern States choose to run their season during the winter due to the seasons, it is also common for some States to separate their women’s soccer season and play this during the spring rather than the winter.
But in most cases, the season begins in August/September and runs through till late November.