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Soccer Field Dimensions Explained: It's Not As Straightforward As You Think

Because FIFA doesn’t stipulate the exact size of pitches, soccer field dimensions can actually vary wildly.

Soccer field dimensions are anything but straightforward. Unlike the playing surfaces for football, basketball, hockey, tennis and most other sports, not all soccer pitches are created equally. FIFA does not stipulate the specific size of a football pitch, instead allowing a range of lengths and widths.

That said, there are requirements that must be met for every soccer pitch, many of which are more specific when it comes to international matches. 

Let’s start with soccer field dimensions. As put forth by FIFA, these are the maximum and minimum lengths and widths for a soccer pitch.

Soccer Field Dimensions

Length (touch line)

  • Minimum: 100 yards (90 meters)
  • Maximum: 130 yards (120 meters)

Width (goal line)

  • Minimum: 50 yards (45 meters)
  • Maximum: 100 yards (90 meters)

This means, in theory, soccer could be played on a square pitch of 100 yards by 100 yards. More likely, it’s a rectangle, the field longer than it is wide. 

For international matches the pitch must fall in a more specific range, though there is still wiggle room.

International Soccer Field Dimensions

Length (touch line)

  • Minimum: 110 yards (100 meters)
  • Maximum: 120 yards (110 meters)

Width (goal line)

  • Minimum: 70 yards (64 meters)
  • Maximum: 80 yards (75 meters)

Soccer field dimensions can have a large effect on how teams play, as Tottenham’s temporary move to Wembley Stadium illustrated

Soccer pitches can also be of various surfaces, be it natural grass or artificial turf. 

Soccer Field Dimensions

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Unlike the dimensions of the entire field, the markings on the field have specific dimensions that must be adhered to exactly. They are as follows:

Soccer Field Dimensions Inside The Field Of Play

Center Circle

  • 10-yard radius (9.15 meters)

Goal Area

  • Two lines at right angles 6 yards (5.5 meters) on either side of the goal posts extending 6 yards onto the pitch to create a rectangle.

Penalty Area

  • Two lines at right angles 18 yards (16.5 meters) on either side of the goal posts extending 18 yards onto the pitch and connected to form a rectangle. (Fun fact: The shape of the 18-yard box wasn’t finalized until 1937.)

Penalty Spot

  • A mark is made 12 yards (11 meters) from the center of the goal to denote from where penalty kicks are taken. 

Penalty Arc

  • An arc with a radius of 10 yards (9.15 meters) extending from the penalty spot is drawn only outside the penalty area. 

Flag Posts

  • Flags not less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) high with a non-pointed top and flag are to be placed at each corner.

Corner Arc

  • A quarter circle with a radius of 1 yard (1 meter) is drawn inside the field of play around each corner. 

Additionally, optional marks off the field of play can be made 10 yards (9.15 meters) from the corner to ensure defenders are far enough away from a corner kick. 

The goal itself is perhaps the most important aspect of the pitch, and it has exact specifications for size. It is placed on the center of the goal line. Goal posts can be square, rectangular, round or elliptical in shape and must not be dangerous to players. 

Soccer Goal Dimension

Width

  • 8 yards (7.32 meters)

Height

  • 8 feet (2.44 meters)

These goal dimensions are measured from the inside of one post to the other for width and the bottom of the crossbar to the ground. If the posts are rounded in any way, the largest part of the post is to be used for the measurement. Both goalposts and crossbar must be the same size (width and depth), which is not to exceed 5 inches (12 centimeters). 

Goalposts and crossbars must be white. A net (also white) can be attached to the goal so long as it does not interfere with play. Goals must be securely anchored to the ground, meaning portable goals can only be used if they will not budge during play. 

Embed from Getty Images

Oh but we’re not done. There are more dimensions to discuss! We can't leave out the soccer ball itself, which must be spherical and made of leather or some other suitable material. 

Soccer Ball Dimensions

Circumference

  • Maximum: 28 inches (70 centimeters)
  • Minimum: 27 inches (68 centimeters)

Weight

  • Maximum: 16 ounces (450 grams)
  • Minimum: 14 ounces (410 grams)

Pressure

  • Equal to 0.6-1.1 atmosphere at sea level: 8.5-15.6 pounds per square inch (600-1,100 grams per square centimeter)

Whew, I think we did it. That’s all the soccer field dimensions you’ll ever need. At least until we start playing moon soccer or something and FIFA decides to switch it up.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own dimensions to fit your location, whether it’s your living room floor, back yard, school recess area or train station. Don’t let the man keep you down when you just wanna play some footie. 

The world is your soccer pitch! But the floor is lava, so watch out. 

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