How Long is a Soccer Game: A Comprehensive Guide
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How Long is a Soccer Game: A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re new to the world of soccer, you might be curious about how long is a Soccer Game. In this article, we’ll provide you with a detailed guide on the duration of soccer games at various levels, from professional leagues to youth leagues. We’ll also cover how stoppage time, extra time, and penalty shootouts can affect the overall length of a game. So, let’s dive in and answer the question: How long is a soccer game?
Professional Soccer Game Duration
A professional soccer game consists of 90 minutes of official action, divided into two 45-minute halves. This 90-minute duration has been the standard since 1886 when London and Sheffield agreed on this length for a game, which later became the norm and was officially adopted by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in 1897.
Between the two halves, there’s a 15-minute halftime break, allowing players to rest, receive instructions from their coaches, and prepare for the second half.
In addition to the 90 minutes of regular time, soccer games often extend beyond this duration due to stoppage time. Stoppage time, also known as injury time or added time, compensates for pauses in play caused by injuries, substitutions, goal celebrations, and other interruptions. The referee determines the amount of stoppage time and adds it to the end of each half. Typically, stoppage time ranges from 1-5 minutes per half, but it can be longer depending on the circumstances.
Extra Time and Penalty Shootouts
In some competitions, such as the FIFA World Cup or UEFA Champions League knockout stages, a winner must be determined if the game ends in a draw after 90 minutes. In these cases, the game proceeds to extra time, which consists of two 15-minute halves. If the score remains level after extra time, the game moves to a penalty shootout, where each team takes turns attempting penalty kicks until a winner emerges. The entire process of extra time and penalty shootouts can add up to 30-45 minutes to the overall length of the game.
So, in summary, a professional soccer game typically lasts around 2 hours, including regular time, halftime, and stoppage time. However, in knockout competitions, the game can extend up to 2.5-3 hours, considering extra time and penalty shootouts.
College Soccer Game Duration
College soccer games in the United States follow the same format as professional games, with two 45-minute halves and a 15-minute halftime break. However, the NCAA has implemented the Golden Goal Rule, which states that a game with a tied score at the end of regular time will end in a draw, while games in which both teams score will proceed to overtime.
Overtime in college soccer consists of two 10-minute periods, with the Golden Goal Rule still in effect. This means that the first team to score during overtime wins the game. If no goals are scored during overtime, the game ends in a draw.
High School Soccer Game Duration
High school soccer games in the United States are generally shorter than professional and college games. They consist of two 40-minute halves, with a 10-minute halftime break. Some high school leagues may opt for four 20-minute quarters instead of two halves. Overtime rules and durations can vary depending on the league or state regulations.
Youth Soccer Game Duration
The length of youth soccer games varies depending on the age of the players. Here’s a brief overview of game durations for different age groups in the United States:
- Under 8: Four 12-minute quarters
- Under 10: Two 25-minute halves
- Under 12: Two 30-minute halves, and two 10-minute halves in overtime (if applicable)
- Under 14: Two 35-minute halves, and two 10-minute halves in overtime (if applicable)
- Under 16: Two 40-minute halves, and two 15-minute halves in overtime (if applicable)
- Under 19: Two 45-minute halves, and two 15-minute halves in overtime (if applicable)
Factors Affecting the Length of a Soccer Game
Injuries and Substitutions
Injuries and substitutions can lead to delays in the game, which are compensated for through stoppage time. While substitutions are limited to three per team in professional games (or five in some cases due to COVID-19 regulations), youth and friendly matches may allow for more substitutions, which can affect the overall length of the game.
Teams leading in the score might attempt to waste time to secure their victory. The referee can counteract this by adding more stoppage time to the end of each half, ensuring that the full 90 minutes of official action are played.
Extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, can cause delays or even abandonment of the game. In such cases, the game may be rescheduled or continued at a later time, which can affect the overall length of the match.
The Final Whistle
In conclusion, the length of a soccer game depends on the level of play and various factors, such as stoppage time, extra time, and penalty shootouts. A professional soccer game typically lasts around 2 hours, while youth and high school games have shorter durations. Regardless of the level, soccer provides fans and players with exciting, action-packed matches that showcase the beauty of the sport.