Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The rules are universal for all countries. The first standardized set of soccer rules were adopted in 1863. And in 1886 the four British soccer associations set up the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is responsible for making and approving the game’s rules.
The rules stated that the maximum length of the field must be 200 yards (182.88 meters) and the maximum width 100 yards (91.44 meters).
The boundaries of the field were to be marked with flags and the goalposts were two upright posts spaced 8 yards (7.3 m) apart, with no tape or crossbar on them. The dimensions of the pitch then changed, but the aspect ratio remains the same to this day.
In 1891 a net on the goal and ten years later a penalty area appeared. FIFA (French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) joined the IFAB in 1913. The laws of soccer are relatively simple. But the requirements for a soccer arena must severe conformity to established standards for size and facilities. A soccer arena is a complex engineering project. And the higher the level of competition, the greater the requirements to comply with the FIFA Rules of the Game.
Soccer field measurement rules
Traditionally, all soccer field parameters are measured in yards (the British unit of distance measurement), since it was the British associations that united and founded the IFAB. The measurements are taken from outside the lines, as they are part of the area that is bounded. The ratio of length to width of a soccer pitch depends on its purpose. The sideline of the court must be longer than the goal line. The marking rules and dimensions apply directly to the playing field. But when designing a soccer stadium, it is important to consider the areas around the field behind the goal line and the technical areas behind the sidelines of the soccer pitch.
What is the size of a standard soccer field?
Maximum and minimum dimensions of a soccer field according to markings:
- Width: minimum 45 meters (50 yards) and maximum 90 meters (100 yards)
- Length: minimum 90 meters (100 yards) and maximum 120 meters (130 yards)
- What is the field area in hectares: 0.405 hectares to 1.08 hectares (or 4050 to 10800 square meters)
Important to remember! When designing a soccer pitch, you must provide space outside the field of play (outs). These safety zones for players are needed around the perimeter of the field of play.
Outs are the distance from the edge of the field of play to the first seats, which ensures the free movement of players and match officials. The free space outside the area must be with a flat surface.
The size of outs (FIFA and UEFA requirements): a minimum of 1.5 meters around the perimeter of the field of play, of the same grass surface as on the pitch. Behind the grass surface, tiles are laid or a running track is placed.
What is the soccer field dimensions for international matches?
- Length: minimum 100 meters (110 yards) and maximum 120 meters (130 yards)
- Width: minimum 64 meters (70 yards) and maximum 75 meters (80 yards)
The following dimensions are fixed in the FIFA standards. A soccer field is a rectangle 105 meters long and 68 meters wide.
According to UEFA requirements, the pitch’s longitudinal axis must be oriented to the north. Under these conditions the influence of the sun on the game is minimal.
Dimensions of middle and high school soccer field
Here are some recommended soccer field sizes for youth soccer. It depends on the age of the players
|6 and under||15-20 yards|
|13 and more||70-80 yards|
The smaller size of the pitch makes it easier for younger players to touch and control the ball.
Soccer field markings
The pitch must have markings, as they are included in the rules of the game.
- The center line or half-way line divides the field into two halves
- A circle in the center of the pitch with a radius of 9.15 meters
- The lines of the penalty area and the goalkeeper’s area (goal area) on each half of the pitch
- Corners which are delineated by a quarter circle and marked by flagpoles
Even the boys in the yard need to somehow imitate the markings. Otherwise, the game is simply impossible. Because, from the center of the field, located in the center circle, the ball starts to be played at the start of the match and after each goal is scored.
In the penalty area hand play is allowed for goalkeepers. All offenses committed by players of the defending team within the penalty area shall be punished by a penalty kick from the 11-meters mark (penalty kick).
This mark is placed directly on the center axis of the goal, 11 meters from the goal line.
The goalkeeper’s area or goal area is the area with priority for the goalkeeper’s actions. Any forceful pressure on the goalkeeper during play within the goalkeeper’s area is not allowed.
The size of the safety zone: 7, 5 meters behind the goal line and 6 meters on the sides of the pitch. Consequently, the total field area including the field of play and the surrounding area up to the first seating line is 120 by 80 meters.
For major events and important matches where a large influx of media is expected, it should be extended to 125 by 85 meters.
The above recommendations for the parameters of the soccer pitch are extremely important for the FIFA World Cup. These are closely monitored by FIFA.
The playing soccer field must be:
- rectangular in shape
- marked with solid lines
- grass surface of green color
The marking of the soccer pitch is applied by grass of white color of the same height as the lawn of the whole field. All lines should be the same width, but no more than 12 centimeter (5 inches). It is generally accepted that the standard width of markings for soccer is 10 centimeters. The lines of marking must be continuous.
The two lines limiting the soccer field on the long sides are called – sidelines, and the two short lines – goal lines. An artificial grass of white color may be used to mark a soccer field with natural turf.
What is the center of the field? How is the center of the field determined?
In each of the main and extra time halves and after each goal is scored, the players of the two teams go to the center of the field to make the initial kick. To calculate the center of the field, the soccer pitch is divided into two equal parts by the center line. The center line connects the midpoints of the side lines of the soccer field. The center of the pitch is marked in the middle of the center line and a circle with a radius of 9.15 meters (10 yards) is drawn around it.
Goal area. The dimensions of the goal area
The goal area (goalkeeper’s area) is marked on the right and left sides of the soccer field. This is the area from which the goalkeeper or another player takes a goal kick. Two lines are drawn from points at a distance of 5.5 meters (6 yards) from the inside of each goal post, at right angles to the goal line, inwards. These lines are joined by a line parallel to the goal line, forming a closed rectangle.
The dimensions of the goal area: 18.32 meters (20 yards) by 5.5 meters (6 yards).
What is a penalty area? The dimensions of the penalty area
A penalty area is marked out on each half of the soccer field. This area is necessary for the location of the players of the soccer teams when a penalty kick is taken. The dimensions of the standard soccer field penalty area: 40.32 (44 yards) by 16.5 meters (18 yards).
Within the penalty area, at the center of the goal line and 11 meters (12 yards) from it, the eleven-meter mark (penalty spot) is applied. Outside the penalty area is an arc with a radius of 9.15 meters (10 yards). The center of this arc is at the 11-meter mark.
What are corner arcs? Dimensions of a corner arc
In each of the four corners of the soccer field, an arc with a radius of 1 meter (1 yard) centered in the corner of the field is drawn, delineating the sector for corner kicks. At a distance of 9.15 meters (10 yards) from the boundaries of the corner sectors, at the goal lines, marks may be made which are used to determine the distance of the players when taking a corner kick.
Flags on flagpoles at least 1.5 meters high with a non-tipped top must be placed in all corners of the soccer field.
What is a technical area at the stadium?
A technical area is designed to accommodate the official representatives of the team, substitute players, technical staff. The number of persons is determined by competition rules. It is recommended to use markings to determine the area near the soccer pitch.
What grass is suitable for soccer?
Soccer fields can be with natural or artificial grass. But the main requirement is that the surface must be green and even.
Originally, all fields were sown with natural grass. Over the years, the requirements for the quality of coverage grew, new types of turf began to appear, and agronomists improved their maintenance skills to keep the grass surface in perfect condition.
FIFA recommends the height of the grass on the field – three centimeters.
The striping of a soccer field, where the darker shades of grass alternate with lighter ones, is achieved by mowing the lawn. When the field is mowed by a special machine, the roller runs over the cut strip, trampling the grass in the direction of the machine’s movement. And because the machine changes direction after each strip, a striped visual effect is created due to the different reflection of light from the surface of the grass.
This effect helps referees and spectators better understand what is happening on the field. For example, it is much easier to determine the offside position from any angle of view.
Natural turf wears out after 600-800 hours of play and requires time to recover. Artificial turf on average can withstand up to 2 thousand hours of play per year.
Artificial turf was first used at the 2003 FIFA Youth World Cup in Finland. Ten matches were played on the synthetic turf approved by FIFA, including the final between Brazil and Spain (1-0).
FIFA concluded that the synthetic turf created especially for soccer fields has exactly the same properties as natural grass and can be used for matches at all levels.