Whether you’re a spectator of the sport or David Beckham is reading this, you may have some questions about the amazing sport of soccer.
Soccer can be dated back to over 2,000 years ago when it was played in China.
It’s fair to assume that quite a bit about the game changed in those 2,000 years, including the field size.
So, how big is a professional soccer field you ask?
Today we will take a deep dive into the sizes for all types of soccer fields.
We will also look at what all of the markings on the field mean, and more.
How Big Is a Professional Soccer Field?
Believe it or not, not all soccer fields are the same size, even throughout FIFA regulations.
It can be hard to tell standing from the sidelines how big a soccer field really is, but that’s what we’re here to talk about.
While professional stadiums come with a variety of different amenities, like a scoreboard, suites, area for players to warm up, and more, the fields are what we’re focusing on today.
The size of a professional soccer field may vary depending on where you are in the world.
FIFA has a range that fields must fall within in order for people to play on them professionally in Europe.
A FIFA field must be between 330 feet and 360 feet long and between 210 feet and 240 feet wide.
In the United States of America, regulations allow for the fields to be a bit smaller, which can throw off international players when they join teams there.
After a few practice rounds, though, players tend to get the hang of the pitch and the size differences that come with traveling from one stadium to another.
Fields for Kids and Teens
With that said, the size of the field is in correlation to the age of the players using the field.
Hence, let’s also take a look at the different sizes for kids and teens that soccer pitches come in and who each size field is for.
- Soccer players who are six years old and younger play on soccer fields that are 45 feet wide by 90 feet long.
- For players who are eight years old, you’ll find them on fields that are 90 feet wide by 150 feet long.
- Fields are 150 feet wide by 240 feet long if you’re a soccer player who is 10 years old.
- On the other hand, 12-year-old players use fields that are 150 feet wide and 300 feet long, while 14-year-old soccer stars use a field that is 225 feet wide and 360 feet long.
There are many reasons fields vary from one age to another.
However, it mostly has to do with how our bodies grow during puberty.
Would it be kind of odd to see Harry Kane play on a field meant for six-year-olds, wouldn’t it?
The Markings on a Soccer Field
A soccer field is comprised of a variety of different white markings all around and on the field.
These markings each have an important significance to the game.
As such, it’s good to know what each of them means, as well as the sizes of some of them.
Below you’ll find easy-to-follow guidelines as to what all of the markings mean, how big they are, and what they’re used for.
1. The Boundary
The boundary has four lines that most people think of when they think of a soccer field.
Two longer lines on the side are called touch or side lines.
The other two lines are shorter and found on each end of the playing field; these lines can be called goal or end lines.
2. The Center
The center is another familiar point on the field that is a straight line cutting the field into two parts.
In the middle of the center line, you will find a hollow circle that is usually around 30 feet in diameter.
The center is where the game begins, with one center player for each team on their respected side of the center line.
3. Goal Area or Box
The goal area, also called the box, is a box formed around the physical goal.
This box tends to be about 18 feet from the goal posts, and the goalkeeper calls this place home for the entire game.
If there are any free kicks during a game, those will take place from within the goal area.
4. Penalty Area
It’s important to know where the penalty areas are when playing a game of soccer.
This area extends 54 feet out from the goal posts and is where you’ll usually find the goalkeeper using his or her hands to defend the goal.
If there is a penalty from defense within the penalty area, there will be a penalty kick to be had from the penalty mark.
5. Penalty Mark
So, what is the penalty mark?
It is a place on the soccer field marked for where a penalty kick takes place.
Though it varies from field to field, this is at the center of the goal, 36 feet from the goal line.
6. Penalty Arc
You’ve likely seen the small arc-shape at the front of the penalty box on a soccer field.
But do you know what it’s there for?
This area is to keep other players away from this part of a field during a penalty kick.
The only players allowed within the penalty arc are the goalkeeper and the person kicking the penalty shot.
Corners are an important part of the soccer field, especially when playing professionally.
The next time that you’re at a soccer game, look for the flag that can be found on the corners of the field and on the corner arc.
The corner arc is just three feet around, and it is where the ball is placed when the ref calls a corner kick.
The flags in the area have to be five feet tall.
That is to help reduce the chance of any injury to the player or the spectators.
Natural Grass vs. Artificial Turf
One of the greatest debates in soccer history is whether or not to play on natural grass or artificial turf.
Now, these aren’t the only two options, especially when you keep in mind that soccer is occasionally played indoors.
Let’s talk in detail about each of these surface options and what their benefits and disadvantages are.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of natural grass soccer fields:
The majority of professional players tend to lean towards enjoying the feel of a natural grass field more than turf.
While it can easily become damaged from excessive use or local weather conditions, they’re inexpensive to repair and can be done quite easily.
It also won’t hold onto heat like artificial turf does, making it more comfortable for the players.
Another great thing about natural grass is that it can be lined easily, or the lines can be removed with natural growth.
Depending on where the field is, the grass may be covered by snow the majority of the year, or you may have to plant grass seed in the summer for it to grow enough to be used the following year.
Natural grass also does require a bit of upkeep, including marking and mowing, but thankfully, this isn’t a ton of work, and you can do it in a short amount of time with the right materials.
Heavy rains can make the field so muddy that it’s not possible to play on, which may result in the cancellation of games that people were looking forward to.
When it comes to artificial turf, here are the benefits and drawbacks:
One of the best things about playing on artificial turf is that you can play on it year-round, game after game.
You don’t have to worry about a field turning over or waiting for it to dry off in order to play.
With turf fields, climate doesn’t hold any value as you won’t be concerned about whether or not there’s enough sun or humidity for it to grow.
Also, with natural grass fields, you’ll have to use chemicals to keep it intact, but with artificial turf, you won’t have to use any pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
Something that everyone will also enjoy about artificial turf is that it saves a ton of water since there’s no need to water it to keep it growing at a healthy rate.
It may surprise you to hear that there are also far fewer injuries when games are played on artificial turf because it’s softer than real grass.
Lastly, overall, artificial turf is more cost-friendly in the long run.
One of the main cons is that turf fields seem to have a bad rep, even though there are plenty of benefits to reap.
Even FIFA made headlines when they agreed to hold the Women’s World Cup in 2015 on artificial turf instead of natural grass.
Also, though you may not be spraying pesticides on artificial turf, you may be able to spot heavy metals and other potentially dangerous materials.
Still, the chance for this happening can be reduced if you buy turf from a trusted manufacturer.
Last but not least, because artificial turf holds in heat, the field can get really hot for those playing on it.
This can increase the risk of dehydration, among other health concerns, especially during the summer.
Relation Between Cleats and the Soccer Field
Depending on where you’re playing a game, you may have to bring a different pair of soccer cleats.
You cannot use one pair of cleats on all types of fields, but unfortunately, not every player knows that.
There are six main types of cleats available that match whatever type of soccer field surface someone is playing on.
Below are the main cleats and where you can wear each of them.
Firm Ground or FG cleats are for natural grass fields.
You can't wear them in fields that get a lot of rain since they can't withstand a lot of moisture.
On the opposite end of things, AG cleats are for the artificial ground because they have extra traction and give the player more control.
It is important to note that you cannot wear AG cleats on natural grass.
If you live somewhere like Portland, where it rains a lot, and you prefer to play on natural grass, you’ll need a pair of soft ground cleats.
SG cleats sink right into the turf, giving you extra grip and stability for a real game.
As you can likely guess from the acronym, IN cleats are used for indoor use only.
The grips and sole on the shoe are different from that of outdoor cleats.
Apparently, you cannot wear them on the types of soccer fields we discussed earlier, especially professional soccer fields.
Another type of cleat you can wear in artificial fields are TF cleats.
These have smaller studs to help the shoe easily grip onto the artificial turf.
These cleats are also fairly similar to firm ground or FG cleats, and you can use them in either type of field.
Lastly, you can use hard ground or HG cleats on harder surfaces only.
While the majority of players haven’t even heard of HG cleats, you can wear them best on grass, gravel, or even pavement.
So, how big is a professional soccer field?
Even professional soccer fields range quite a bit from Europe to America, but the players quickly get used to the size difference.
Remember that in general, a soccer field sizing will vary, depending on the age of the players.
Even though there are specific answers above, these can range quite a bit depending on which country you’re in.
Remember also to keep in mind the different types of surfaces, including artificial turf and natural grass, and what their differences are.
Also, keep in mind the appropriate cleats to wear on a specific ground or playing field.
Now that you’re practically an expert, it’s time to throw on a pair of cleats, grab your favorite soccer ball, and head out onto the pitch for a friendly game!