How Many Players on A Soccer Team

How Many Players on A Soccer Team?

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How many players on a soccer team is going to depend on what type of match it is. For any organized soccer game, the number of people on a soccer team is usually going to be 11. This also means that usually the number of players on the soccer field will be 22. 

We say usually because there are many circumstances and events that can alter that figure of 11 up or down. Also, in most soccer matches it will not always be the same 11 players on each team who start the game, that will finish it.

In this article, we'll look at all the facts surrounding the number of players on a soccer team. We explore how that number can change, and one or two unusual events in relation to players on the field.

One, Two, Three, Four...

There is no rule to say how many people should play soccer in any given situation.

One person could play with their soccer ball alone. They could be kicking against a wall . Two players could be practicing passing it to each other. Three might play one vs one with the third acting as a goalkeeper. With four players you now have a two versus two game, and so on.

We could continue until there are a whole crowd of people all playing a mass game of soccer. You can have as many people as you want to play. Although it is very unlikely to get to the point where the world record number of players is challenged.

This was an incredible 2,35 who took part in a sponsored challenge soccer match in Santiago, Chile, in 2016. The game was played for 5 days, lasting 120 hours and the final score was a victory for the white team by 505 goals to 504 goals. There is no truth in the rumor that the shirt swapping after the game took a further 3 days to complete.

How many people on a soccer team

Whether at an amateur or professional level, the number of players in each team should be eleven. Of those eleven players, ten will be outfield players and one player will be designated as the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers are also the only players on the soccer field who can handle the ball.

For the ten outfield players, their positions will generally be in one of three areas. That would be defense, midfield or attack, and within each of those there are specific roles. The formation of each team may also differ depending on the tactics employed and philosophy of the team's coach.

Well-known formations include 4-3-3, 4-4-2, and 4-5-1. There are others, with most teams also coached on how to alter their formation. 

How many players on a soccer field

While at the professional level it would be unlikely for a team not to have eleven players available, it is not impossible. Smaller clubs with limited squads have been known to ask for a postponement due to flu or other viral illnesses outbreaks.

Another reason is when a club have players called up to play for their international team. This leaves the team with a limited number of players. In most countries, the top tiers of the league have no fixtures when international games are due to be played. But, this doesn't apply to lower tiers. If a lower tier club has three or more players called up for international duty, the rules do allow for their match to be postponed.

Substitute players

It may surprise you to know that there was a time when there were no substitutes in soccer. So if a player got badly injured, it was tough luck on their team who had to play on minus a player. This changed in the 1950s when one substitute was allowed for injuries. In the late 1960s two substitutes were allowed. Coaches were then allowed to make tactical substitutions, as well as for injuries.

In recent years the number of substitutions has risen to three, with a fourth allowed if the game goes to extra time. The number of named substitutes that are available has also risen. with as many twelve in some tournaments, which means there is effectively enough players for four teams to play instead of two.

Going Down to Ten or Fewer Players

There are two main reasons why a team might go down to ten or fewer players, and neither of them is desirable. The first is when a team has used all it's allowed substitutes and one of their players gets an injury which requires them to leave the field of play.

The second reason is for discipline when a player receives a straight red card. Or a red card following a second yellow card. In this scenario even if a team has substitutes available it cannot simply put one on to replace the player sent off. They are allowed to make tactical changes and replace another player. This is usually the case if a goalkeeper gets sent off and the substitute goalkeeper gets sent on for an outfield player.

There are several examples where teams have been so undisciplined that they have had more than one player sent off. They then play with nine, eight or even seven players. The laws of soccer state that a match should be abandoned if either team has fewer than seven players on the field. In the rare cases where this occurs, the relevant soccer association imposes their own sanctions. This usually means that the team who did not have enough players on the field, forfeits the match, and points.

I hope this article explained how many players are on a soccer team, who those people are and also how many players are on a soccer field.