How long is a soccer game? For professional, high school, college & youth game

Needless to say, soccer is the most famous sport in the world. Along with major tournaments like the Euro or the World Cup, they have millions of people watching. However, there is a common answer for beginners: “How long is a soccer game usually?” In the article below, ScottFujita will give you the answer!

1. How long is a soccer game usually?

A soccer game is estimated to last 90 minutes and divided into two 45-minute halves. The time of the professional football matches is 90 minutes of the regular time and 5-10 minutes extra.

In tournaments, extra time is played when a winner needs to be declared. Smaller age groups play under 90 minutes and can play innings.

How long is a soccer game

How long is soccer game

2. How long does a professional soccer game last?

At the highest level of sport, professional teams around the world follow the “Rules of the Game” with Rule 7 regarding the timing of a match. This means a match lasts for two equal 45-minute halves.

So a normal soccer game should last 90 minutes. Each round is played continuously which means that whenever the ball is out of play, the referee does not stop the clock.

Between halves there is a 15-minute break where the players can rest, get in contact with fluids and listen to advice, encouragement and tactics from the coach. This is often referred to as “half time”.

Additional time

At the end of each 45-minute half, the referee may also add ‘extra time’. Often referred to as injury time or stoppage time, these stoppage time make up for any time lost during the match.

This could be due to:

  • Replacement.
  • Players are injured and need to be evaluated or removed from the field.
  • Waste of time (especially if a team is leading).
  • Disciplinary Measures (so if the game continues to be stopped due to a foul).
  • Delays due to VAR check by referee.
  • Drink break or cooling break (these depend on competitors).
  • Any other cause for wasting time (e.g. during best goal celebrations).
  • This time is usually signaled by a fourth referee holding up a sideboard to let players, coaches and fans know exactly how much time has been added.

When teams play this added time, the umpire can always add if needed but not reduce it. If a penalty kick is taken at the end of the game, the period will be extended until it is taken. The referee will decide when the match ends by blowing their whistle.

Penalties and extra time

While this is true for tournament matches, in certain cup or knockout matches there needs to be a clear winner. This means that a game that ends in a draw can go directly to a penalty shoot-out or a replay will be played at a later date. Alternatively, the tie could go to extra time instead.

That is when the next two halves of 15 minutes each are played at the end of the allotted time with a short 5-minute break separating them. 

If the match is still tied at the end of this added time, the match will go to a penalty shootout to determine the winner and the team to advance to the next round. With a different player taking each, Each team takes 5 penalties, alternating between them. The team that scores the most points out of their five wins the game.

If there is still a tie after that, the two teams will die suddenly with each team taking a penalty until one player misses and the other players score to put their team through.

Some of soccer games will have penalty and extra time

3. How long do college and high school football games last?

The National College Athletes Association (NCAA) Football Rules Book records the length of a college soccer game and the overtime extension in Rule 7, which states that games consist of two 45 minute periods.

In the event of a tie game, the following rules are set forth in Rule 7:

  • Penalties always have to be taken, even prolonging the game. Whether the free kick is taken within regulation time or injury time, play is extended to allow the penalty kick to be taken.
  • Two 10-minute extra periods will be played. These extra-times are subject to a no-win rule, which means that the first team to score in extra time wins the match.
  • Before the start of time, the away team will call a coin toss, the winning team will decide to start with the ball or choose which way they want to go.
  • If a second additional time is needed, the teams will switch ends of the pitch before the start of the period.
  • If the score is still tied at the end of the second extra time, the soccer game will be declared a draw.
  • For regular season games, a game may end in a draw after additional time has ended. For post-season games, including conference tournaments and NCAA tournament games, overtime will be played.

What about overtime?

When a winner needs to be declared, overtime is only played. If the soccer match is still tied after extra time has ended, the game will go to a penalty shootout to determine who advances.

High school teams follow state-administered rules of the game, most of which follow the National League of State High School Associations.

The high school soccer game is a bit shorter than the college game, with two 40-minute halves for a total of 80 minutes of play. They have a 10-minute halftime break, which can be shortened if the referees and coaches of both teams agree to reduce the time before the start of the game.

High school teams were divided into two extra periods of 10 minutes each, to break a tie. This rule varies slightly from state to state.

Youth soccer games last less than 90 minutes

Youth soccer games last less than 90 minutes

4. How long does a youth soccer game last?

Youth soccer leagues follow different rules. For example, the number of players on each team may be different (compared to the usual 11) and the number of substitutions in a soccer game may be higher (than 3 normally allows).

The prescribed game time depends on different age groups. Here’s how the United States Youth Soccer Association classify it:

  • Under 6: Four quarters 6 minutes.
  • Under 8: Four rounds of 12 minutes.
  • Under 10: Two 25-minute halves.
  • Under 11 & Under 12: Two 30-minute halves. (Added Time: Two 10-minute halves.)
  • Under 13 & Under 14: Two 35-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 10-minute halves.)
  • Under 15 & Under 16: Two 40-minute halves. (Additional Time: Two 15-minute halves.)
  • Under 17, Under 18 and Under 19: Two 45-minute halves. (Extra Time: Two 15-minute halves.)

How about added time?

Extra time can only be played when the match ends in a draw and a winner needs to be declared. For example, multi-team tournaments or a championship game will use overtime to determine which team goes ahead and ultimately wins.

If a team scores enough goals to win the match in the first overtime, the second additional time will not be played and the game will be over.

In 10U leagues and below, matches end at the end of the allotted time. Younger age groups tend to focus more on player development, dribbling and passing, discipline and teamwork, rather than on winning.

Final Thoughts

Through this article, you have the answer to the question: “How long is a soccer match?”. The most common answer is 90 minutes. However, in each tournament like professional soccer or youth soccer, we have different time frames.

In addition, you also have to pay attention to other times such as stoppage time. This information will help your soccer watching experience become more complete. If you have any questions regarding the question “how long are soccer games?”, don’t forget to leave it in the comments below!

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