How Long Is A Soccer Game Length?

Although the average length of a soccer game is 90 minutes, this can vary depending on a number of factors such as the experience level of the players and the style of the game being played. In actual play, a number of considerations affect how long a soccer match will last. 

At Soccer Handbook, we are fans of every variation of the beautiful game, including futsal! The guidelines provided by the United States Soccer Federation will serve as the basis for the discussion that will follow in this article regarding the length of games played outside.

How Long Is A Soccer Game Length?

Why Soccer Games are Different Lengths?

Because US Soccer organizes leagues for players as young as six years old all the way up to the professional level, game lengths need to vary. Just as the size of the soccer field and the size of the soccer goal vary, game lengths also vary to be appropriate for players’ ages and skill levels.

It is impossible for a group of six children to run for the full ninety minutes. During a youth soccer game, if you have ever seen a player get tired and sit down in the middle of the game, imagine both teams sitting down or lying down prior to the halftime whistle. 

To be fair, many people who play in adult recreational soccer leagues would not be able to make it through the full ninety minutes. Game times are strictly adhered to because, in the long run, doing so creates a more positive experience for younger players participating in the game. The goal of youth leagues is to ensure that the sport is playable by as many athletes as possible.

How Long is Halftime in Soccer?

Halftime for all levels of play, from the Under-15 level all the way up to the professional leagues, is fifteen minutes long. In leagues for players ages 10 to 14, there is a ten-minute break between halves. U6-U8 games typically have a 10-minute halftime.

There will most likely be brief breaks of five minutes between each quarter of a youth soccer game that is divided into quarters rather than halves. There will be a longer break of ten minutes between halves of a game that is divided into halves rather than quarters.

The length of the halftime break varies from league to league, and in the youngest leagues, it is typically up to the discretion of the referee.

How Long is a Youth Soccer Game?

The length of time that is allotted for each soccer game in a youth league can range anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour, and it always includes a halftime break. The most notable increase in game length occurs between the U6 and U8 leagues, when the length of a soccer game actually doubles from what it was in the U6 league.

  • U6 Soccer Game Length
  • Quarter Length: 6 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 24 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 10 minutes
  • Overtime Length: No Overtime

Children participate in U6 league soccer with the goals of having fun, developing a passion for the game of soccer, and gaining an understanding of the fundamentals of teamwork and cooperation. This is reflected in the length of the games for the U6 age group, which are divided into four quarters of six minutes each. At this level, the teams are much smaller, the games are shortened, and children frequently compete in tournaments.

Because the objective at this level is for children to gain as much experience with the game as they can, coaches frequently make their players switch positions at the end of each quarter. Every single player needs to have the chance to work on both their offensive and defensive skills.

  • U8 Soccer Game Length
  • Quarter Length: 12 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 48 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 10 minutes
  • Overtime Length: No Overtime

The U8 league is the only other league besides the U6 league that plays its games in quarters rather than halves. The fact that a quarter for a U8 game is exactly twice as long as a quarter for a U6 game is an indication of how significantly the game differs when played in these two different leagues. The final games ever to be played in quarters are those played in U8 leagues. 

At the U8 and U9 levels, certain leagues will play halves that are only 25 minutes long; however, once players enter the U10 level, they will be required to play traditional halves for the remainder of their careers as soccer players.

  • U10 Soccer Game Length
  • Half Length: 25 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 50 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 10 minutes
  • Overtime Length: No Overtime

The first full transition from quarters to halves occurs in U10 Soccer, marking the beginning of the game’s progression. Although games are almost exactly the same length as those played at the U8 level, the format shifts to two halves of 25 minutes each. 

Additionally, this is the final youth league that does not have any games that go into overtime. The game may appear to be exactly the same as it was played in the U8 league, but the change to two longer halves has a significant impact on both the players and the teams. 

Teams are now required to learn how to maintain momentum for significantly longer than they have ever been expected to do so in the past.

  • U11-U12 Soccer Game Length 
  • Half Length: 30 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 60 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 10 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 10-minute halves

At the U11 and U12 levels of soccer, for the first time ever, games will now have the option of going into overtime. The total playing time of the game is extended by ten minutes, and any overtime played may add an additional twenty minutes.  

While the game format and overall time aren’t significantly different, players will remember the challenge of their first game that goes to overtime.

  • U13-U14 Soccer Game Length
  • Half Length: 35 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 70 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 10 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 10-minute halves

U13-U14 soccer games add an additional 10 minutes, bringing the full-time total to 70 minutes. The U13–14 leagues represent the beginning of the next phase of competition. 

U13–U14 is a pivotal year for many players because it is the year in which they decide whether or not to continue playing the sport, especially when one considers that adult soccer games are only 20 minutes longer overall.

 In order for players to maintain their highest level of performance throughout the entirety of the game, they will need to put in the necessary work in the gym.

How Long is a High School Soccer Game?

In practice, neither FIFA nor the US Soccer Federation have any control over the rules that govern high school competitions. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), also known as “state high school associations,” established rules for games played at high schools. 

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) gives each state the ability to set its own regulations for the length of high school soccer games; however, the vast majority of states play games with two halves that each last 40 minutes. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) recommends that league games for ages 17–19 be split into two halves of 45 minutes each, which is the standard game length for college and professional soccer. This suggests a slight departure from that recommendation.

  • U15-U16 Soccer Game Length
  • Half Length: 40 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 80 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 15 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 15-minute halves

The regulation game time as well as the overtime periods have both been extended for the U15 and U16 levels of soccer, which is one of the most significant changes. This is the first time that the length of overtime has been increased to 15-minute halves in any of these leagues. 

When it comes down to the final ten minutes of play, the difference can be decisive for the team that does not have anything left in the tank.

  • U17-U19 Soccer Game Length
  • Half Length: 45 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 90 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 15 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 15-minute halves

Finally, once players enter the U17–U19 leagues, they start competing in matches that are on par with those of professional and collegiate teams. In spite of the fact that they are entering the final stage of their youth careers, they are experiencing soccer for the first time at the adult level.

The players will have to come to terms with the fact that they have reached the pinnacle of their youth careers in terms of both their skills and the age at which they can compete, and that their youth careers are now over.

How Long is a College Soccer Game?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which governs college soccer, uses the same format for the length of games as both the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and FIFA, which is 90 minutes. This is despite the fact that the NCAA is yet another distinct organization.

  • Half Length: 45 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 90 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 15 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 15-minute halves

The transition from playing soccer in high school to playing soccer in college will, for the vast majority of players, present new endurance challenges in addition to skill challenges. The additional 10 minutes of game time is a fourth gear that requires dedicated conditioning and cardio to achieve.

How Long is a Professional Soccer Game?

Professional soccer game lengths are broken down as follows.

  • Half Length: 45 minutes
  • Full-Time Total: 90 minutes
  • Half-Time Length: 15 minutes
  • Overtime Length: 2 15-minute halves

The transition from playing at the collegiate level to playing at the professional level presents many challenges, the majority of which are related to the differences in skill. College teams are more likely to have rosters that are not well balanced than their professional counterparts. Teams that compete at the professional level always have players of a high caliber in each position. 

soccer game time

What is Stoppage Time?

There is a period of time called stoppage time that is added to the end of each half of the game to make up for any time that was lost due to interruptions in the game’s play. One example of this would be when the ball is thrown in from the sideline or when the time it takes to get the ball to the corner of the field for a corner kick. 

The addition of pressure to the end of the first half and the end of the game by means of stoppage time is one of the aspects that contribute to the excitement that is associated with the sport of soccer.

What is Extra Time?

When the score is tied after the allotted amount of time has passed in a soccer game, the game goes into extra time, also known as overtime. For instance, if the score was 1-1 after the initial 90 minutes of play in a professional league, the game would go into extra time.

The 30-second increments of additional time are broken up into two 15-minute chunks. In the event that neither team scores during the additional time, the winner of the match will be determined by penalty kicks.

A Soccer Game Length

The Final Whistle

That pretty much covers everything there is to know about the length of time a soccer game lasts at each of the different levels.  

The length of soccer games is relatively consistent across states and leagues in the United States, despite the fact that the rules may be altered for certain tournaments or other types of events. 

Before the kick-off whistle, having both teams come to an agreement on the lengths of the halves, the lengths of the half-time breaks, and the question of whether or not there will be any overtime is the simplest way to eliminate the possibility of any misunderstandings arising during the course of the game.

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