How Long Is A Soccer Game?

Are All Soccer Games The Same Length?

Many people assume that all soccer games are 90 minutes long, but the truth is that the length of a soccer game depends on multiple factors like the type of soccer being played as well as the age of the players. 

Soccer referee looking at his watch for soccer game length

While at Soccer Handbook, we love all forms of soccer (like futsal!) this article will focus on the length of outdoor soccer games based on US Soccer Federation guidelines.

Why Soccer Games are Different Lengths

Because US Soccer organizes leagues from as young as six years old all the way through to the professional leagues, the game lengths need to be different, just like the size of the soccer field and the size of the soccer goal vary, the length of games varies to be appropriate for ages and skill levels.

A team of six-year-olds can’t run for ninety minutes. If you’ve ever seen a youth soccer game where one player gets tired and sits down in the middle of the game, imagine both teams sitting or lying down before the halftime whistle. 

To be fair, many adult recreational soccer league players wouldn’t make it ninety minutes, either. Game times are enforced because, ultimately, they make the game a better experience for young players. Youth leagues aim to make the game as accessible to as many athletes as possible.

How Long is Halftime in Soccer?

From U15 all the way up through the professional leagues, teams have fifteen minutes for half-time. U10-U14 leagues have ten minutes for halftime. U6-U8 games typically have a 10-minute halftime.

Youth soccer games divided by quarters instead of halves will likely have short five-minute breaks between the first and second quarters as well as the third and fourth quarters, with a ten-minute break at halftime.

Overall, how long halftime is varies, and in the youngest leagues, it is typically up to the referee’s discretion.

How Long is a Youth Soccer Game?

Youth soccer game times vary, but typically in the youth league, soccer games range from 30 minutes to an hour with a half-time break. The most significant change in game length comes between U6 and U8 leagues, where the soccer game length actually doubles.

Youth soccer player dribbling - youth soccer game length

U6 Soccer Game Length

Quarter Length: 6 minutes
Full-Time Total: 24 minutes

Half-Time Length: 10 minutes

Overtime Length: No Overtime

U6 league soccer is about kids having fun, falling in love with the game of soccer, and learning the most basic fundamentals of teamwork and cooperation. The length of the U6 soccer games reflects this, providing players with four 6-minute quarters. Teams are small-sided, games are short, and kids often play tournaments at this level.

Often coaches will have players rotate positions at the end of each quarter because this level is truly about kids getting as much exposure to the game as possible. Every player needs the opportunity to develop 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

U8 is the only other league besides U6 that operates with quarters rather than halves. U8 quarters are twice as long as U6, which indicates how much the game changes between these two leagues. U8 leagues are the last time games are played in quarters. 

Some leagues will play 25-minute halves at the U8 or U9 level, but once players enter U10, it’s traditional halves for the rest of their soccer playing days.

U10 Soccer Game Length

Half Length: 25 minutes
Full-Time Total: 50 minutes

Half-Time Length: 10 minutes

Overtime Length: No Overtime

U10 Soccer represents the first complete shift from quarters to halves for soccer matches. While games are nearly the same exact length as U8 games, the format changes to two twenty-five-minute halves. 

This is also the last youth league that does not have overtime play. While the game seems identical to the U8 league, the switch to two longer halves has a dramatic effect on players and teams. 

Teams now must learn how to manage momentum for much longer than they’ve ever had to before.

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

U11 and U12 soccer represent the first time that games now have the option of including overtime. Game time increases by ten minutes total, and then overtime can 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. U13-14 leagues represent the beginning of the next phase in competition. 

Considering that adult soccer games are only 20 minutes longer overall, U13-U14 is a decisive year for many players that decided whether they continue playing the sport.

 Players will need to train and condition in order to maximize their effectiveness for the entire length of the game.

middle school soccer players - middle school soccer game length

How Long is a High School Soccer Game?

High school games are not actually guided by FIFA or the US Soccer Federation. High school games are conducted according to the rules passed by NFHS or the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

The NFHS allows each state to determine its own soccer game length, but the vast majority of states opt for two 40-minute halves. This is slightly different from the US Soccer Federation, which outlines league games for U17-U19 to be two 45-minute halves, equivalent to college and professional soccer game length.

high soccer players - high school soccer game length

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

Two significant changes for U15 and U16 soccer is the increase in both the regulation game time as well as the overtime periods. These leagues represent the first time that overtime length increases to 15-minute halves. 

The difference can be game-deciding to the team that doesn’t have anything left in the tank for those last ten minutes.

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 reach U17 through U19 leagues, they’re playing the same game length as collegiate and professional teams. While this is the last phase of their youth career, it’s simultaneously their first impression of soccer at the adult level.

Players will need to adapt to the fact that they’re at the top of their youth career and skills and that their youth career is over.

How Long is a College Soccer Game?

Despite the fact that college soccer matches are governed by yet another different organization (the NCAA), they follow the same game-length format as both FIFA and US Soccer Federation which is

Half Length: 45 minutes
Full-Time Total: 90 minutes

Half-Time Length: 15 minutes

Overtime Length: 2 15-minute halves

For most soccer players moving from their high school experience to college will represent a new endurance challenge, as well as 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

Instead of a change in game length, much of the challenge in the transition from collegiate to professional is the skill differences. In college, teams are more likely to have unbalanced rosters. Professional teams are made up of high-caliber players at every position. 

professional soccer player - professional soccer game length

What is Stoppage Time?

Stoppage time is time that is added to the end of each half of the game for any time that was lost during stoppages in play. An example would be when the ball goes out for a throw-in or the time spent getting a ball to the corner for a corner kick. 

Stoppage time is part of what makes soccer thrilling because how it adds pressure to the end of the first half and the end of the match.

What is Extra Time?

Extra time or overtime in soccer occurs when both teams are tied at the end of the full-time. For example, in a professional league, extra time would occur if the score was 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes.

Extra time is divided into two 15-minute periods. If neither team scores during extra time, then the game is decided by penalty kicks.

The Final Whistle

That covers just about everything there is to know about how long a soccer game lasts at every level. 

While rules can change for tournaments or other events, the length of soccer games is relatively uniform in states and leagues all across the United States. 

Ultimately, the easiest way to ensure there aren’t any misunderstandings is to have both teams agree to half lengths, half-time lengths, and whether or not they’ll be any overtime before the kick-off whistle.

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Our Recent Posts

Table of Contents

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get the latest soccer updates in your mailbox

Social Media