How Long Is a Soccer Game? (For Professional, College, and Youth)

How Long Is a Soccer Game? (For Professional, College, and Youth)

Soccer remains one of the most-watched games worldwide. Soccer is fun and entertaining. Sometimes players leave it late and score injury-minute goals. Sometimes, games drag for long, only ending when the referee blows the whistles.

This leaves many asking, how long is a soccer game? Professional and college soccer games last 90 minutes. The 90 minutes are broken into two halves of 45 minutes. When a winner must be found, games are added an extra 30 minutes with halves of 15 minutes. However, youth and small children soccer can be played for less than 90 minutes.

When playing soccer, a clock is kept running to ensure each half lasts 45 minutes. However, some aspects can have the game extending for a few minutes. 

This is called added time once the 45 minutes are over. Added minutes can be 1, 2, 3, or more, depending on factors like injuries, substitutes, and much more.

I’ve seen soccer matches play up to the 97th minute, and it can be frustrating when your team concedes after 90 minutes. 

In the article, I’ll discuss how long a soccer game is professional, in college and high school. Keep reading.

How Long Are Kid Soccer Games?

The length of youth soccer games is quite different depending on the age group. Time varies from two halves of 25 minutes to a maximum of 40 minutes.

Generally, games can last a total of 40 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the age group. The exact time on each half depends on the specific age group playing.

According to the US Youth Soccer guidelines, games should last as follows:

  • Age set 17, 18, and 19 Under: Games last 90 minutes with halves of 45 minutes and 15 minutes overtimes halves
  • Age set 15 & 16 Under: 80 minutes with 40 minutes halves and 15-minute overtime halves
  • Age set 13 & 14 Under: 70 minutes with halves of 35 minutes and two 10 minutes overtime halves
  • Age set 11 and 12 Under: 60 minutes play with 30 minutes halves of two and 10 minutes intervals of two
  • Age set 9 and 10 Under: 50 minutes with halves of 25 each and no overtime
  • Age set 6, 7, and 8 under: Play for 40 minutes with 10-minute quarters and no overtime.

The overtime halves in youth soccer play when a game ends in a tie and the match requires a winner. This is pretty common in the championship and multi-team youth tournament games where teams advance to the final.

kids soccer

If a game goes to overtime, a team that scores more goals in the first overtime wins. Teams don’t have to play the second overtime.

Youth teams of age ten and below usually have games ending at regulation time. The focus is usually on player development, where dribbling, discipline, passing, and teamwork are taught.

How Long Are High School Soccer Games?

The rules are quite different for high school games governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

High school soccer games are slightly shorter with 40-minute halves. This gives a total of 80 minutes of soccer.

The halftime rest period is 10 minutes before players return for the second half of 40 minutes.

When the game goes to overtime, high school soccer games play 10 minutes of each half. However, the rules vary slightly from one state to another.

How Long Are College Soccer Games?

College soccer games last for 90 minutes and play for two halves consisting of 45 minutes each. This is according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) soccer rules.

In case of a tie in a college soccer game, rules allow for penalties or 10-minute overtime halves. Here are some rules for a tie soccer game in college:

  • Penalty kicks are given. Penalties can take place in regulation time, or play can be extended beyond the regulation time.
  • Extra time of 10-minute intervals on each half. The extra time intervals end suddenly when a team scores. The first team that scores within the intervals becomes the winner.
  • In the case of overtime play, a visiting team will toss a coin. The coin toss winner will either start the ball or choose the side to start their play.
  • When the first overtime ends without a winner, the teams will switch sides, and play will continue for 10 more minutes.
  • If the game still ends in a tie after the overtime, the game is recorded as a tie.

It’s important to note that overtime plays only when a winner is a must. If a match ends in a draw after overtime, then penalties will be taken to decide the winner.

In NCAA tournament games, overtime plays when a game ends in a tie.

How Long Is a Professional Soccer Game?

Let’s answer the most basic question. How long is a soccer game?

A soccer game lasts 90 minutes. The 90 minutes consists of two halves. The first half plays for 45 minutes and the second half for another 45 minutes. In between, players take a break of 15 minutes.

Before a soccer game starts, players do a soccer warm-up. This is common practice in most sports. Professional soccer players warm up for a few minutes to get physically ready before a game starts.

The exact minutes in a soccer game are guided by FIFA laws. The laws give clear guidelines on how long a professional soccer game should last.

This is the total soccer minutes length, soccer half-length, and accommodation for lost plays. Below is a breakdown of how long a soccer game should last.

Two periods of play: There are two periods of play in a soccer match. Professional soccer games should last 90 minutes played in two halves of 45 minutes each.

If a game has to play for less than 45 minutes due to various reasons, both teams must have a mutual agreement before the match. However, such incidents are rare in professional leagues where teams strictly adhere to the 45-minute rule per half.

Half-time intervals: This is the period that teams take a break between the two halves. The allowed interval, according to FIFA laws, is 15 minutes. Professional soccer games have rules that state the exact interval time.

A referee can only alter the 15-minute interval time in scenarios that cannot be avoided. For example, bad weather can lead to an extension of such time. However, that can only be done with the consent of the referee.

Allowance of Lost Time: Referees provide an allowance for any lost time during play. Time can be lost during player substitution, injury assessment, and removal of injured players from the field.

However, lost time on each half is added at the referee’s discretion. The lost time is usually called additional time and added on every half.

Penalty Kickoff: Penalty kickoff is given after the added time, and the duration of either half is extended to allow for the penalty to be taken.

Overall, games can last up to 2 hours in professional matches when you consider the half-time intervals and extra time. There is usually a fourth official on the sideline who signals the added time.

In general, the referee can only increase the additional time but not reduce it. Time-wasting in the first half of the game is usually compensated for within the first half. A referee cannot compensate for time-wasting in the first half in the second half.

If, for whatever reason, a soccer match cannot be finished, the game is called abandoned. Depending on the competition rules, the game can be rescheduled to a different date.

Professional soccer is strictly regulated regarding playing time, with referees sticking to FIFA rules. The time is sufficient with players wearing GPS monitors to help track their heart rate, energy-burning, and much more.

You’ve probably wondered why do soccer players wear bras? What you see as a short bra is a sports bra that helps hold the GPS device in place. The bras are usually common in big teams where players wear them during training sessions.

soccer players

You might not see them in competitive matches, but players wear them in test and training matches. They are used to record movements and physical data on the pitch.

The data is used to analyze how fast players can be, where they move often in the field, and much more.

FIFA laws of the game are the official laws that determine the exact time of a soccer game. FIFA is the official body governing soccer across the world, and any changes in professional soccer must be allowed by FIFA.

The official time in all professional games is 90 minutes with both halves playing 45 minutes each. However, referees have the power to add additional time depending on how much time went to waste.

How Long Is a Soccer Game Overtime?

An overtime in a soccer game is also called extra-time. The extra time comes into play when the game ends in a draw in a match where a winner must be found. The referee usually adds 30 minutes of extra time, played in two halves of 15 minutes.

However, in college soccer games, overtime lasts for 10 minutes each half, with the game ending when a team scores.

How Long Do Women’s Soccer Games Last?

Professional women’s soccer lasts 90 minutes, just like professional men’s soccer. Teams play two halves of 45 minutes.

The FIFA rules for women’s soccer are the same for men’s soccer. Women’s college soccer also lasts 90 minutes, with high school, and youth soccer lasts for fewer minutes depending on the age group.

What Is Added Time in Soccer?

Added time in soccer is what most soccer fans refer to as stoppage time. This is the additional time added at the end of both halves to compensate for time wasted.

Professional soccer games adhere to FIFA laws on wasted time. The lost time is accounted for and added at the discretion of referees at the end of both halves. A fourth referee official usually indicates the time, which is also announced on the field.

Additional time is added due to:

  • Time is wasted when players are injured and need to be assessed or removed from the field.
  • When teams make replacements
  • When leading teams intentionally waste time so that the game can end
  • Disciplinary cases when games are stopped due to fouls on players
  • Delays when referees have to check the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.
  • Cooling or drinking breaks
  • Any other event that leads to time-wasting like extended goal celebrations

When a referee awards a penalty at the end of the additional time, time is extended to allow the penalty to be taken.

Overall, it’s the referee that decides when the game ends by blowing the whistle.

How Does Extra Time in Soccer Work?

Extra time is used to determine a winner when a soccer game ends in a tie. For professional soccer games, extra time takes place when a game that requires a winner ends in a time after 90 minutes and stoppage time.

soccer ball and timer

Extra time is also referred to as overtime. At the professional level, extra time is played to the end, and a game does not end when a team scores. 

However, in college and high school soccer, extra time ends when a team scores. The team that scores first is usually declared the winner.

In league matches that don’t require a winner, extra time is not played. However, in tournaments where a winner must be found, extra time is played to allow teams more time to find a winner.

Extra time in professional games is played to the end. However, in college and high school games, extra time ends suddenly when a team scores. This is usually what is referred to as the golden goal.

How Do Penalty Shootouts in Soccer Work?

Penalty shootouts come into play when teams play the full entirety of extra time without finding a winner.

A penalty shootout is a competition where teams must compete to score five penalties each. The competition starts with each team lining up 5 of its best players to take the penalties.

Penalties are taken alternative with each team shooting against the opposing goalkeeper. The winner is the team that gets the most goals after the five penalties.

What happens if the game remains tied after five penalties are taken?

Each will continue sending one player to take a penalty until one team loses. However, one player cannot take a penalty twice until all the 11 players on the team have taken a penalty.

A good example is the 1999 Women’s World Cup between China and the USA. The game ended in a draw after 90 minutes and extra time. This led the game to go into penalties. The USA ended up the winner after scoring 5-4 on penalties.

Do Soccer Players Know How Much Time Is Left?

Soccer players know how much time is left by looking at the giant clock displayed on the stadium. Most professional players have a sense of time and know how much time is left without looking at the clock often.

Apart from the sense of time and looking at the clock, players can see the assistant referee holding the added time.

Why Don’t They Stop the Clock in Soccer?

The clock in soccer is never stopped because assistant referees add the stoppage time wasted during a match.

The clock in soccer only stops in the 45th minute when teams go halftime and in the 90th minute plus added time when the referee ends the game.

Time wasted during injuries and substitution are added as stoppage time after 45 minutes are over. 

How Long Is a Soccer Game for 13 Year Olds?

A soccer game for 13 year olds is played in two halves of 35 minutes. Players take a break after 35 minutes before coming to play the second half for another 35 minutes.

If the game remains a tie, two overtime intervals of 10 minutes are played.

soccer ball on the field

Does a Soccer Game Last 2 Hours?

A soccer game can last 2 hours if you count the overtime. A typical professional soccer game lasts 90 minutes with two halves of 45 minutes. 

However, in case of a tie, the game goes to overtime, where teams play 15 minutes in each half. This can have the game lasting 3 hours.

Is a Soccer Game 120 Minutes?

Yes, a professional soccer game can be a 120 minutes game or more. While the normal regulation time is 90 minutes, a soccer game can be a 120 minutes game when teams go to overtime to find a winner.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Some people might ask how long is a football game to still mean a soccer game. This is because most people outside the USA refer to soccer as football. 

A soccer game generally lasts 90 minutes of regular time. The 90 minutes is played in two halves of 45 minutes each. Wasted time on each half is usually added at the end of the 45 minutes.

However, soccer games can play an extra time of 15 minutes each when games end in a tie and a winner must be found. Youth soccer games can play for less than 45 minutes each half as players focus more on talent development.

So, when does a soccer game end? I hope this article has answered all your questions and made your soccer experience more enjoyable.


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