A soccer field (also known as a football pitch or football field) is the playing surface for soccer. The dimensions, measurements, and markings of the field of play are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game.
The Playing Field
A match can be played on either natural or artificial surfaces, according to the rules of the competition. When artificial soccer surfaces are utilized in a competitive match, the character must comply with the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf or the International Artificial Turf Standard and be green in color.
You can use wet or dry whitening powder based on ground calcium carbonate that is non-toxic for line marking and pitch lines. Never use hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide). The chemical can burn the skin and cause irritation.
Both its dry and wet forms are capable of causing serious damage to the eyes and skin when in contact.
In order to minimize the effect of the setting sun on players and especially the goalkeepers, the main playing field direction should be roughly north (between 285° and 20°) to south.
Markings On The Professional Soccer Field
Official FIFA soccer fields must be rectangular and marked with lines. They mark the boundaries of the area for the players. Touchlines mark the longer boundary lines. Goal lines mark the two shorter lines.
Two halves of the field are divided by a halfway line, which connects the halves. At the intersection of the halfway line is the center mark. Around it is marked a circle with a 9.15 m (10 yards) radius.
To ensure that defending players retreat when a corner kick is being taken, distance markings can be placed off the field of play at 9.15 meters (10 yards) from the corner arc and right angles to the soccer goal lines and touchlines.
Official Soccer Field Dimensions
The length of the soccer field touchline must be greater than the length of the goal line. The minimum length of the touchline is 90 meters (100 yds), and the maximum is 120 meters (130 yds). The minimum width of the goal line is 45 meters (50 yds), and the maximum is 90 meters (100 yds). The actual line markings must be of the same width, not more than 12 cm (5 ins).
For international matches, The minimum length of the touchline is 100 meters (110 yds), and the maximum is 110 meters (120 yds). Likewise, the minimum width of the goal line for international matches is 64 meters (70 yds), and the maximum is 75 meters (80 yds).
These FIFA official soccer field dimensions apply to men’s and women’s adult matches. For players 16 years or younger, the dimensions of the soccer pitch should be reduced in size.
Unlike baseball diamonds or tennis courts, football pitches are not the same soccer field size. Many professional soccer teams prefer the regulation soccer pitch size of 105 by 68 meters (115 yds by 74 yds) with an area of 7,140 square meters or 1.76 acres.
Pitch Dimensions For Younger Players
The recommended standard soccer field size for children and youth soccer by the Football Association and US Soccer.
- U7/U8 – 40 x 30 yards – 5v5 recommended soccer field dimensions
- U9/U10 – 60 x 40 yards – 7v7 recommended soccer field dimensions
- U11/U12 – 80 x 50 yards – 9v9 recommended soccer field dimensions
- U13/U14 – 90 x 55 yards – 11v11 recommended soccer field dimensions
- U15/U16 – 100 x 60 yards – 11 v 11 recommended soccer field dimensions
The distance between soccer fields should be a minimum of six yards when they are adjacent. There should be four additional yards for spectators.
The Goal And Penalty Area
At 5.50 meters (6 yds) from the inside of each goalpost, two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line. A line parallel to the goal line connects these two lines, which extend into the field of play by 5.50 meters (6 yds). The goal area refers to the space between these two lines and the goal line. This is known as the 6 yard box in soccer.
At 16.5 meters (18 yds) from the inside of each goalpost, two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line. A line drawn parallel to the goal line connects these lines, extending into the field of play for 16.5 meters (18 yards).
A penalty area is defined as the area between these lines and the goal line. Each penalty area is marked with a penalty mark 11 meters (12 yds) from the midpoint between the goalposts and equally spaced from them.
An arc is drawn within the penalty area with a radius of 9.15 meters (10 yds) from the center of each penalty mark.
The Corner Arc And Flagpost
Each soccer field corner must have a non-pointed top flagpost and a flag not less than 1.5 meters (5 ft) high. A flagpost may also be placed at each end of the halfway line, not less than 1 meter (1 yd) outside the touchline. A quarter-circle (1 yd radius) is drawn around each corner flagpost inside the field of play.
On each goal line, a goal must be positioned in the center. In addition, there are two upright posts equidistant from each corner flagpost and a horizontal crossbar across the top of the goal. Wood, metal, or another approved material must be used for the goalposts and crossbars.
They must be square, rectangular, round, or elliptical in shape and must not pose a danger to soccer players. The soccer goal size is 7.32 meters (8 yds) between the posts and 2.44 meters (8 ft) from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground.
Posts and crossbars must be white. Neither the goalposts nor the crossbar exceeds 12 cm (5 inches) in width or depth. The goalposts and crossbar must have the same width as the goal lines.
The goals and ground behind them may be equipped with nets, provided they are adequately supported and do not hinder the goalkeeper. Portable goals may only be used if they are securely anchored to the ground.
The Surface OF A Soccer Field
In most cases, natural grass or artificial turf is used for the surface of the soccer pitch. Some amateur and recreational teams play on dirt fields, depending on the country and the facilities. On the other hand, Artificial turf fields have similar playing characteristics to natural grass.
Modern artificial soccer turf behaves identical to natural grass, as does player-to-surface interaction. Although a similar behavior, it’s not advisable wearing artificial soccer shoes on natural turf fields and vice versa.
Artificial turf allows soccer players worldwide to play their favorite sport year-round under ideal conditions. A playable soccer pitch is no longer an issue. No more abandoned matches. A green artificial pitch is required by FIFA.
Natural grass fields are more difficult to maintain than the new generation of artificial surfaces. As a result, a soccer field will require much less maintenance time and significantly reduced costs. Men’s World Cup soccer tournaments must be played on natural grass.
What Length Should The Grass Be On A Soccer Field
On a soccer field, the grass is usually 25-30 millimeters long. At the elite level of the game, the grass is cut to see visible stripes. Giving vertical references for the match officials, it is supposed to make it easier to spot offsides.
Light reflects off grass blades, causing the stripes. The grass hasn’t been cut at different heights, nor are there two types of grass. Stripes are created by bending the grass blades in different directions.
Different turf grasses are needed for different soccer fields based on their climate. In cooler climates, ryegrass, meadow grass, and tall fescue are commonly used. In countries closer to the Equator, tropical grass species like bermudagrass, zoysia species, and seashore paspalum are used.
Drainage of the soccer field is an important point to consider. Ideally, the root zone should be dominated by sand below the pitch turf to avoid the pitch being filled with water in heavy rain. A piping-drained base should be below.
UEFA Soccer Field Requirements
As a UEFA requirement, the host (the home team) must do everything possible to ensure that the pitch is in the best possible condition for play.
To ensure the field of play can be available in a suitable condition on any match day, facilities such as pitch heating and a pitch cover must be provided if the climatic conditions require it.
To determine whether the pitch is suitable for hosting matches in a competition, the UEFA administration or a third party mandated by UEFA may inspect the pitch before and during the competition.
UEFA Grass Height
The grass on natural grass pitches cannot exceed 30mm, and the entire surface must be cut the same height. There should be no difference in the height of the cut during training sessions and matches.
Referees and UEFA match delegates may request that the host association reduce the grass height for matches and training sessions if necessary. However, UEFA must be notified of any partial or complete pitch replacement.
The home team must make an announcement about pitch-watering at the pre-match organizational meeting. It is vital to water the pitch evenly rather than only in certain areas. As a general rule, pitches must be watered 60 minutes before kickoff.
A further watering of the pitch may take place if the host association decides so in the qualifying competition and if UEFA decides so in the final tournament, provided it takes place as follows:
Depending on the countdown, between 15 and 10 minutes before kick-off (or between 20 and 15 minutes before kick-off during the final tournament);
Halftime (up to five minutes, allowing substitute players to warm up on the field).
Paint For Soccer Fields
The appearance of a soccer field can be enhanced by painting it. Aerosol cans and 5-gallon buckets are the two main types of paint available for this purpose. Aerosol cans are convenient for small areas, like the corner arcs and the penalty spot. It is more cost-effective and provides a richer look to use 5-gallon buckets of soccer field paint on larger areas.
Both ready-to-use (RTU) and concentrate sports field paints are available. The convenience of RTU paint is excellent, but concentrate paint is usually a better deal because you can control the amount of dilution and additives you add.
Diluting concentrate paint will vary depending on the line you’re painting and whether you’re adding a plant growth regulator (PGR) to slow turf growth.
To apply bulk paint, you will need an airless paint machine, such as the StadiumMax Wheel Transfer Line Marking Machine. For detailed instructions, be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s manual. A professional-looking soccer field can be achieved with quality paint.
How to Lay Out a Soccer Field In 10 Steps
The following equipment is required:
- Two people
- Two tape measures (300′)
- Four wooden stakes (pegs or screwdrivers)
- Approximately one can of paint
- One playing surface field diagram that is the correct size
The purpose of this guide is for people who are planning to “mark the corners” of a field so that, in the future, line stripers can come along and stripe the lines.
It should take two people approximately 30-45 minutes to lay out the soccer field markings. We assume you know where the first goal line should be. The field will be square to the first goal line, but only if the first line is positioned properly.
After you have finished painting these marks on the soccer field, it will be ready for someone to “pull strings” and stripe lines.
One corner of the goal line should have a wooden stake or peg through it. The tape should now be pulled to the opposite corner. This is the opposite corner flag. Place stake 2 through the second tape measure.
At stake 2, paint a corner mark. Holding your tape measure, walk back towards stake (1) and place a mark on the goal line where the penalty box, 6 yard area, goal posts, and center of the soccer field (for the penalty arc) are located. Mark the corner at stake 1.
Using the distances in your field diagram, bring tape measure 1 to the halfway line and tape measure 2 to the halfway line at the same time. Hammer in stake 3 at the intersection of the tape measures.
Pull tape measure 2 and paint a mark for the field’s center line.
Pull the tape measure 2 out to the length of the soccer touchline and tighten it so it follows a straight line from stake 1 past stake 3. Stake 4 should be at the field’s length. This corner should be marked.
Walk back down tape measure 1 and place a mark on the goal line where the penalty box, 6 yard area, goal posts, and center of the soccer field are located. Once you reach stake (4), roll the tape measure up behind you. Grab stake (4).
Move the stake (2) and the tape measure (2) to the first penalty kicks mark. Measure the length of the soccer field with the measuring tape. Mark each corner of the penalty area with the paint.
Mark the first 6 yards with the stake and tape measure (2). Tighten the tape along the length of the field. Paint the corner marks for each six-yard area.
One person marks the penalty spot on each end of the field, and one person marks the center of the soccer field with a stake and a tape measure.
Place stake (2) and tape measure (2) at the other goal mark. On each end, mark the corner of the goal area.
It is possible for anyone to come along and pull the strings from mark to mark and stripe the field. This requires no measuring.
How To Line A Soccer Field
When lining a soccer field, you should walk carefully and steadily while spraying paint on the grass. As you walk up and down the field, take your time to ensure that your lines and markings are straight and even.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!