Soccer goal posts have been involved in fatal accidents and death. More than 500 people are seriously injured in the United States each year. The majority of serious incidents resulted from soccer goal posts tipping over. Most of these soccer goals are unsafe since they are unstable and unanchored or aren’t properly counterbalanced or anchored.
We want to help readers know what to look for when buying new soccer goal posts and describe what they need to do to ensure they are safe by publishing this article. Installed and used correctly, soccer goal posts that follow the correct safety instructions and are maintained shouldn’t cause any injuries.
A goal’s design and construction incorporate three essential aspects that are potential hazards and accident-prone areas.
- How the soccer goal posts are attached to the net. Amputations, deep penetrating wounds, and injuries involving trapping parts of the body (fingers, heads, and so on) have been caused by metal hooks.
- The actual soccer net. Too big of a mesh or too thin a cord can cause a soccer net to cut or trap parts of the body.
- Goal frame. A falling or collapsed goal has caused severe impacts and crushing injuries due to poor design, poor maintenance or modification, or improper installation.
We address each of these issues directly in these notes.
The Introduction To Soccer Goal Posts
Safety standards are a good starting point. EN 748 is the standard for full size soccer goal posts or larger than 5 meters (16.4 feet) wide by 2 meters (6.6 feet). Metal and plastic goals with dimensions of 4.9 m (16 feet) wide by 1.85 m (6.1 feet) high are covered by British Standards Institution Publicly Available Specifications, PAS 36-1 and PAS 36-2. As far as we know, no published standard addresses other sizes of soccer goal posts. However, several North American leagues follow the FIFA Laws, including the MLS, NWSL, USL, WPSL, and US Soccer.
Soccer goal posts that comply with standards for toys (for instance, BS EN 71) are designed for that purpose only. Therefore, they should not be used in formal, organized soccer practices or games.
Soccer Goal Terminology
Soccer Goal Posts: Includes posts and crossbar and any other parts, such as nets, sockets, net support posts, etc.
Soccer Goal Frame: The uprights and crossbars only. Goals are measured by the distance between the insides of the posts. The height of the crossbar is measured from the ground to the underneath of it.
Soccer Net: This net is suspended behind the goal frame to catch the ball, so it is evident whether a goal was scored or not.
Soccer Net Support Posts: Some goals suspend the top back corners of the net from two or more separate posts.
Net Headline: Suspended from the posts of the net support.
Cross Brackets: An element that connects the posts to the sidebars or the elbow brackets to the crossbar at the top or bottom of a goal.
Elbow Bracket: The frame on top of a goal post that supports the net in the correct position behind the goal frame. This is called the roof support frame.
Ground Frame: At ground level, a horizontal frame with three sides. Contains two sidebars and a back bar.
Back Stanchion: Part of the goal that is parallel to the goal line and mounted on the ground or in a plane parallel to the goal line is connected to both the post and the ground frame. A ‘free-standing’ goal and a ‘socketed’ goal are shown in the diagram.
Socketed: Socketed goals are those whose posts are permanently inserted into sockets in the ground. Without sockets, a socketed goal will not stand upright.
Free-standing: ‘movable’ or ‘non-socketed’ goals will stand upright on any flat surface. When using free-standing goals, they must be firmly and adequately anchored or fixed. Weights are often part of free-standing goals, while others are permanently attached.
Fence-hung goals: Typically, a fence-hung goal hinges from the fence or a permanent post of similar size and strength to the fence posts, and it folds or swings back flat against the fence when not in use.
Goal Post Standards And Recommendations
Companies can make and sell soccer goals and nets regardless of whether they follow our recommendations. However, it is recommended that you purchase soccer goal posts that meet the latest standards (PAS 36/2000 or BSEN 748). The manufacturer will be able to show that a goal meets these standards if it does. Avoid buying soccer goal posts that do not satisfy relevant standards.
You should also order the extra accessories and items that you might need when buying soccer goal posts. For example, you may also need weights, chains, locks, and clips for anchoring and stabilizing a goal. Safety warning signs may also be necessary.
Test certificates should be checked. The supplier should provide test certificates to demonstrate that their goals are suitable. Make sure that you buy the same type of goal as the one specified in the test certificate.
Home Made Soccer Goals
Do not use home made or modified goals, as these often fail to meet the most basic safety standards. In addition, home made or modified goals have been involved in the majority of goals-related deaths.
Moving Soccer Goal Posts
Historically, soccer goals are most dangerous when they are moving. Consequently, most soccer goals are not stable because they are detached from anchors, separate or loose weights, fixing points, or sockets.
When moving soccer goal posts, avoid bending or distorting them, which can damage the joints. Consult the manufacturers and facility operators for guidance before attempting to move them. Under no circumstances should you move a full size soccer goal without at least four adults.
Soccer goal posts should never be dragged across the soccer fields. In this manner, the goals are likely to be damaged, as well as the surface, whether it is natural or synthetic. When moving soccer goals, always lift them off the ground.
According to the manufacturer’s instructions, if the soccer goal posts are equipped with wheels, be sure to use them correctly. If the goal is to be moved across a surface, the wheels should be of a suitable type. When four-wheeled goals are pushed in the wrong direction, they can easily topple. Therefore, the uprights should only be moved by pushing them backward.
When used in sufficient amounts and attached to the soccer goals, weights are a reliable, effective way of stabilizing soccer goal posts. Weights that aren’t attached to a goal cannot help stabilize it, which is evident but often ignored. You can use weights on any surface. Depending on the size of your goal, the number and total quantity of weights you need may be quite large – up to 150 kg (330 lbs).
Weights could be:
- Part of the soccer goal posts;
- Attached permanently to the soccer goal posts;
- Directly fixed to it; or
- Attached with short, strong wire cords or chains clipped to the ground next to it.
Existing Soccer Goal Posts
Properly installed soccer goal posts should be safe, but this may no longer be the case over time. The soccer goals may rust and become weak. As a result of exposure to the elements, bolts and other fixings can come loose, break, or become lost. In addition, the soccer goals may come loose from their anchors or may be detached from their sockets and not reattached.
It would be best if you made regular checks on soccer goalposts to prolong their life and to ensure that they are not used in unsafe conditions. Unfortunately, the conditions under which soccer goals are set and used vary so widely that it is impossible to say precisely what checks you should perform.
Checking an open space goal that is permanently installed may be necessary every day, but monitoring a locked away goal and only ever used by an organized club may be relatively infrequent. Depending on the soccer goals, the type and thoroughness of checks required will also vary.
To this end, the following inspection procedure is intended as a guide. The frequency and detail of the checks are up to you. You might want to conduct more frequent inspections if your records show you find faults at every inspection.
An inspection and test of all the properties covered in the relevant standard is the only way to determine whether a soccer goal post continues to meet the specifications. The effects of an informal or partial test cannot be compared with those of a formal test. Soccer goals general condition can be determined through the inspection procedure. Replace or test if there are any doubts brought up by the inspection. If there are any questions about the safety of the soccer goal posts, do not use them.
Our recommendation is to start with three types of inspection procedures.
Once a week at least.
- If the soccer goals are moveable, every time it’s moved.
- Every three months and at the beginning of every season.
- Visually inspect the entire goal. Pay attention to the following.
A goal that has loose or missing bolts, nuts, pins, and other fixings is inoperable. At any moment, it may collapse.
An anchoring point that is firm or evidence that the socket is moving. Unanchored soccer goals are susceptible to falling over. Goals have fallen over and killed people. This is especially dangerous for children.
Net fixings that are broken or missing. The ball can pass between the edge of the net and the ground or the goal frame, confusing whether or not a goal has been scored.
Broken cords in the nets. The net’s mesh size has been chosen to minimize the risk of becoming trapped within it and sustaining injury. Large holes result from broken cords in the net.
Any part of the goal that is bent or damaged. The bends or other damage in the soccer goals are indications that the goal has been over-stressed or misused. In addition, the goal may still have more damage that is not visible, but which could lead to it collapsing or tipping, such as broken internal fixings or sheared pins.
Full Size Soccer Goals Dimensions
Players of varying age groups should use soccer goals that are appropriate to their height. In adult soccer, the goal dimensions are 7.32 meters (24 feet) by 2.44 meters (8 feet) in size, which is the full size of the goal. Goalposts and crossbars must be white in color and have the same width and depth, which is no more than 12 cm (5 inches).
FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) uses these measurements in soccer goals around the world. However, the soccer goal dimensions should be modified for players under 16 and for women, veterans, and players with disabilities. Futsal, which has laws different from soccer, stipulates that goals should be 3 meters (9.85 feet) by 2 meters (6.56 feet).
Based on the game’s rules, the following table shows the size of the soccer goals considered appropriate for the different age groups.
US Youth Soccer – Age Group
- U6 – 6 feet x 4 feet
- U7 – 6 feet x 4 feet
- U8 – 6 feet x 4 feet
- U9 – 18.5 feet x 6.5 feet
- U10 – 18.5 feet x 6.5 feet
- U11 – 21 feet x 7 feet
- U12 – 21 feet x 7 feet
- U13 – 24 feet x 8 feet
It’s even more challenging by a large number of governing bodies at different levels. These governing bodies may have different regulations regarding soccer goal dimensions and size, including FIFA, US Youth Soccer, NCAA, AYSO, and NFHS.
Soccer Goals For Sale
FIFA provides licensed providers of full size soccer goal post manufacturers on their website.
Our favorite manufacturer is the Forza Soccer Goal Posts. These are made of top-notch material, offering high quality at a reasonable price. This premium package of soccer posts and nets is made of 11mm aluminum reinforced with a 5mm braided HDPE net that will bring consistency and quality to match days.
Stadium-style box goalposts are available in five different sizes, so there’s one for your needs. The multi-season net tensioning system keeps nets taut and in pristine condition throughout use. In addition, the free-standing design of the goal means that it does not need to be rooted in the ground, and its weatherproof construction allows it to remain in place all year long.
More importantly, Forza soccer goals meet European, British and American standards. Depending on your age group, Forza soccer goals is probably your one-stop shop as they cater to all budgets.
The Franklin Sports soccer goal post is easy to assemble and use, making it an ideal addition to any backyard or to play a quick game in the park. This galvanized steel portable soccer goal features a durable all-weather net and is great for practicing for all ages! These high-quality professional soccer goal posts and net feature easy-to-assemble pieces that will securely lock, and it comes with six stakes for more stability. With this durable soccer goal, your children will be able to improve their shots and experience the thrill of scoring for hours upon hours.
Pop up soccer goals are the safest option for young children. Not only are they portable, but the lightweight fiberglass material also will not cause serious injury if they were to fall. However, it is still imperative to use the metal pegs to secure the soccer goals. There are many brands available. Our favorite is the USA-based Franklin sports brand which has been manufacturing since 1945.
According to FIFA rules, soccer nets are not mandatory. In the case of using a net, however, it must be securely fixed to the goal posts and ground behind the goal line, and must not impede gameplay in any way, or inconvenience the goalkeeper or players.
Many soccer nets are constructed from three main materials: high tenacity polypropylene (HTPP), polyethylene (PE), and nylon. The most common options are PE and nylon; both are available in a variety of sizes and knot styles.
- Twisted nets are the most commonly used type. They are very strong, durable, and flexible.
- The strongest netting is braided. It is commonly used in colleges and professional soccer goals.
- Knotless: A sturdy, one-piece design that is incredibly strong.
From our experience, we would advise purchasing your soccer nets from the same supplier of your soccer goal posts. They will be able to recommend the correct size and material for your needs.
The History Of Soccer Goals And Nets
After a Queen’s Park FC proposal, the laws allowed either a crossbar or tape in 1875. In December 1882, the International Football Conference voted to require a crossbar, incorporated into the Football Association’s rules in 1883. Eight yards wide and eight feet high have been the dimensions of soccer goals since 1866.
A Liverpool civil engineer name John Brodie, among other achievements, invented the soccer goal net. The goalposts were attached with a net, resulting in a “net pocket” for catching the ball was his idea. He patented the idea in 1889. It was first used in a match between Nottingham Forest and Bolton Wanderers in 1890. The Football Association accepted it within a year, and the rule was used as part of the final of the 1892 FA Cup.
As part of John Brodie’s recommendations, he suggested “one or more bells or other suitable alarms” to help indicate when the goal line has been crossed. This technology did not occur until the 2010s, when VAR was introduced into professional soccer games.
FIFA first tested goalline technology in 2011, and the IFAB approved it in 2012. At the 2012 Club World Cup in Japan, FIFA used both Hawk-Eye and GoalRef, then used GoalControl for the 2013 Confederations Cup as a test ahead of the 2014 World Cup. In the 2013-2014 Premier League season, Hawk-Eye was used.
FIFA has used goal-line technology since the 2014 World Cup, and most professional leagues in the world now have implemented this new standard.
Sports With Goal Posts
The goal structure varies from sport to sport, and one is placed at or near each end of the field so that each team can defend it. There are usually two vertical posts supported by a horizontal crossbar for many sports’ goal structures, just like soccer.
Here is a list of other sports that use goal posts:
American Football, Australia Rules Football, Bandy Field Hockey, Gaelic Football, Handball, Hurling, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Polo, Rugby, and Water Polo.