How long is a soccer game?

How long is a soccer game

The timing and duration of soccer work differently. While other sports count downtime of the match duration, the soccer game clock counts up. Due to this easy time-tracking, soccer can be played with a single referee. But some leagues can have different timing rules. So, you need to know details about how long is a soccer game to understand the game’s timing.

A standard Soccer game lasts for ninety minutes. That ninety-minute is played by two halves consisting of forty-five minutes, further separated by a fifteen minutes break. That fifteen minutes break time is not a part of the game duration. However, the break time might be compensated in certain situations.

Uncomplicated game rules make the soccer game one of the most popular sport in the world. This article will discuss different soccer games for you to learn about their timekeeping.

How long is a soccer game?

Generally, a simple soccer game is estimated to last for ninety minutes that is divided into two halves of forty-five minutes. A small break separates the halftime break. Moreover, the halftime can last for fifteen minutes or so. In contrast to other matches such as football or basketball, soccer does not involve the stoppage of time. Thus, the forty-five minutes half games continue without any break, starting from the opening kickoff.

In various tournaments, some matches might require extra time to be played if a winner needs to be declared. Some leagues are not played for the whole ninety minutes.  FIFA had made some regulations for soccer games known as “laws of the game,” which establishes a standard length for the games. The law states time length for matches if there are situations in games that might be longer or shorter. These laws allow the leagues to modify some rules that also involve the length of the match.

Furthermore, there are soccer matches played for women, disabled players, and players younger than sixteen years or thirty-five years older. In those leagues, you will notice that shorter games are played by children, women, and older players. If there are players not included in these categories, the league organizers need to take permission from FIFA to modify the length of the matches.

The matches need to last for two forty-five minutes halves, that is ninety minutes. Each of the halves is played continuously. This means the referee never stops the clock once the ball is out for the play throughout the match.

How long is a professional soccer game?

Professional soccer games around the world abide by the “laws of the game” set out by FIFA. For the highest level of soccer matches, the teams follow the “Rules of the game” that include the seventh number rule related to the match timing.

Within the two forty-five-minute halves of the ninety-minute match, there is a fifteen-minute break just like a regular match, where the professional team consumes fluids, energy drinks and communicates with their coaches. The team exchanges tactics with their respective coaches and gets advice and encouragement during break time. That is also referred to as “half time.”

In professional soccer leagues, at the end of every forty-five-minute match, the referee can add “extra time.” This is also referred to as the additional time that is meant for treating injuries. Such stop timing is added in order to make up for any loss during the match. Any delays that might have occurred throughout the half match due to certain scenarios need to be compensated during the additional time.

A fourth referee specifically holds up a signboard or operates a digital timekeeping device to let everyone, including players, coaches, and the audience, know exactly how many additional minutes are added at the end of the half matches.

While the teams are engaged in this additional time match, the referee can only add to the time if required but can’t reduce it. In the professional leagues, if there is a penalty kick needed to be taken at the tail-end of the halve match, the additional time period of the game can be extended until the penalty is taken.

The referee would indicate the end of the game by blowing the whistle. Some professional soccer games might also have both penalties and extra time depending on special situations that the laws allow.

How long is a high school soccer game?

Apart from the professional soccer leagues, college and school soccer matches duration also vary. Generally, the high school teams and leagues are not a part of the FIFA rules, so they make up their own soccer match rules. However, they have to consider the state-administered rules of the game. The National Federation of State High School Associations sets the soccer rules for governing the high school soccer games in the United States.

Moreover, this national association also allows every state to establish its own rules and game duration. Anyhow, typically, the majority of high school soccer games include two forty minutes halves. In high school soccer matches, the referee might stop the official match clock on the scoreboard.

But there would not be any additional time that can be granted unless there is a mishap during timekeeping management. While the high school tournaments consider the game clock as official, the pro games don’t. When the game clock marks the end of time length, this indicates that the game is over.

Mostly the overtime rule for the high school soccer match is established by the soccer teams if they are non-conference games. Typically, the teams do not want to play overtime in case of a non-conference game as it is a friendly match. But for the high school conference games, the leagues have to determine the overtime rule from the start of the tournament.

The participating teams communicate with the league officials and coaches to know if they will have overtime in case there is a tie after the game, how long the overtime should last, and how to determine the winner or points for the overtime match. Often, when a match ties at the end of the regulation, the teams would go straight into penalties.

For any other reason, the league officials sometimes decide before the tournament to add about ten minutes of overtime for each half before going into penalties. Now, let’s check how long does a soccer game last for high school soccer matches? It is up to eighty minutes with a running clock. Additionally, the referee might add twenty more minutes for overtime and a penalty for ten minutes.

How long is a soccer game in the world cup?

Without counting the stoppage time, a regular or world cup soccer game lasts for ninety minutes. Unlike other sports, soccer games in the world cup have a running clock. Even if an injured player is being treated, the clock never stops. Just like regular soccer tournaments, the world cup matches also have 45-minute halves.

Similarly, after every forty-five-minute half match, the game goes into stoppage time. This time duration includes the additional minutes based on the amount of time that is suspended during the match. However, there is no fixed amount of time set out for stoppage time. But commonly, the overtime varies between 1-5 minutes for each half.

Other than that, world cup matches have halftimes that last for about fifteen minutes when players can recharge themselves. So altogether, how long does a soccer game last for the world cup? It lasts nearly two hours from start to finish.

How long are youth soccer games?

Soccer game length also depends on the age of the players. The regular soccer games are divided into two equal long halves with a short break time. But there is an exception with some leagues that can have four long quarters for youth soccer games. The individual leagues particularly determine the length of the youth soccer game. However, there is a recommended game duration established for kids’ soccer games:

  • Under-6 players can have a twenty-minute soccer game.
  • Under-8 players should have a forty-minute soccer match.
  • Under-10 players might get a fifty-minute soccer match duration.
  • Under-12 players can get up to one hour or sixty minutes of match duration.
  • Under-14 players can have up to seventy minutes of soccer game time.
  • Under-16 players’ soccer matches can take place for eighty minutes.
  • Under-19 youth, soccer games can last for about ninety minutes.

What is added time (or extra time) in soccer?

In case a match is tied at the end of the regular game, it can simply be called a draw. Nonetheless, under the laws of the game established by FIFA, the league officials allow about two additional fifteen-minute periods, which is called extra time.  

The professional matches might include additional time for the below reasons: –

  • When a player needs to be replaced, or a substitute player is needed, extra time can be added.
  • Extra time will be applied if the players are injured and need to be examined or evacuated from the field.
  • In case a game frequently gets stopped due to some foul, additional time is applied for taking disciplinary measures.
  • When a team is leading, additional time is applied for time-wasting to win soccer games. 
  • If there is any minute delay during the match half, the referee will permit to continue the match for extra minutes after the time count-up marks the end of the half match.
  • In case there are delays made by the referee for checking in with the video assistant referee (VAR) to review the decisions and minimize human errors on the match results, the additional timing would be included.
  • If there is any time wasted during the drinking or cooling break, stoppage time can be applied. However, it requires a green signal from the competitors too.
  • There might be a waste of time for celebrating the best goal during the match. The referee can allow additional time for the match to continue.


Whether it’s a world cup or a standard league, every soccer team around the world needs to follow the same set of rules that are recognized by FIFA. Knowing about the timings of the different leagues of the soccer game will help you understand the game properly. You will fully enjoy the game and can keep track of the game efficiently.

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