FIFA's "Laws of the Game" are published annually and are the official rules. For current rules and field sizes, go to "Laws of the Game" at www.fifa.com or check with your soccer association. The official field size can range from 50 to 100 yards wide by 100 to 130 yards long. However, the rules allow field sizes to be reduced for women, players with disabilities and for players under 16 and over 35 years of age. Field sizes used by youth leagues vary greatly.
Recreational Players Will Have More Fun & Learn More on a Smaller Field. One of the worst mistakes a recreational league can make is to have teams playing on oversized fields. The reason is simple: on a smaller field the players will have more touches & more fun. The field size should be proportionate to the player size, and recreational teams should play on smaller fields than select teams. If a field is too large, recreational players will spend most of their time running & will be worn out by half-time. When players are tired & playing on an overly large field, it is easy for the game to degenerate to "Boom-ball". It is also more difficult to teach tactics & team play, such as support, on an overly large field. Smaller fields are much better suited to players who are average athletes, are slower, or lacking stamina, as are 50% to 75% of all recreational players. How large should the field be? If an adult over-30 novice recreational team plays on a 60-yard x 100-yard field (most play on this size or smaller because it is more fun), then youth recreational teams should play on proportionately sized fields. The size of youth fields should be based on the size of the step and the length of the kick of each age group relative to adults. For example, if a 12-year old's step is about 80% that of an adult, then the field size should be 80% of the adult size, or about 50-yards x 80-yards. Dimensions for recreational teams might be as below:
|Age (% Adult Size) |
|Field Size (in yards) |
60 x 100
50 x 80
40 x 70*
25 x 50*
15 x 30
If you can't properly size the fields, err on the side of fields that are undersized, not oversized. It will be more fun, the players will learn more about soccer, & fewer will drop out at age 11 or 12.
* Note: If your league plays "small sided", these dimensions may be even smaller. "Small sided" is highly recommended until U-12. My U-12 team, for example, had great fun and improved a great deal when scrimmaging 3 or 4 per side on a 15 x 25 field. The action is non-stop, everyone gets a lot of touches on the ball, quick, short passes are encouraged & there are many transitions from offense to defense. See "Small Sided" in the Dictionary. Click this link to access a field diagram.
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