How Long is Halftime in Soccer: Laws of the Game

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Written by Daniel Pena, Bachelors in Kinesiology and footballer: Learn More

How long is halftime in soccer? That is a question that many new fans and players of the beautiful game often ask. Although it is very straightforward, and halftime break in soccer lasts 15 minutes, the answer holds more significance than you might initially think.

Every moment is super important in soccer, even those few minutes during halftime and understanding how long halftime in soccer lasts, as well as regulation time, can offer insights into team strategies and game dynamics. A halftime break is more than just an interval for commercials or a chance to grab another snack!

In this blog, I will explain everything you need to know about one of the most basic soccer rules of them all, the length of a half time break in soccer.

The Structure of a Soccer Game

A regular professional soccer match is made up of two 45 minute halves and a 15 minute halftime break. At the end of each half the referee may add on stoppage time, also known as injury time, which is usually anywhere from one to 10 minutes, to make up for lost time during the match.

In addition to this added injury time, teams also swap ends on the field after each halftime. This is a strategy aimed at maintaining fairness throughout games if weather conditions like wind direction were favoring one side over the other.

The Importance of Halftime in Soccer

Soccer is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in the world and even elite professional players need a break to catch their wind. Running 90 minutes is hard enough, but can you imagine running for 90 minutes without a break?

The half time break in soccer is important for soccer players, from youth all the way up to the professional level, to recover, take a crucial break from gameplay, relax, drink plenty of water to hydrate, and eat some healthy snacks and food if necessary.

Half time break is also important for coaches to make adjustments to their formations, tactics, and positions, as well as to motivate the team and tell them everything they need to know before they go back to the field and finish the second half.

The Evolution of Halftime in Soccer

The half time interval rule has changed a lot throughout the years in soccer matches. Initially, it served as an interval for switching rule sets between regional clubs; now, it’s primarily used for rest and tactical discussions.

In the 19th century, matches often involved conflicting rules due to geographical differences. To maintain fairness during these games, each team would follow its own regulations in one half before swapping at halftime.

This unique practice led to some fascinating soccer matches and competition rules which underscored the need for universal laws across all matches. This eventually led to the creation of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) who created the standardized rules for all soccer games, including the rules for regulation time, which is two equal halves of 45 minutes, and the rules for a half time break.

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The Future of Halftime Breaks

In the modern game, halftime breaks are a way for players to rest, catch their breath, and to strategize with their team and coaches about what they will do in the next half. Although that is still the case, the beautiful game is starting to take aspects of other sports, such as American Football, and transforming halftime into an entertainment spectacle.

Nowadays in major competitions like World Cup Games and Champion’s League Games, professional leagues worldwide increasingly incorporate halftime shows to keep fans engaged while their favorite athletes catch their breath. This is a trend that is only becoming more popular so it is safe to expect more soccer halftime shows.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is halftime in a football match?

Half time in a football match takes place once the first half ends and it lasts 15 minutes.

What is the average length of half time in soccer?

The average length of halftime in a standard soccer match is 15 minutes. This is the same for all professional matches no matter if it is a World cup game, a Premier League game, or a Champion’s league game.

How long is halftime in extra time?

Halftime break during extra time is much less than halftime break during regulation time and it is a short break of 1 minute rest.

How long is a soccer game?

Generally speaking, a soccer game is 90 minutes long and it is made up of two halves that are 45 minutes each with a 15 minute halftime break in between. On top of regulation time, the referee can also add on injury time if necessary to each half. Also, if the match needs a clear winner the match will go into extra time and potentially a penalty kick shootout, extending the overall game time to over 2 hours of playing time.

How long is halftime in youth soccer?

Halftime for youth leagues can vary depending on the age groups of the players. If the kids are very young and play with four quarters there are four small breaks between each quarter and if the kids are playing with two halves only, there will be one longer half time break after the first half, similar to a standard adult soccer game.


In conclusion, halftime is a very important part of the game that allows players to recover, hydrate, and get ready for the second half as well as for coaches to make changes to their tactics and team lineup.

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