Soccer Field vs Football Field: Everything You Need to Know

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

How do you compare a soccer field vs a football field? Every sport has its own stage, a canvas where the drama unfolds and athletes create art in real time. For soccer and American football, that stage is usually played on a field made of natural grass or artificial turf.

Most people around the world call “the beautiful game” “football” while Americans refer to it as “soccer.” The word soccer comes from “association football” mainly the association part and when Americans say “football” they are usually referring to “American football” which is known as Griridion in other parts of the world.

In this blog, I will compare soccer fields vs football fields and explain to you everything you need to know.

Soccer Field vs Football FieldSoccer Field vs Football Field: The Dimensions

Soccer and American football are two of the most popular sports that are played on rectangular fields, but the actual field size and markings vary significantly.

Soccer Field

According to FIFA, the length of a professional soccer field, known as the touchline, ranges from 100 yards (90 meters) to a maximum length of 120 yards long (110 meters), while the width, the goal line, falls between 50 yards (45 meters) to 100 yards wide (90 meters). However, most professional soccer fields tend to be around 75 yards wide (68.5 meters).

These dimensions provide enough space for eleven players to set up in their formation and showcase their skills and teamwork.

American Football Field

For an American Football field, the distance between the touchlines, the length of the field, is set at 100 yards (91.5 meters) but when you include the two 10-yard end zones, the total length reaches 120 yards long (110 meters).

The width of the football field is where you’ll find bigger differences. An American football field is required to have a specific width of 160 feet (approximately 53 1/3 yards or 48.8 meters). These measurements are standardized to ensure consistency across American football fields around the United States.

Soccer Field vs Football FieldSoccer Field Vs Football Field: The Surfaces

One common similarity between a soccer and football field are the surfaces that you can plan on, natural grass or artificial turf. From high schools, to college, and even to the professional level, a mix of these two surfaces are used for both sports.

In the United States, American Football teams tend to favor artificial turf more than soccer teams. As of 2019, 12 NFL teams chose artificial turf on their home fields, while 19 continued to play on natural grass.

On the other hand, soccer teams in the US lean more towards natural grass. Only 6 MLS teams play on artificial turf, while the majority, 21 teams, prefer natural grass for their home fields.

Although both sports still have a preference for natural grass, recent data suggests that the NFL is increasingly leaning more towards artificial turf, while the MLS is moving in the opposite direction.

Soccer Field Markings Football Field Markings
Penalty Area (2) End Zones (2)
Goal Area (2) 10-yard Intervals
Penalty Spot (2) 5-yard Lines
Corner Arcs (4) 1-yard Hash Marks
A Halfway Line 1-yard-long Scrimmage Line
A Center Circle Numerals in Multiples of 10
A Center Spot

Soccer Field Vs Football Field: The Markings

One of the biggest differences between soccer and football fields is the marking on the field itself. Both soccer and football fields, whether natural or artificial, are green and have white markings.The field markings are a visual representation of the unique rules of each sport.

Soccer Field vs Football FieldSoccer Field Vs Football Field: The Goal posts

Both sports have some sort of goal posts, but they are very different and have different scoring systems as well. The kicker of a football team aim to send the ball between and over the posts and crossbar, while soccer players aim for the space between the posts and under the crossbar.

In soccer one score, or one goal, is equal to one point, while in football a field goal counts as three points. The specific goalpost characteristics align with the unique goal-scoring rules of each sport.

These are the rules for the goal posts in soccer.

  • Must be centrally positioned at both goal lines.
  • The crossbar is situated 8 feet (2.44 meters) above the ground, directly over the goal line.
  • The vertical posts supporting the crossbar are spaced 8 yards (7.32 meters) apart.

These are the rules for American football

  • They are also centered at both goal lines.
  • The crossbar is positioned 10 feet (3 meters) above the ground but is not directly over the end line.
  • The vertical posts extend over the crossbar, standing at a width of 18 feet 6 inches (5.6 meters) apart and a height of 35 feet (10.7 meters).

Soccer Field vs Football Field Image by Joost Ramke

Soccer Field vs Football Field: Variations across Levels

When talking about soccer and football fields it is also important to talk about the variations across different levels.

Youth Football Field Dimensions

Youth football fields vary in size depending on the age group and league, and there are no standard dimensions. However, they are typically smaller than high school, college, and professional football fields, as one would expect.

High School Football Field Dimensions

High school football fields typically follow more standardized dimensions compared to youth fields. These fields consist of a 100-yard (300 feet) long playing area with 10-yard (30 feet) deep end zones at both ends, a width of 53.3 yards (160 feet), and hash marks, which indicate yard lines, are positioned 18 feet and 6 inches (6.4 meters) apart.

Youth Soccer Field Dimensions

The size of a youth soccer field is influenced by the age group of the players and the available playing area. While there’s no fixed standard for all youth ages, youth soccer field dimensions typically fall within a range of 80 yards x 55 yards (73m x 50m) as the maximum size to 25 yards x 15 yards (23m x 14m) as the minimum.

High School Soccer Field Dimensions

High school soccer field dimensions are regulated by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NFHS mandates that high school soccer fields must fall within specific limits.

According to NFHS regulations, the field’s dimensions can range from a minimum width of 50 yards and a length of 100 yards to a maximum width of 100 yards and a length of 130 yards.

This standardized range ensures that high school soccer fields are appropriately sized for competitions while aligning with international standards set by FIFA and MLS.

Soccer Field vs Football Field Image by Unsplash +

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a soccer field called?

A soccer field is usually referred to as a soccer pitch.

Is a soccer field bigger than an American football field?

Yes, a professional soccer field, such as the one used in the MLS is bigger than an NFL football field. Both fields are more or less the same length, but it is the width that usually differs between the two.

What is the difference between soccer and football cleats?

There are many differences between soccer and football cleats from stud pattern design, to features on the cleats, and much more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while soccer and American football are both played on green rectangular fields, made from either natural or artificial grass, they share many differences from their dimensions, surfaces, markings, and goal posts. Make sure to read over this entire article to find out the main differences between these two fields.

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