How Long Is a Soccer Game?

how long is a soccer game referee

When it comes to soccer, the length of the game can vary significantly depending on the level of play. For instance, in professional 11 v 11 soccer, the standard game duration is 90 minutes, split into two halves of 45 minutes each.

However, this duration can change when considering knockout games such as the World Cup or youth soccer, particularly in the USA.

Read on for a clear guide to the all the possible variations in soccer game lengths.

Pro Soccer Game Length

FIFA set all laws of soccer globally using the Laws of the Game document. 90 minutes is the standard game length for adults playing 11 v 11 both in a recreation setting and professionally.

The 90 minutes is divided into two 45 minute halves separated by a 15 minute break at half time.

At the end of each half the referee can add additional time lost for things such as substitutions and injuries which have taken place. Typically additional time will be between 2 and 5 minutes at the end of each half but there is no upper limit.

Extra Time

Most professional league games will finish at 90 minutes regardless of the score however, cup or knockout tournament games such as the World Cup which finish in a tie may then play for a further 30 minutes extra time (over time). This period is divided into two 15 minute halves with a few minutes in between to change ends.

If games are still tied after extra time, a knock out game is usually decided by penalty shoot out. Penalty shoot outs usually last between 10 and 20 minutes but there is no limit and should both teams score an equal amount after the first five penalties, the shoot out will continue in sudden death.

A game going all the way to penalties could last as long as three hours!

high school soccer game length

Game Length for Youth Soccer in the USA

In the realm of youth soccer, the game length is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it is tailored to suit the age and developmental stage of the players. This approach helps ensure that young athletes are engaged and able to perform at their best.

There are two organizations in the USA responsible for setting the laws of the game for their respective member teams:

  • US Youth Soccer
  • American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO)

The tables below have drawn information from the latest available guidance from each organization.

Age GroupUS Youth SoccerAYSO
Under 64 quarters x 6 minutes4 quarters x 10 minutes
Under 74 quarters x 10 minutes
Under 84 quarters x 6 minutes4 quarters x 10 minutes
Under 92 halves x 25 minutes
Under 102 halves x 25 minutes2 halves x 25 minutes
Under 112 halves x 30 minutes2 halves x 30 minutes
Under 122 halves x 30 minutes2 halves x 30 minutes

There are some variations in game length in the younger age groups but from Under 10s upwards there are no differences.

Where a box is empty it means there is no specific category for that age. For example, players under US Youth Soccer rules move from Under 6 straight into Under 8.

Age GroupUS Youth SoccerAYSO
Under 132 halves x 35 minutes
Under 142 halves x 35 minutes2 halves x 35 minutes
Under 152 halves x 40 minutes
Under 162 halves x 40 minutes2 halves x 40 minutes
Under 152 halves x 45 minutes
Under 182 halves x 45 minutes2 halves x 45 minutes
Under 192 halves x 45 minutes

It should also be pointed out that individual states, associations and tournaments may adapt their rules to suit their needs. Therefore, the standard game length times listed above could be subject to change at a local level.

Under 8 year olds

For the youngest players, those in the U8 (under 8 year old) age groups and younger, the game length is significantly shorter. Games for these age groups typically consist of four quarters, each lasting 6-10 minutes.

This shorter duration helps keep the players focused and minimizes fatigue, ensuring they enjoy the game and develop fundamental skills at a young age.

Under 9s to Under 12s

As players grow and move into the U9 (under 9) age group, the game format changes slightly. Instead of playing quarters these age groups and beyond play two halves of equal lengths.

Starting at 25 minutes per half for under 9s, game lengths gradually increase by 5 minutes per half as children grow.

This increase in game length aligns with their growing stamina and understanding of the game.

Under 13s to Under 19s

AYSO and United States Youth Soccer mirror each other for game lengths in these age groups. All age groups play two halves with the duration increasing in 5 minute intervals every couple of steps.

By the time players reach U15 (Under 15) they are expected to play a full 90 minutes just as adults and professionals do.

Reasons for Shorter Game Lengths

Understanding the variations in game length for youth soccer is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it allows coaches and trainers to develop age-appropriate training programs that optimize player development.

Shorter games for younger players help maintain their interest and prevent burnout, which is essential for long-term engagement in the sport.

soccer game length referee

Moreover, these variations help align the physical demands of the game with the players’ developmental stages. Younger players often lack the stamina to play longer matches, and shorter game durations ensure they can participate fully without excessive fatigue.

As players grow older and their physical capabilities increase, longer game durations help them build the endurance needed for higher levels of competition.


Understanding how long a soccer game is, particularly in the context of youth soccer in the USA, involves recognizing the variations in game length across different age groups.

By tailoring game lengths to suit different age groups, soccer organizations ensure that players can enjoy the game, develop their skills, and build the stamina required for higher levels of play.


American Youth Soccer Organization

United States Youth Soccer

IFAB Laws of the Game


How long is a High School soccer game?

Typically High School soccer games are played for eighty minutes. This is divided into two halves of 40 minutes with a 10 minute break between halves.

How long is a College soccer game?

College soccer games are played for ninety minutes. This is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. A 15 minute break is taken at Half Time. Additional time can also be added by the referee which can be anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes per half, though there is no upper limit.

How long is a professional soccer game?

Professional 11 v 11 soccer games are scheduled for two halves of 45 minutes making a total of ninety minutes plus a 15 minute break at half time. Most regular league games can end in a tie therefore removing the need for extra time (over time). However, knockout competitions such as the World Cup need to produce a winner so 30 minutes extra time can be played and then a penalty shootout if the scores are still level.

What does Full Time in Soccer mean?

Full Time in Soccer means the end of the game. For most games this will be after 90 minutes plus any additional time that the referee wishes to play due to time lost for injuries or substitutions.

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