How Long is a Soccer Game? Understanding the Rules


Soccer is a popular game which is known as football in many areas of the world, is a globally popular sport that captivates millions of people with its exciting action and fierce matches. 

Understanding the length of a soccer game is essential for both fans and newbies to comprehend the complexities of this great sport. 

In this complete guide, we will go over the rules that control the length of a soccer game, such as normal playtime, stoppage time, extra time, and penalties. By understanding these rules, both viewers and players can have a better understanding of the rhythm and flow of a soccer match.

Soccer Game Duration

A normal soccer match consists of two 45 minute halves, and a total playtime of 90 minutes under regulation. It’s crucial to remember that in soccer, minor stops or injuries do not stop the time. 

To account for this, at the conclusion of each half, the referee records “injury time” or “added time,” or lost time. This extra time, which makes up for any delays in the game, is decided by the referee taking into account all of the stoppages that happened, including injuries, substitutions, and time-wasting strategies.

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Differents Affecting Stoppage Time

Stoppage time is an important part of soccer because it ensures fairness and accounts for any pauses which have happened during regulation play. The referee determines the length of extra time, which is often displayed at the end of the 45-minute period on a computerized board. 

This additional time allows the game to reflect the actual playing time lost due to interruptions, preventing teams from acquiring an unfair edge through time-wasting strategies.

Stoppage time is caused by a variety of circumstances, including injuries that necessitate medical treatment, substitutions, delays in play, and the time it takes for goals to be scored. 

Furthermore, the referee may add time for deliberate time-wasting methods used by players to manipulate the clock and disrupt the game’s flow. The total time for these stoppages is then added to the 45-minute limit, increasing the actual duration of each half.

Variations for Various Levels

It’s important to note that the standard 90-minute format isn’t universal. Here’s a quick breakdown of game durations for different levels:

  • Youth soccer: Game lengths can vary based on age level, often ranging from 20-minute halves for younger players to 40-minute halves for older teenagers.
  • College soccer: College games are played in the same 90-minute format as professional games.
  • Friendly matches: These exhibition games can have a variety of lengths, which are sometimes agreed upon by the participating teams.

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Understanding the Details:

Knowing the different rules is only the first step. Consider the following extra considerations to really comprehend the complexities of soccer timekeeping:

  • The referee’s discretion: The referee has the final say on stoppage time and can modify it based on the game’s specific circumstances.
  • Tactical implications: Teams might use stoppage time to recover, offer last-minute instructions, or impede the opponent’s momentum.
  • Impact on the game: Stoppage time can have a huge impact on the outcome of a match, impacting player weariness, team plans, and even spectator emotions.

Penalties and Extra Time

If a game ends in a tie, additional time may be added to determine the winner in several events. Extra time consists of two 15-minute halves played immediately following the regular 90-minute period. 

If the score is still tied after extra time, the game goes to a penalty shootout, in which each team takes turns trying penalty kicks until a winner is determined.

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Q: How long is a normal soccer game?

A normal professional soccer game has 90 minutes, which is divided into two 45 minute halves. At halftime, there is a 15 minute break.

Q: What exactly is stoppage time?

Stoppage time is added to the end of each half to compensate for stoppage in play such as injuries, substitutes, goal celebrations, and disciplinary measures.

Do different leagues have different game lengths?

Yes, some leagues, particularly for younger players, have shorter game times. High school games, for example, may be divided into two 40-minute halves, while youth games could be even shorter.

Q: What are penalty kicks?

A: Penalty kicks are utilized as a tiebreaker if the score remains tied after extra time. Each team is given five penalty kicks in an attempt to score from the spot.

Q: What happens if the score is tied after 90 minutes?

It depends on the format of the competition. Some leagues decide to call the game a draw, while others may proceed to penalty kicks.


Understanding the length of a soccer game is critical for fans, players, and officials alike. The standard 90-minute length, divided into two halves with extra time, delivers a fascinating and dynamic experience. 

Stoppage time ensures fair play by accounting for interruptions, while extra time and penalty shootouts in certain competitions offer even more excitement and drama. By understanding these rules, spectators may fully appreciate the intricacies and intensity that make soccer such a thrilling and popular sport around the world.

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