Every time I watch a soccer game with a casual soccer fan, I hear the question, “so, how long is a soccer game?” This question gets to me every single time, because; well, even though there’s a 90-minute timer for each soccer game, the game won’t only last 90 minutes.
So, therefore, how long is a soccer game, really? The rules and regulations of soccer (Including durations for the official time-clock) are revised every year by IFAB (International Football Association Board).
FIFA official rules on the duration of a soccer match state, “The duration of each match shall be 90 minutes, except in special cases, provided for in these Competition Rules, where an extra 30 minutes applies. The Referee shall allow for time lost per the Laws of the Game or through accident or other cause, and his decision on this matter is not subject to appeal”.
This goes to show that the Law no.7: Duration of the Match; in the 17 Laws of Soccer or Laws of the Game, gives the duration and standard for allowances for extension of any professional or international soccer match. Let’s see what they’re about.
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Duration of a Soccer Match
It is important to note that the same duration governs not all matches. For example, the official time clock for a professional or international game may not be the same as a youth soccer game.
Moving forward, these are some of the questions that we shall seek to answer.
- How long is a professional soccer game?
- How long is a world cup soccer game?
- How long is a high school soccer game?
- How long is a college soccer game?
- How long is a youth soccer game?
Law no. 7: the duration of the match, advises that a soccer match should have two 45-minute halves. In between these two halves, there is a maximum 15-minute time-period that is set aside for half-time.
At the end of the 90 minutes, extra time may be added onto the game if the Referee sees it fit. It is, therefore, at the discretion of the Referee to determine how much time is substantial to make up extra time. This time is dictated by time lost due to factors such as injuries, or substitutions during the 45-minute play.
So, how long is a professional soccer game, really? Well, following Law no. 7, the length of a game is up to the discretion of the Referee. Yes, even with the allotted time between halves being 45-minutes.
If the Referee sees it fit, he may add 3 minutes, 15, or even half an hour to make up for time lost during the match. There’s a big difference between soccer and other games when it comes to time. Other than the Referee, no commentator, spectator or player have any idea when the official time clock will stop.
This time elasticity may be frustrating to some, but it is quite helpful in certain circumstances. Read on to discover the intricacies of the duration of a soccer match.
Situations that Warrant Time Addition in a Soccer Game
A referee will use his discretion to add extra time if there has been:
- Time wastage
- Disciplinary measures
- Delays in game continuation, e.g. extended goal celebrations
If the Referee made an error during the first half as regards to timekeeping, then he is not allowed to make up for it during the second half.
Before, the Referee didn’t need to reveal how much more time was left for the game to end. When he felt that time was up, all he needed to do was blow the whistle, and the game stopped. Now, the Referee has to tell the fourth official how many minutes he’s adding.
The fourth official will hold up an electronic board that displays how much more time is left. So then, this leaves us questioning, “How long is a world cup soccer game supposed to last?” 90 minutes.
How long is a High School Soccer Game?
These are usually shorter than professional, or world cup matches. High school soccer games typically last 80 minutes. These are either divided into four 20-minute periods or two 40-minute pumps.
How long is a Youth Soccer Game?
Youth soccer games are even much shorter than high school games. Mostly, the games last 40 minutes with either four 10-minute periods or two 20 minute periods.
How long is a College Soccer Game?
College soccer games also last 90 minutes. College soccer, however, applies the rules of golden goal if no team scores, the match ends in a draw. The clock for college football stops when there are injuries, time-wasting, issuing cards, or after a goal to allow players to celebrate.
Also, the official time clock for college soccer counts down from 45:00 in both halves and not up like professional soccer.
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