Brushing up on your soccer field dimensions are we? Don't even pretend you know them all have a look at the picture, go ahead I'll give you a second. Just as you thought right? So which was the one or two you didn't know? The penalty arc right? Whether it was the penalty arc, the corner area, the penalty area or any of the other soccer field dimensions. Now have a read and find out all the areas on the field, the yardage of each and some obvious and not so obvious information about what they represent exactly.
A regulation sized FIFA pitch is not an exact mandatory measurement of length and width but a range each must stay between. That range is 110 - 120 yards long by 70 - 80 yards wide.
When it comes to why some soccer field dimensions are different shapes and sizes well, it's all about the W. Teams around the world when building a new stadium and/or field will always consider certain factors and cater the field dimensions to their advantage. There are several factors that play in to a team tinkering their field dimensions (and grass length) to better help their teams chances of performing, a few examples include:
Wide or Narrow Field Suits Teams Style of Play - Teams like Barcelona and Manchester City have two of the widest and longest fields due to the possession style of soccer they like to play. From the President to the coach to the groundskeeper it is understood that the field dimensions will suit them keeping the ball and needing as much space as possible to do so to break down their opponent. On the other side some English sides that like a more direct approach and want to limit the teams possession style will have a narrow field to throw off their opponents.This may seem like a small detail but an extra 5 or 10 yards of width can be the difference between the space closing a ball being played in for the game winner.
Sharing Facility With Another Sport - Sometimes field dimensions unlike the above option are pre determined based on the other teams using the facility. New York City FC of the MLS for example shares their facility with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball and are at the short end of the range of fields and play in an extremely narrow pitch, sorry NYFC that's just the way it goes sometimes.
If you want to know more about the field dimensions at different levels such as youth, college and professional and want to know how to line it yourself feel free to read this article about Soccer Field Dimensions and Layout Tools For All Ages.
1. Penalty Area Arc - It makes sure all players are exactly 12 yards away from the penalty spot, say it again with me 12 yards from every point, fancy right?
2. Coaches Technical Area - Now this one's a little trick because it varies in size but goes one yard wider then the bench and up to 1 yard before the touch line, go on you can brag to your friends now.
3. Corner Kick Area - You didn't even think of that little corner did you? Well it's important and always slips peoples mind, it has a 1 yard radius where the ball must be placed when taking a corner kick, check another off the list.
4. The Substitution Area - Where are substitutes allowed to warm up? Well typically they are to warm up in the area between the corner flag and the dash outside the pitch 10 yards from the corner flag. You may see them warm up in different places but this is the designated area.
5. Center Circle - I bet you can guess it's located in the center duh, but do you know how many yards every point of the circle is from the center spot where kick offs happen is? 10 yards exactly all around, problem solved.
So there you are about to kick the ball off to start the game and you see two strikers from the other team ready to sprint right at you and the ball, how close are they to you? If you guessed 12 yards, you would be wrong! The correct answer is 10 yards in every direction. No matter where the opponents are standing on their half of the circle they are 10 yards away from the ball when it's placed dead center. Some of these soccer field dimensions may seem like common knowledge but it never hurts to get a refresher.
The center circle is used every time there is a goal scored, the team that gets scored on gets to restart play from that circle. It is also used to restart play when the game first starts and half time. Last but not least the center circle is used for a waiting area of sorts during a penalty kick shootout, this allows the officials to easily identify who was on the field when the game ended and who is eligible to take a penalty kick.
The most influential part of the pitch, where games are decided, where players become heroes and where dreams can be crushed with one misstep, handball, dive or bad call. Next time someone asks you on trivia night how wide the penalty area is in soccer you'll be able to say......... 44 yards! Thursday night trivia champion coming through.
Just so we have the whole story of the penalty area now that we know how wide it is, don't forget the length is 18 yards, this is why the penalty area is commonly referred to as the 18 yard box even though that's not its actual name. This box and that box etc etc but this is another example of how there are no boxes on the field, just areas, and this one is known as the penalty area, let the diving begin!
GOOOALLLLLLLLLLLL area, doesn't quite have the same impact but you get the idea. A goalies backyard and a strikers kitchen the area of the pitch where nerves are high and heroes can be born. The goal area (not 6 yard box) is another area on the pitch that is wider than most people think. With the width at 12 yards and the length at 6 yards the goalie is in charge of all action that come in their box, I mean area. One last thing, the goal line (post to post) is technically a part of the penalty area and is 8 yards wide, there ya go all caught up now.
The technical area also commonly called the coaches area is the area outside of the field in front of both teams benches where team personnel are to operate out of. The technical area also includes the bench and the area in front of it where you commonly see coaches instructing their teams from on TV.
This area varies in size depending on how close or far away the bench is from the field but the area is to go one yard wider than you bench on each side and up to one yard away from the touch line.
That is known as the penalty arc, not half circle, not semi circle but arc. The reason it exists is so that all players are exactly 12 yards away from the penalty kick spot when a player is taking a penalty kick. The arc makes it so that each player no matter where they stand outside of the penalty area is at the same distance from the ball. This way there are no advantages in distance should the shooter miss and a rebound presents itself to clear or shoot on goal to each team respectively.
Oh and yes if you run into the arc before the kick is taken the referee has the right to call it back for a retake so watch your feet. Who knew knowing soccer field dimensions could be so complicated.
Drumroll please................... 1 yard radius. That's it nice and simple, that entire area where you can place he ball to take a corner kick is only a 1 yard area all around. Now it's important to know that no matter where you put the ball (whether the front end closer to the goal or the back end further away from the goal the defending player who must stand 10 yards from the corner is only standing 10 yards away from the corner flag not from where you place the ball.
Before I forget, how annoying is the corner flag sometimes when you're trying to take a corner kick? It always seems to be just in the exact line of your run up. So the rules state the corner flag cannot be moved under any circumstance to take a corner kick, you can't even bend or push it away as you take it. If you see the corner flag bent or out of place you can put it back to it's original place but you are not allowed to adjust it in anyway to gain an advantage. Well, now you know.
No they are not mistakes by the drunk groundskeeper they serve a purpose, two purposes actually. Not life or death purpose but they make things a little easier for the officials. The markings you see just outside the field on both sides of each end between the goal and corner flag are indications of two things, first they indicate how close the defending player can stand to the corner kick area. As you may or may not know you have to give the corner kick taker 10 yards from the ball and that line is there so the player knows where to stand as well as making the officials job easier to make sure the player is abiding by this rule. Ya sure you might be able to steal a yard or so but it makes things more efficient and keeps the game moving along. This is one of those soccer field dimensions that makes the job of he officials easier and one less thing to think about.
The other reason is it indicates the area for which possible substitutes can warm up, obviously outside the field of play between the corner flag and those marks 10 yards away from it is where subs can warm up.
Well those dots or marks (3 of them to be exact) are the penalty spot (2 of them, one in each penalty area) and the center circle mark. They are to be half of a yard in circumference but every field has them marked a little differently. Some soccer field dimensions like this one are different from field to field and this is one of them.
Well, that was easy as far as soccer field dimensions goes.
Believe it or not there are no boxes on a soccer pitch. Yes I know since the beginning of time they are referred to as the penalty box and six yard box but in the official laws and regulations of the game there are no boxes on the pitch. They are actually referred to as either areas, arcs or circle but absolutely no boxes!
So listen closely and use these official terms from now on when talking about soccer field dimensions. The penalty box is known as the penalty area, the six yard box the goal area, where you take corner kicks from is the corner area. Now that we are done with areas let's move onto penalty spot not the penalty mark or dot. With me so far? Good. All we have left is the penalty arc that sits on top of the penalty area and not the penalty semi circle. Ok we're on a role last but not least the center circle where the game begins and restarts from after halftime and any goals that may take place throughout the match.
1. Manchester City - Etihad Stadium - 116 x 77 yards
2. Manchester United - Old Trafford 116 x 76 yards
3. Barcelona - Camp Nou - 115 x 74 yards