How Long Is A Soccer Game?

Soccer is frequently praised for being considered one of the most predictable sports for timing. Soccer maintains a constant pace, in contrast to major sports like baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and cricket. All of these have numerous stoppages that slow the game down.

Yet, if you haven’t been to a soccer game before, you may be unsure how long a game can go on for. Also, it is important to note that sometimes the length of the game can be lengthened or shortened for various reasons. 

In this article, we will discuss how long a typical soccer game can go on for (see also ‘The Origins Of Soccer‘). 

The Usual Length Of A Soccer Game

From the start of play until the final whistle, almost every soccer game will last roughly two hours. A game is made up of two 45-minute halves, as well as halftime and stoppage time, and halftime.

Soccer matches may go on longer during tournaments or knockout rounds. This will be due to additional time and possibly penalty kicks to decide the winner.

What Can You Expect From A Soccer Match?

The format is essentially the same whether it is college, high school, or professional soccer. The first half of the match, which lasts 45 minutes, is when the game begins. Once the clock begins, it runs continuously for the duration of the half.

The amount of stoppage time that will be added at the end of each half is up to the head referee’s discretion.  It typically lasts anything from one minute to five minutes. This is based on how many times play was interrupted during the half, which this figure will be calculated.

At the conclusion of each half, the referee will indicate how much additional time is to be added. There is no intermission between the first half and the extra play.

The players will continue to play until the whistle is blown. There could be up to 50 minutes of playtime total if the additional time is added to the 45 minutes that have already been completed.

Halftime is usually 15 minutes long, once the head referee declares the first half to be over. In most leagues, it is not a precise period of time, therefore there may be a small variation before play resumes.

To please the broadcasters and keep things in order, the majority of games which are being aired will attempt to start and end on time.

The second half has the same structure as the first once play has resumed. When it comes to the stoppage, the head referee won’t pay close attention to the time, instead they will focus on when the attack on the goal is over.

For example, the referee will let the game continue if stoppage time was projected to be three minutes, and an attacking side is poised for a shot on goal.


Soccer matches during the regular season virtually always end without extra time. The result is recorded as a tie between the two teams, if both teams have the same score. However, if a winner is required to advance in a competition or knockout stage, then there will be overtime.   

Overtime is played after the second half, for a total of 30 minutes. It is divided into two halves, which will be played by the two sides. There is usually only a brief delay of a minute or two between both halves of extra time.


A penalty shootout is the only other option if the result is still tied after overtime.

Due to the significant differences between playing the game and receiving penalties, some players find it problematic. Each team chooses five players to take a penalty shot each, in an effort to outscore the opposition. 

If after five penalty kicks, the teams are equal, then the penalty shootout will continue until there is a winner.

In Soccer, Does The Time Ever Stop?

In Soccer, Does The Time Ever Stop?

Every sport which uses a clock has a tendency to stop it frequently during play, but soccer is an exception.

Even if there is a significant delay caused by an injury, a replay, or another event, the clock never stops. The time is compensated with extra time rather than ending the game.

A shortened game may not seem fair to some, but soccer has always been played this way. Even though some games are over much sooner than 90 minutes of real play, officials use extra time to get the results as accurate as they can.

Are All Soccer Games The Same Length?

The majority of soccer matches do not last 90 minutes for younger kids. The usual length will vary depending on the age group of the teams. 

For instance, under-8 players in the US only play for around 48 minutes. For Under-10s, the time limit is increased to 50 minutes, for Under-12s to 60 minutes, and so on until complete games are played at the high school level and above.

Younger soccer players can learn how to play without getting injured or too tired thanks to shorter games and smaller pitches. The majority of these younger clubs’ squads are also small, thus there aren’t many opportunities for substitutions.

Length Of A Soccer Game Compared To Other Sports

Soccer is always faithful to the original by keeping games moving rather quickly. As there are no ad breaks, companies are forced to use advertising on television and in stadiums. When it comes to time, soccer is very predictable.

Another benefit of keeping everything on schedule is that broadcasters may program matches back-to-back without worrying about one event not finishing on time.

This is because there is no clock involved in other sports, so businesses cannot predict whether a game of baseball or tennis will last two hours or six hours.

Soccer fans may schedule their viewing time with considerably greater predictability. Watching live sports can sometimes cause issues in people’s lives in finding the time to watch.

Yet, fans worldwide know for certain that a soccer game will only last 2 hours, so they can find time to watch it even if they have a busy schedule. 


Soccer is a predictable sport for timings. It will always last no more than 2 hours, unless it is a crucial match where there has to be a winner. Soccer games involving younger children are often shorter. 

We hope this article has helped give you a better idea on how long a soccer game lasts.

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