How Long Do Soccer Games Last? (All Levels)

Have you ever wondered ‘how long do soccer games last?’. While, recreationally, you can have soccer matches as long as you like, organized soccer matches have a specific amount of time which varies at different skill and age levels. 

How long does a soccer game last? A soccer match at the highest level of football lasts roughly 90 minutes. It consists of two halves, each of 45 minutes. The referee plays each half without a break unless there is a foul. After 45 minutes, the referee stops playing. There is a break of 15 minutes where players go back to the dressing room to relax and discuss the game, and the manager can chat with his players, advising them for the next half.

It’s essential to know about the length of a match to have better planning to use the right tactics at the right time.

Let’s look at the different levels, and the playing time each has.

How Long is a Soccer Match Played Professionally?

The time at the top level is 90 minutes, whereas it’s just 20 minutes for the youngest players. It increases as the players grow and advance into higher-level teams. 

In some games, there is a cooling break in each half at almost the 20-minute mark, where players can rest for a few minutes and consume fluids. This also gives time to the manager to discuss tactics. 

Law 7 establishes the match’s duration and states that in accordance with the duration of the match, each professional soccer game must consist of two 45-minute halves plus any additional time if the referee deems it necessary.

If the score is tied, it goes on to extra time and then a penalty shootout which we’ll discuss later in this article.

What is the Duration of a College Soccer Match?

Credit: Rdikeman (CC BY SA 3.0)

A college soccer game lasts the same as a professional one, having 90 minutes in total. It has two halves with a 15-minute break in between. 

What is the Average Length of a High School Soccer Game?

Each high school soccer game consists of two 40 halves which make the game to be 80 minutes with a 10-minute break in between. There is usually no extra time in high school soccer games if a match ends in a draw. Instead, it goes straight to penalty kicks.

How Long is a Youth Soccer Game?

Credit: Edward N. Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

Soccer is not just played on a professional level. Many youth teams have players at U6 to U19 levels. The time for a soccer game depends upon the age, number of players, and the substitutions allowed in a game.

We’ll be looking at the youth soccer games in both the United States and the United Kingdom, which are regulated by the Football Associations of these two countries.

The United States Youth Soccer Association

LevelMatch LengthExtra-Time
U6 and U84 x 10-minute quarters
U102 x 25-minute halves
U122 x 30-minute halves2 x 10-minute halves
U142 x 35-minute halves2 x 10-minute halves
U162 x 40-minute halves2 x 15-minute halves
U192 x 45-minute halves2 x 15-minute halves

Now let’s look at the youth soccer games in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom Football Association

LevelMatch LengthExtra-Time
U6 and U82 x 20-minute halves
U102 x 25-minute halves
U122 x 30-minute halves2 x 10-minute halves
U142 x 35-minute halves2 x 10-minute halves
U162 x 40-minute halves2 x 15-minute halves
U182 x 45-minute halves2 x 15-minute halves

How is a Soccer Match Structured?

We’ve looked at the entire length of a soccer match during regular play. However, it has other aspects, too, when a match ends in a draw.

Additional Time

During the end of each half in the normal 90-minute soccer game, the referee can add additional time, which is also referred to as stoppage or injury time. This time can be due to the following:

  • Substitutions
  • Players getting an injury during the game 
  • Time wasting by players
  • In case of fouls or other disciplinary actions
  • Delays during VAR checks
  • Cooling breaks

The 4th official signals the additional time on a board. If any situation mentioned above takes place during the additional time, the referee can extend this time even further. 

It’s up to the referee to blow his whistle whenever they decide to end the game.

Extra Time

In a knockout competition where a winner is required, if the match ends in a draw, it can be replayed, as it happens in FA cup matches, or go to extra time.

Extra Time includes two 15-minute halves with a 5-minute short break in between. 

Penalty Shootout

England players competing in a penalty shootout in the FIFA World Cup 2018
Credit: Oleg Bkhambri (CC 3.0)

The match goes on to a penalty shootout if no clear winner is produced during extra time. 

Each team has to select 5 players that will take the penalties alternatively. Each shot is to be taken by a different player. 

If the penalty shootout still ends up in a draw, the teams proceed to sudden death until one player of the two teams misses, and one team is declared the winner. 

It is to be kept in mind that Extra Time and Penalty Shootouts are just for matches that need to have a clear winner, more commonly known as knockout matches.

If it’s a normal league match, both teams have to leave with the points shared in case of a draw. In case of a playoff match in a league where promotion is at stake, Extra Time and Penalty Kicks are used if the scores are tied.


The length of a soccer game varies for different levels according to the age of the players. As young players get older and proceed to further levels the playing time increases. A 20-minute match can be enough for young players; however, a full 90-minute match is required at the professional level, which can even go further to penalty shootouts and extra time.

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