Soccer Field vs Football Field (Size Comparison)

Soccer and football players have been sharing playing surfaces for a long time. In the United States, it’s led to a bit of a rivalry between the two sports thanks in part because of this.

This move is almost always done for space restraint reasons. However, are they the same size? Does one sport have to make compromises in order for everything to work?

The truth is, they aren’t the exact same dimensions. However, most football fields can co-exist with soccer fields, and vice versa. They are close enough that it still works out with some tweaking in-between games.

Here’s a size comparison between soccer and football fields:

FieldLengthWidth
Soccer Field110-120 yds (100-110m)70-80 yds (64-75m)
Football Field120 yds (109,75m)53.3 yds (48.75m)

Soccer Field

At the pro level, the field sizes need to be between 110-120 yards long and 70-80 yards wide.

However, at lower levels, soccer fields don’t have a set measurement from location to location. According to FIFA, the rules say the field dimensions can be as small as 50 yards wide by 100 yards long, or as large as 100 yards wide by 130 yards long.

At the highest levels, soccer pitches will be longer and overall bigger than NFL football fields. What makes it a little tricky to tell exactly how big they are is that there are much fewer lines than a football field. There is an outer line to show touchlines and goal lines.

There’s a corner flag placed in all four corners to identify the boundaries as well. Other than that, there’s a middle line that cuts the field in half to indicate what side of the pitch the two teams are on.

Near the goal is an 18-yard box. This is a little bit misleading as the box is in fact 18 yards from the goal line, but it’s 18 yards beyond each goal post. When counting the goal itself, that means the entire penalty area is 44 yards wide by 18 yards long.

There are also some marks on the pitch, such as the penalty mark located 12 yards from the center of the goal. This is where penalty kickers place the ball to attempt a shot on goal. A penalty arc is a 10-yard circle carved around the penalty shot mark.

This is as close as other players on the field can get to the kicker when taking a penalty kick. Players can come in for a rebound once the penalty kick goes off.

Overall, soccer fields are relatively clean of unnecessary lines. A lot of fans like that the playing area doesn’t appear cluttered with a lot of distractions. If the game is played at lower levels, there could be lines for other sports that make the field a little bit confusing.

Learn more about the soccer field dimensions here.

Football Field

Football field measurements are much more precise at every level. For high school, college football, and NFL games, the field is 100 yards long between the goal lines, and 160 feet wide. There are also two end zones on the end of each goal line that is an additional 10 yards long. 

At the back of each endzone is a goal post that is 10 feet above the ground. The standard width of the uprights is 18 feet and 6 inches. In the NFL, they extend at least 35 feet above the crossbar. There are also ribbons attached to each side of the goal to show which way the wind is blowing. The uprights get narrower as the level of play goes up. 

It’s much easier to tell exactly how big a football field is thanks to the yard lines. Most will mark each yard line in 10-yard intervals with a number. Some stadiums do it in 5-yard intervals for more accurate distances. Some marks show every single yard on a football field in four different areas.

There are also hash marks on the sidelines of each field, and then two rows in the middle. If a play is on one side of the field or the other, those hash marks are the widest distance they can start from the line of scrimmage.

Hashmark differences are one of the best ways to tell if a field is designed for high school, college, or NFL. High school hash marks are 53.33 feet apart. That separation goes down to 40 feet in college and just 18.5 inches in the NFL.

Youth Field Sizes

Everything to this point has been covering the two sports played at the highest levels. However, when growing up, soccer and football use fields that are significantly smaller.

There isn’t one standard size for either sport, but it usually takes up much less room overall. Here’s a breakdown of the youth field sizes for both soccer and football:

Youth Soccer Field Dimensions:

AgeField Width (Min-Max)Field Length (Min-Max)
U615-20 Yards25-30 Yards
U820-25 Yards30-40 Yards
U930-35 Yards40-50 Yards
U1040-50 Yards60-70 Yards
U1140-50 Yards70-80 Yards
U1240-55 Yards100-105 Yards
U1350-60 Yards100-110 Yards
Source

Youth Football Field Dimensions:

Field WidthField Length
80 Yards23.3 Yards

Soccer has more leeway with its size, since there aren’t actual markers for all the distances. In football, they still need to have marks for all the lines so that people know exactly what’s going on. Having regulation-sized fields at the youth level would be too much for the younger players to handle.

Can The Two Sports Share a Field?

A lot of different stadiums will put soccer games and football games on the same field. The freedom of having different sizes for soccer fields comes in handy. At the professional level, soccer fields do need to be a little bit bigger, so stadium construction takes that into play.

In many high schools in the United States, as well as amateur leagues everywhere, fields are built first for football. Only later on do they consider that soccer needs to use the field as well. That’s why a lot of soccer fields end up being very similar in size to football fields.

There’s just not enough budget in the mix to have too many variations. Since football is a more popular sport, it takes precedence over the other.

Does One Sport Cause More Damage to the Playing Surface than the Other?

In most cases, football does more damage to a playing surface than soccer. That’s because there is a lot of gathering in very specific areas of the field. When lined up at the line of scrimmage, that includes a slew of players wearing away the surface as they dig in.

Soccer players are lighter, and they wear cleats that don’t tear the field up as much. Tackling is much different in soccer compared to football, which also cuts down on-field issues.

Fields that have both sports played on them will need to have some creativity when managing the condition. Some high schools have made the transition to artificial grass so that it holds a bit better. It cuts down on maintenance significantly, and other sports can use the surface as well.

All in all, most fields using natural grass look different at the end of the year compared to the beginning. Having a season worth of activity on the same playing surface puts the field through a lot of challenges.

How Soccer and Football Continue to Co-Exist with Different Playing Dimensions

The sports are close enough from a dimension standpoint that they will continue to stay connected for years to come. Even in the NFL and MLS, some teams share a stadium. It tends to take a team of maintenance workers to get the job done, but it still saves money in numerous instances.

Sharing a playing surface creates a bit of a rivalry between the two sports, but smart scheduling makes it all work. The dimensions seem close enough to the average fan in the stands, which is why it would seem silly to not utilize a stadium for multiple uses.

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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