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Soccer 101: The Field

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Soccer Field Dimensions
Wikipedia Commons
There are very few fixed dimensions for soccer fields, even at the highest level. The sport’s world governing body, FIFA, only stipulates that for professional 11-versus-11 competition, they must be between 100 yards and 130 yards and the width between 50 and 100 yards. For years, English fields were known to be on the smaller side, making the game more physical while fields in South American stadiums tend to sprawl out and offer players more space and time on the ball. Still, some elements remain constant on full-size fields throughout the world.

The Penalty Area

This is the portion of the field where the goalkeeper may use his hands and fouls are punished by a penalty kick. It includes the penalty spot (12 yards from the goal) and the six-yard box (a rectangle with the top side six yards away from the goal). The top of the box features a small arc commonly known as “the D.” A portion of a circle that has a radius of 10 yards with the penalty spot for a center, it serves no purpose within the rules of the game and is merely a guide for players, much like the six-yard box.

The Goal

Full-sized goals are eight feet tall and 24 feet wide, no matter where you go.

The Halfway Line

This divides the field in half with a spot in the middle for kickoff. Players may not cross it from their side until kickoff has been taken. In the middle, it also has a 10-yard circle. During kickoff, only the two players taking it may stand inside it.

The Touchline

The touchline is a white chalk line that defines the perimeter of the field. If the ball goes out on either of the long sides, it is put back into play with a throw. If it goes out along one of the goal lines, however, the referee will award either a goal kick or a corner kick, depending on which team touched the ball last.
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