How Long is a Professional Soccer Game? A Closer Look

How Long is a Professional Soccer Game


The wonderful game of soccer is adored by lots of people worldwide. Supporters and players must know how long an official soccer match lasts. This post will examine the intricacies of game duration, stoppages, and the effects of extra time and penalties.

Regulation Game Time

  • Professional soccer games are split into two 45-minute halves.
  • The umpire determines additional time, also called break time, after each half to make up for time lost because of injuries, substitutions, and other disruptions.
  • The duration of a game can be increased by elements like injuries, waste of time strategies, and goal celebrations.

Pauses in Time

  • Unlike many other sports, soccer has a running clock, and it only pauses for big things like injuries, alternatives, or when the umpire has to deal with a problem on the field.
  • These timeouts can affect how the game plays out and lengthen it by a few minutes.

Additional Penalties and Time

  • If a championship or final round game ends in a draw, additional time is added to decide the winner.
  • The game is extended by 30 minutes for extra time, which may be a pivotal and anxious moment for both teams.
  • The game moves to a penalty shootout, an exciting but anxious technique to decide the winner if there is no winner after extra time.

Added Time

While the regulation time is 90 minutes, the actual time played often exceeds this due to “added time” or “injury time.” Added time compensates for stoppages during the game, such as injuries, substitutions, time-wasting, and other interruptions. The fourth official keeps track of these stoppages and indicates the amount of added time, announced at the end of each half. The referee has the final say on the amount of time added and can adjust it based on any further stoppages during added time.

The Rules for the Golden and Silver Goals

The “Golden Goal” rule, which states that the first side to score in extra time wins the match instantly, has been tested out in the past by a few tournaments. Another version of the “Silver Goal” rule stated that a side would be deemed the winner if they were ahead after the first 15-minute half of extra time. Nevertheless, most contests now play the entire 30 minutes of additional time. Therefore, these regulations are rarely followed.


While the 90-minute format is standard for professional and competitive matches, there are variations in other contexts:

  • Youth Matches: The duration of youth soccer matches can vary based on age groups. For example, under-12 games may consist of two 30-minute halves, while under-14 matches might have two 35-minute halves.
  • Friendly Matches: Friendly matches, which are non-competitive and often used for practice or charity, can have different lengths agreed upon by the teams and officials involved.
  • Shortened Formats: There are also variations like futsal (indoor soccer), which typically consists of two 20-minute halves, and small-sided games, which can have even shorter durations.

Likenesses to Other Sports

  • Soccer matches are generally shorter compared to other major sports like American football, rugby, or basketball.
  • Soccer is a continuous game with little breaks, which helps explain its quicker tempo and shorter duration.
  • Soccer matches continue to be the most intense and exciting, even though other sports may have lengthier game times.


Supporters and players must know how long a professional soccer match lasts. Every element, from regular game time to stoppages and extra time, is crucial in determining the entire experience. Soccer matches are a spectacular spectacle for sports fans worldwide because of its intensity and uncertainty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *