How Long Are High School Soccer Games? A Quick Guide to Match Duration

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High school soccer is a popular sport in many countries around the world. It is a great way for teenagers to stay active and develop their skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. However, some people may wonder how long are high school soccer games, as they may have different expectations or experiences based on other sports or levels of competition.

The length of high school soccer games can vary depending on several factors. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the official rules for high school soccer in the United States state that a game consists of two halves of 40 minutes each, with a halftime break of up to 10 minutes. However, this is just a guideline, and different states or associations may have slightly different rules or traditions. Additionally, the actual duration of a game can be affected by factors such as injury time, substitutions, stoppages, and weather conditions.

Regulation Time

High school soccer games are typically divided into two halves of 40 minutes each, making the total regulation time 80 minutes. The clock runs continuously during each half, except for injuries or other stoppages of play that may require additional time.

Unlike other sports like basketball or football, soccer does not have a set number of plays or possessions per team. Instead, the game is determined by the number of goals scored by each team during the regulation time. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, the game may go into overtime or penalty kicks to determine the winner.

During regulation time, players must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by their respective state athletic associations. This includes rules regarding substitutions, fouls, and other aspects of the game. Referees are responsible for enforcing these rules and ensuring that the game is played fairly and safely.

Overtime and Penalty Kicks

High school soccer games can sometimes end in a tie, which means that overtime or penalty kicks may be needed to determine a winner. Overtime is an additional period of play that is added to the end of the game if the score is tied after regulation time. Penalty kicks are a series of one-on-one shots taken by each team to determine the winner.

In high school soccer, overtime periods are typically 10 minutes long and can be sudden-death or golden-goal overtime. Sudden-death overtime means that the first team to score wins, while golden-goal overtime means that the game continues until the end of the overtime period, regardless of whether a goal is scored.

If the score is still tied after overtime, the game moves on to penalty kicks. Each team selects five players to take penalty kicks, alternating between teams. If the score is still tied after five penalty kicks, the game moves on to sudden-death penalty kicks, where the first team to miss a penalty kick loses.

It’s important to note that overtime and penalty kicks are only used in certain situations, such as playoffs or championship games. During regular season games, ties are often allowed to stand.

Halftime and Breaks

High school soccer games typically have two halves, each lasting 40 minutes. There is a 10-minute halftime break between the two halves. During halftime, teams have the opportunity to rest, rehydrate, and strategize for the second half of the game.

In addition to halftime, there may be additional breaks during the game. These breaks may occur if a player is injured or if there is a stoppage in play for any reason. The length of these breaks can vary depending on the situation.

It is important for players to use breaks effectively, whether it is halftime or a stoppage in play. During breaks, players should take the time to hydrate and communicate with their teammates and coaches. This is also a good time to make any necessary adjustments to their game plan.

Factors that Affect Game Length

High school soccer games can vary in length depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help players, coaches, and spectators better plan for the game and ensure a smooth experience.

One of the main factors affecting game length is the level of play. Varsity games typically last longer than junior varsity or freshman games. This is because varsity teams often have more experienced players who can play at a higher pace and require longer periods of rest. In contrast, junior varsity and freshman games may have shorter halves and more substitutions to accommodate developing athletes.

Another factor is the weather conditions. Extreme heat or cold can lead to longer game times due to increased player fatigue or the need for additional breaks. Rain or snow can also affect game length by making the field slippery and slowing down play.

The style of play can also impact game length. Teams that prioritize possession and passing may have longer games due to fewer turnovers and stoppages in play. Conversely, teams that play a more direct style with long balls and counterattacks may have shorter games with more transitions and turnovers.

Finally, the officiating can impact game length. Referees who are more lenient with fouls and stoppages may lead to longer games, while stricter officials may result in shorter games with fewer fouls and stoppages.


After conducting research and analyzing the data, it can be concluded that high school soccer games typically last around 80 minutes. This includes two 40-minute halves and a halftime break of 10-15 minutes.

It is important to note that game durations may vary depending on the level of play, location, and weather conditions. Additionally, overtime periods may be added in the case of tied games during playoff or championship matches.

Overall, understanding the duration of high school soccer games can help players, coaches, and fans better prepare for the game and enjoy the experience. By arriving at the field with a clear understanding of the game’s length, everyone can focus on enjoying the competition and supporting their team.