Are you an avid soccer fan and one of the many parents cheering from the stands during game day? Then you might have wondered, at least once, how a high school soccer field differs from a professional soccer field. Well, you’re not the only one left wondering.
There are strict rules and guidelines written by the International Football Association Board IFAB that dictate the size of a professional soccer field. After all, these pitches will be used for professional and international matches.
Although high school soccer is an entirely different level compared to professional soccer, there are still guidelines set by the National Federation of State High School Associations or NFHS for high school soccer fields that should be followed.
Taking both into account, let’s take a look at the differences between the two before we compare them.
First, let’s take a look at the average high school soccer field
Of course, when we look at a soccer field, the first thing we want to know is the dimensions.
The NFHS has set guides and recommendations for how big a high school field or pitch should be. They have provided measurements and dimensions that high schools should comply with.
A high school soccer field should be 100 – 120 yards long and 55- 80 yards wide. The center spot should be 9 inches and a 10-yard radius for the center circle. The goal width should measure 7.32 m or 24 feet wide. The goal’s area in depth and width must be 6 yards and 20 yards.
The penalty area’s depth should be 18 yards, and the width should be 44 yards. The measurement from the goal line to the penalty spot is 11 m or 12 yards.
Bear in mind that the average high school soccer field was measured from the outside of the boundary, which is the white lines, not from the inside.
You might find this little detail trivial, but it makes a whopping difference when measuring out the field. Measuring the field from the inside of the boundary line makes the markings in the field appear bigger, causing problems when playing the game on the field.
Now, let’s take a look at the professional soccer field
Of course, professional soccer is where the money is at, so you can expect that the guidelines are stricter.
As we have mentioned, the NFHS is responsible for setting the rules and guidelines for high school soccer, while another prestigious board mandates the rules and regulations for professional soccer, and that is none other than the International Football Association Board or IFAB.
This board dictates all the rules for soccer, not just in one country, but throughout the world.
A lot of people are getting the wrong impression that the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA is the one dictating the rules, but FIFA is actually a member of IFAB.
Without going on about it, let’s take a look at the size of a professional pitch.
A professional pitch is required to have a measurement of 100 – 130 yards long and 50 – 100 yards wide. Its center circle should have a radius of 10 yards with a 9 inches center spot. The goal area should have a width of 20 yards and 6 yards in depth, and the goal for professional soccer is always 8 yards or 24 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
The penalty area in width must measure 44 yards and 18 yards in depth. The line from the goal to the penalty spot should be 12 yards.
Again, we emphasize that these were measured outside the boundary line, the same method of measuring as the high school soccer field.
Now, it’s time to compare the two!
Just by looking at the measurements for both soccer fields, you will see that the only obvious difference in dimensions between the two types of soccer fields are the dimensions for the soccer field’s length and width. The rest are practically the same.
However, it is important to note that we can only compare the guidelines because different soccer fields have different points of range, so comparing the exact measurements will be too ambitious.
Compared to the high school pitch, the dimension range for a professional pitch is noticeably larger. But, if you look closely, it seems that the range for a professional pitch is on the higher end of the scale because they have wider guidelines compared to the high school pitch guidelines.
As you can see, high school soccer fields are given more leeway when it comes to the measurements.
Aside from the fact that high schoolers are not full-grown adults and do not necessarily need a pitch as big as the professional one, the NFHS also recognizes the fact that not all high schools have access to bigger spaces—enough to make a soccer field the same size as the professional one.
Other than the length and width of the soccer field, the measurements for both types of soccer fields are comparatively similar. But in reality, because of the dimension range and stricter guidelines, a high school soccer field is usually smaller than a professional soccer field.