American football, just football for the Americans and soccer, football for most places, but the United States are both on the top of the list when examining the popularity of all sports. However, they are far from identical. In fact, football and soccer are very different even when they are relative sports, and one of the biggest differences is the field. Although they are both green and big!
In this article, I will explain all the differences there is to know between football and soccer fields, going through size, material, lines, and so on. So, what’s the difference between soccer and football field?
In short, soccer is played on a field that is between 300-390ft (91-119m) long and 150-300ft (46-91m) wide, whereas a football field is 360ft (110m) long and 160ft (49m) wide. In addition, the markings and goalposts vary drastically, yet both surfaces are made from natural grass or artificial turf.
That said, the vast green appearance doesen’t mean that they are the same, oh no. Next, let’s dive deeper into the subject of soccer and football fields and examine each area of difference individually to gain a full understanding!
I already revealed the sizes of soccer and football fields, but to recap, take a look at them below:
- Soccer field: 300-390ft long & 150-300ft wide
- Football field: 360ft long & 160ft wide
As you can see, the size of a soccer field varies quite drastically, especially when looking at the width. Football fields are always the same size, so they may or may not be bigger than a soccer field. Taking an average from the dimension range in soccer fields, the total area is 81,000ft2, whereas the total area on a football field is 57,600ft2, which is considerably smaller.
At this point, you might ask yourself, why do soccer fields vary in size? There are a few correct answers here. First, when looking at regular soccer fields, the designing process can vary depending on the area available. For example, if a school plans to construct a soccer field without enough space for a larger field, a smaller field can be made.
The biggest reason for the size change is that the home team can have a field advantage over the other by adjusting the field size to their style of play. Imagine that you played soccer on a massive field and visited a smaller field. The home team would have an advantage and vice versa.
The common stadium size for many professional soccer teams is 115 yd by 74 yds (105 x 68 meters) with an area of 76,900sq (2 7,140m2).
Football fields, however, are always the same size, so there isn’t anything to explain there. However, the goal post size varies between the high school, college, and professional (NFL) league; more on that later.
Moving on to materials and surfaces soccer and football are played. The smallest differences come into play here, as there aren’t many differences between them. Both fields are found in natural grass or artificial turf surfaces.
However, there are differences in preferences as soccer leagues prefer natural grass as a field surface, whereas football leagues prefer artificial turf surfaces. This is because soccer fields won’t get nearly as damaged after a match compared to a football game. There is a lot of tackling and falling to the ground in football. In soccer, it’s minimal because tackling isn’t allowed.
To put this into numbers, only five Major League Soccer fields (MLS) have synthetic turf fields, and the rest 23 teams have real natural grass fields in their home stadiums. In contrast, 16 NFL teams, meaning 50% of the teams play on artificial turf, and the other half play on real grass fields.
The vast majority of soccer and football players prefer real grass fields as the traction and feel considerably better. Also, it’s softer to fall on a natural grass field, decreasing injuries and pain.
Yet, artificial turf fields have many benefits, such as lower maintenance needs, better durability, increased weather resistance, etc.
Did you know that you must get the ball within the goal in soccer, but it isn’t necessarily so in football, even though football features a goal the same.
In addition, the goals are different in size and shape too. Now, let’s learn more about each goal and how scores are made in soccer and football.
- Soccer goals are wider yet shorter than football goals. The dimensions are 8 ft x 24ft (2.44m x 7.32m), and you are awarded one goal by getting the ball inside the goal, no more, no less. Soccer goalposts are lightweight plastic or metal with a twisted polyethylene net.
- Football goals are taller yet more narrow than soccer goals. The dimensions are 35ft x 18.5ft (10.67m x 5.64m), and you are awarded three points by kicking the ball through the goalposts. Although, making a tough down on the end zone awards six points. The football goalposts are often made from heavy gauge steel and aluminum.
The shape is also different between soccer and football goals. A soccer goal is rectangular, approximately three times as wide as tall. We all know what they look like a stereotypic goal. However, football goals have a unique look. They have one sturdy leg that supports a goal shaped like ”U”.
There are many differences between football and soccer, even though the name can confuse people depending on the country you live in. Still, they aren’t as different as night and day as they are relatives amongst each other.
The field markings are perhaps the most considerable difference between football and soccer fields. They are one of the most noticeable too, as they vary so much. Let’s dive deeper.
The markings divide the field into different areas, and they all have a meaning. Both soccer and football field markings are marked with white lines, yet that’s where the similarities stop.
Markings can mean various things, such as where a penalty is kicked, the end zone, the center area, or different yard marks. Let’s look at what field markings soccer and football fields are included with and their meaning.
Soccer field markings
Generally, there are more markings on a soccer field with different meanings. However, the amount of lines etc is fewer than on a football field.
Here are some of the most important soccer field markings;
- The Center spot is a small circle at the exact center of the field. This is where kick-offs happen.
- The Center circle is a circle with a 10yard radius from the halfway line.
- The halfway line divides the soccer field into two halves. It’s also known as the midfield line.
- A penalty spot is a dot in front of each goal that marks where penalties are kicked.
- A penalty area is a rectangular area in front of each goal where the goalkeeper can touch the ball with their hands and where a penalty is awarded when the defending team makes a foul.
- The goal area is a smaller rectangular area within the penalty area. Its purpose is to mark the place for a goal kick and be a buffer zone for dropped balls.
- Corner arcs are found at every corner of the playing area. They are also where corner kicks are kicked when they pass over the goal line at the end of the field.
Football field markings
There are slightly fewer markings on a football field that mean something; however, the number of lines and markings is greater.
Here are the most notable football field markings;
- 10-yard lines are white vertical lines marked every 10 yards running from 10 to 50 and then back to 10.
- 5-yard increments are marked every five yards on the field. In each direction from the 50-yard line towards the end zone, the yard line decreases the closer you get.
- 1-yard hash marks are tiny lines used to mark the 1-yard sections between each 5-yard line going from sideline to sideline.
- The end zone is the scoring area on the field. It’s the zone between the end line and goal-line within the bounds of the sidelines. There are two end zones on the field on each end.
- Numerals in multiples of 10 are numbers <10, <20, <30, <40, 50, 40>, 30>, 20>, 10> appearing every 10th yard. The numbers 10 to 40 have arrows directing towards the goal.
Field markings are connected to the rules of both soccer and football. It would be impossible to play either without the lines as any errors and successes couldn’t be measured.
To recap, check out the table below for quick information about the differences between soccer and football fields.
|Feature||Soccer Field||Football Field|
|Materials||Natural grass or artificial turf||Natural grass or artificial turf|
|Lenght||300-390ft / 1 00-130yd / 91-119m||360ft / 120yd / 110m|
|Width||150-300ft / 50-100yd / 46-91m||160ft / 53yd / 49m|
|Average area||81,000ft2 / 9000yd2 / 7525m2||57,600ft2/ 6400yd2 / 5351m2|
|Goal size||8 ft x 24ft /2.44m x 7.32m||35ft x 18.5ft / 10.67m x 5.64m|
|Markings||Center spot & center line|
2 goal & penalty areas
4 corner arcs
5-yard yard lines
1-yard hash marks
2 end zones
Numerals in multiples of 10
Can You Play Soccer On a Football Field?
After reading all the differences and similarities between football and soccer fields, you might wonder whether you can play soccer on a football field. That’s a good question that I’m going to explain next.
You can play soccer on a football field because the official football field size fits inside the official soccer field dimensions, even when soccer fields can be of different sizes. In fact, many schools use the same field for both soccer and football as it can be interchangeable.
The biggest issue that comes here is often the matter of markings. The markings on a football field are drastically different from those required in soccer; however, they can be monitored more loosely for recreational use. You can also bring soccer goals to the end lines of the football field, so yes, soccer can be played.
When you compare the difference between markings and the cost of getting and maintaining a second field, the answer is clear for most schools.
Can You Play Football On a Soccer Field?
Given that a football field can be used for soccer, it’s only natural to question whether you can turn the sports around and use a soccer field for football. Let’s find out.
In theory, you can play football on a soccer field if the field is 360ft long and 160ft wide, and you have moveable football goals that can be placed at the end of the field. However, soccer fields vary in shape, and moveable football goals aren’t common. Yet, it can be done.
The chances of playing football on a soccer field are drastically less than playing soccer on a football field. In addition, the matter of markings comes on the way here, too, so only recreational football could be played. If you find a way to get the right markings on the field, you could even play proper football.
All in all, it’s best to stick with the field meant for each sport to spare yourself from headaches. I just love both sports!
My Favorite Football Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value you can implement in your life. Finally, below you can find my favorite football equipment that I think would serve you well on the field!
- Football: I like to get quality things at once, so I don’t need to replace everything after a short while. And for that reason, Wilson “The Duke” Football is the only choice for that. You can get this authentic NFL football as an official game ball or a cheaper metallic edition version. Whichever you might choose, The Duke is the only official football in the league’s history, making it the best choice.
- Cleats: Cleats play an important role in football as they are the traction between you and the field. There is no better than the Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360, and for a good reason. The cleats feature a lightweight, short upper, supporting lacing system and a wide stud layout for fast speed and reliable traction. Oh, and all the various designs are beyond stunning!
- Gloves: No matter whether you throw or receive the ball, you can say goodbye to your performance if you don’t have proper gloves. Enter Seibetron Receiver Gloves equipped with various benefits, such as excellent grip on the fingers and palms, great durability, and a green light for machine washing!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.