How Long Is A Soccer Game?

The game of soccer has attained massive popularity over the years and keeps attracting a significant number of fans. However, these fans have to understand the game and what it entails such as how long a soccer game lasts. The question is this; How long are soccer games?

This question of how long a soccer game is continues to persist and beg for answers and we at Footiehound have come up with a suitable response to the question.

Meanwhile, other questions abound, such as; How many minutes of action are in a soccer game? Why does the clock run up instead of down? Does the game clock differ between youth soccer leagues and professional soccer leagues? Find your answers below.

READ: What Does Full Time (FT) Mean In Soccer?

What Is A Soccer Game?

This question should be a no-brainer. However, we want the newbies in the sport to get thorough information about what the round leather game entails, as well as know the time limit to place on soccer games where their sports betting options can come to fruition.

A soccer game can be described as a single clash or fixture between two soccer teams and they could be national teams or just clubs. For instance, a Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester City is a soccer game.

A soccer game could be a friendly, a tournament fixture, or a league game. Regardless, the duration is the same for all.

The exception here is that there is no room for extra time and penalty shootouts in friendlies and league games although they can be applied to tournament fixtures.

Is There ‘A Longest Soccer Game’?

The answer to this question is Yes. The longest competitive game in soccer history was the match between Doncaster Rovers and Stockport County in 1946. The game lasted for a whopping 3 hours and 23 minutes and this was during the second world war.
The game lasted till the sun went down, leaving the players on the pitch severely exhausted. The referee thought it was wise to end the match as the sun had gone down and it was settled via the flipping of a coin.

How Long is a Soccer Game in Game Minutes?

A professional soccer match comprising either male teams or female teams lasts for 90 minutes which are divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. There is a halftime break between the two halves and it lasts for 15 minutes.

However, when you calculate the entire duration including added time, it will exceed 90 minutes. 

Let’s consider a soccer game where the added time at the end of the first half was 4 minutes. The game would have lasted for 49 minutes in the first half.

Also, if this is the case in the second half, let’s say 3 minutes, then it would have lasted for 48 minutes. 

Now, if you add 49 + 48, about 97 minutes of action would have been played in the game, although it would officially be declared as 90 minutes of action.

Why Do Soccer Games Last For 90 Minutes?

In the early days of soccer, teams engaged in soccer games until the sun went down as there was no official time clock. Sounds strange right? Those players must have been tireless bulls to last that long.

However, changes came up in 1886 when a between London and Sheffield lasted for 90 minutes based on an agreement. 

This method was subsequently adopted and became the norm. The 90-minute match was made official in 1897 and the IFAB adopted the rule. This has been the norm till now.

How Long Does it Take to Watch a Soccer Match?

How long is a soccer game on TV? A professional soccer game can last for about 2 hours although the game clock is 90 minutes with a 15-minute half in between both halves of 45 minutes each. This could be the case due to stoppages and extra time.

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Stoppages refer to incidents like the celebration of a goal, injury break, the ball going out of bounds, fans invading the pitch, and player scuffles, among other disruptions to the flow of a soccer game. 

The extra time could be in the knockout phases of a soccer competition when the game ends in a draw after 90 minutes plus added time and also progresses to a penalty shootout. 

Meanwhile, some competitions progress directly to penalty shootouts without extra time. Talking about extra time, it should be known that this concept comes into play when a winner must emerge from the game.

How Does Extra Time Work in Soccer?

Extra Time in soccer is after full time has elapsed in a soccer game and no winner emerged from the game. In this scenario, a winner must emerge, and no better way to decide it than for players to continue for another 30 minutes of action.

Let’s take the UEFA Champions League as an example, specifically the final game. If no winner emerges after 90 minutes plus added time, the game progresses to extra time and this is comprised of two 15-minute halves totaling 30 minutes.

Even if one of the teams manages to take the lead, both halves will be played and the entire duration completed. However, if it still ends in a draw, a winner is decided by penalty shootouts.

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Why Do Soccer Games Go Over 90 Minutes of the Game Clock?

As stated earlier, there is the concept of added time at the end of each half of football if there were some stoppages during the game. 

This occurs when a player is injured during the game and needs help leaving the pitch. 

All these scenarios result in time consumption and the referee has to compensate with added time although it has been observed that they are hardly accurate with the additional time they provide.

Why Does the Soccer Clock Count Up Instead of Down?

This is the case to ensure that the disruption of the game is minimized. The clock does not stop unless the game needs to be abandoned due to one reason or the other. Therefore, it is not ideal for the clock to count down in soccer and go to zero or a negative number.

The upward movement of the clock also helps the referee to control the game as he can identify any time-wasting antics and give added time when the half is close to ending. This enables the referee to properly focus on the game instead of stopping their watch and restarting the game clock.

Meanwhile, there are timeouts during a soccer match but teams can make substitutions which is three although the coronavirus pandemic has seen the rule adjusted to five substitutions during a soccer game.

How Long is a College Soccer Game?

The duration of a college soccer game is 90 minutes of regulation time divided into two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute break between both intervals. 

However, NCAA college soccer matches employ the Golden Goal Rule. The rule states that the game will end in a tie if there are no goals at the end of the game. Regardless, if there is a tie at the end of the game and both teams score, they go into overtime.

How long is a Soccer Game in High School?

For high schools, the game of soccer consists of two 40-minute periods. Therefore, the game lasts for 80 minutes plus a 10-minute intermission between both halves of 40 minutes each. The intermission period can be altered and shortened if both teams involved in the game agree to that before the game commences.

How Long is a Youth Soccer Game?

For youth soccer leagues, the game time varies and this depends on the age group of the soccer players involved. 

  • Under-8s play four 12-minute quarters
  • Under 10s play for two 25-minute halves
  • Players under 12 have two 30-minute halves and two 10-minute halves in overtime
  • Under-14s play for = two 35-minute halves and have two 10-minute halves in overtime
  • Players under 16 have two 40-minute halves and two 15-minute halves in overtime
  • Under-19s play for two 45-minute halves and two 15-minute halves in overtime.

READ: What Does COYS Mean In Soccer?


As we end this article, soccer fans should do well to know that a professional soccer game lasts for 90 minutes and this is standard across all reputable soccer leagues and tournaments.

The 90 minutes of action is divided into two 45-minute halves known as the first half and the second half. It should also be known that there is added time before each half is ended by the game depending on the stoppages that occurred.

So the question of how long is a soccer game has been answered in this article. We also pointed out the longest soccer game in the history of the sport and how the game was settled. 

Regardless, soccer games can last for 2 hours due to stoppages and other unforeseen events during a game and soccer fans tend to enjoy it. Fans won’t mind if a soccer game proceeds for hours but the players on the pitch won’t be able to cope.