Soccer vs Basketball – Major Differences and Similarities

Apart from soccer as a ball game, there exist other ball games like basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, etc. All of the listed sports or games involve the playing of a ball which may differ in shape and size.

Meanwhile, Football also known as soccer stands to be the biggest and most supported game of any ball game existing presently. 

With the facts we have garnered so far, we will be looking closely at the differences as well as the similarities between soccer and basketball.

Not undermining the fact that soccer seems to be the most dominant ball game, the game of basketball is another ball game that has a very huge following all over the world.

Although both games involve playing with a ball, there is a long thin line that differentiates one from the other, which makes both undoubtedly unique ball games. The two sports are unique on their own in various aspects and we will be looking at soccer vs basketball below.

READ: What is a Clean Sheet in Soccer?

Soccer vs Basketball – The Differences

Number of players

A major difference between soccer and basketball comes to play with regard to the number of players in a team. This is one of the clear differences between the two ball games. 

In soccer, each team is made up of 11 players (10 outfield players and a goalkeeper who stays in between the sticks to guard his goal). This is not the case when it comes to basketball as it is a different situation entirely. 

In basketball, each team has only 5 players that are permitted to be on the court when play is one at any point in time. The game of basketball allows for 10 players with each team having 5 players on the court.

The shape and size of the ball in use are different

Soccer and basketball involve the use of balls when playing and it should be known that the balls for both sports differ as they come in different shapes and sizes.

One similarity is that the balls used in both sports are made of leather or better still composite leather. 

Regardless, differences between the ball used in basketball and the ones used in soccer can be seen in how they bounce, the type of color, weight, size, and hardness, amongst others.

For basketball, the color of the ball is dark brown and this is a big difference from a soccer ball which is usually white. How they bounce is also different. 

The ball used for basketball is designed to bounce up and down very fast while the ball for soccer is made to fly in the air based on their different weights. For sports fans that have come across the balls used in both sports, the basketball is heavier, thicker, and harder than a soccer ball.

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The duration of both sports

The duration of games is another aspect where soccer and basketball differ considerably. Soccer games are longer than basketball games.

Based on previous articles, we’ve explained that soccer games last for 90 minutes and this time is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each known as the first half and the second half. 

However, basketball games last for 48 minutes that are broken into four 12-minute periods plus halftime which lasts for 15 minutes. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that soccer games are longer than basketball games.

How the games are designed

Both sports are designed to operate differently. It can be recalled that soccer was meant to be played with both feet while basketball is designed to be played with both hands. Soccer is a foot game and is also referred to as football in some countries while basketball is a hand game.

The type of Jerseys used

Soccer and basketball come with jerseys that differ in look and design. The numbers allotted to players in both sports are different. 

Also, their tops are different as soccer players wear shirts that can be a half-sleeve or full-sleeve. This is not the case with basketball where players wear sleeveless shirts.

In the argument of soccer vs basketball, the aforementioned points are the major differences between the two very popular sports that have some very influential professionals. Regardless, soccer and football share some similarities and we’ll be discussing them below.

READ: What are caps in soccer?

Similarities between Soccer and Basketball

Soccer and Basketball involve the use of a ball

We’ve digressed from the soccer vs basketball argument and we are here to face the similarities between both sports. Soccer and Basketball involve the use of a ball. 

Soccer involves the movement of a ball between a team of 11 players against one another on the pitch while basketball involves the handling and movement of a ball between a team of 5 players against another in a basketball court. Therefore, both sports use balls. Without the balls, soccer and basketball cannot be played.

Soccer and Basketball share similar sporting techniques

We all know that various sports have techniques that are peculiar to them. However, soccer and basketball share some techniques that must be deployed to perfection for any of the teams in both sports to emerge tops against their opponents.

Measures to prevent sides from finding the net are applied in both sports such as dribbling, passing, throwing, and defending, amongst others.

Both sports require teams and are built on them

Soccer and basketball require teams to be in place for games to proceed. For instance, the game of soccer is played between two teams and the same applies to basketball although they differ in the number of players that engage in action per sport. 

The ball is the major factor in both sports

As we pointed out earlier, both sports cannot take place without the use of a ball. The ball is the driving force and is the main attraction in both sports. Teams wrestle to have the ball and dominate with it in both sports to enhance their chances of winning. Just imagine these two sports without a ball.

READ: What is a Red Card in Soccer? Full Guide

They make use of nets 

Soccer and basketball involve the use of nets although they are deployed in different fashions. A goal in soccer requires that the ball must hit the net or go past the goal line to be counted. In basketball, the ball must go through the net for points to be awarded. Without the nets in place, both sports would be directionless and without motive.


We’ve seen the differences and similarities between soccer and basketball. Both sports are entertaining, have stood the test of time, and continue to garner fans all over the world. Both sports involve the use of the ball and while soccer is played with both feet, basketball is played with both hands. 

Both sports are popular in North America and have produced some elite superstars and professionals that have wowed the world in each sport respectively and continue to do so. 

In this article, we’ve pointed out notable differences and similarities between basketball and soccer that fans of both sports should be aware of.