How Large Is a Soccer Field in Acres?

Outside of the United States, soccer (or football) is one of the most popular sports. It is played by people of all ages in the majority of nations worldwide. Fans of soccer typically refer to their field as a “pitch.” The typical size of an adult soccer field is 81,000 square feet (1.86 acres), but the dimensions of soccer fields vary based on the level of play, the age of the players, and the location of the field.

Sizes of Youth and College Soccer Fields

Youth soccer pitches vary in size depending on the age of the players. Fields for 7- and 8-year-olds range between 5,400 and 13,500 square feet (0.12 and 0.31 acres). The playing grounds for nine- and ten-year-olds range in size from 13,500 to 21,600 square feet (0.31 to 0.5 acres). High school athletes often play on fields measuring between 49,500 and 86,400 square feet (1.14 and 1.98 acres). NCAA regulations require collegiate soccer pitches to be between 72,450 and 81,000 square feet (1.66 and 1.98 acres) in size.

Adult Football Fields

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international soccer governing body, has set the standard range for soccer field dimensions at 69,300 to 86,400 square feet (1.59 to 1.98 acres). This is the field size range for competitions such as the World Cup. The optimal size of their field is 76,590 square feet, or 1.77 acres.

There is no standard field size for Major League Soccer (MLS), the professional soccer league in the United States. However, the MLS stipulates that soccer grounds cannot be smaller than 1.59 acres or 69,300 square feet.

World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Briana Scurry of the Atlanta Beat (and USWNT) catches the ball during a 2003 WUSA match.

A Little Context Regarding Soccer Field Sizes

Let’s compare FIFA-standard soccer fields to other vast areas in order to gain an interesting perspective on how they compare. A conventional private airport hangar is approximately 38,000 square feet, or 0.87 acres. It may easily fit within the minimum FIFA soccer field size of 1.59 acres.
A minimum FIFA soccer field would dwarf a 1.32-acre American football field, which is 57,600 square feet. At 90,000 square feet (2.07 acres), the average professional baseball field is slightly larger than even the largest FIFA soccer fields.

A History of Football

The game known as soccer in the United States originated in China approximately 2,000 years ago. Similar sports originated in Greece, Rome, and pre-Columbian America, but the Chinese game is the one that most closely resembles its modern counterpart. Archaeologists discovered the oldest known soccer ball within a wall of Stirling Castle in Scotland and dated it to the fifteenth century.

End-of-the-nineteenth-century rules indicate that the English and Scots developed the sport into its modern form. The first professional soccer clubs were founded in Scotland in 1824, and they have since spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Today, FIFA estimates that 240 million people play soccer worldwide.

The sport of soccer in the United States

In the United States, soccer has a longer history than many people realise. There is evidence that Jamestown colonists played an early form of soccer, and Harvard began intramural soccer competition in 1827. Several Ivy League universities fielded soccer teams following the Civil War, as soccer’s popularity expanded. In the 1870s, professional teams began playing a soccer-rugby hybrid.

In 1912, FIFA initially denied the United States men’s team membership, but did so a year later. In the 1920s, pure-form professional men’s leagues emerged, and in 1930, the United States fielded its first men’s World Cup team. The men’s team hosted the United States’ first World Cup in 1994, followed by the inaugural season of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996.

Women’s soccer in the United States is now governed by the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The NWSL was founded in 2012, following Women’s Professional Soccer (2007-2012) and Women’s United Soccer Association (2001-2003). In addition, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) has won four FIFA World Cups, four Olympic gold medals, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups, making it the most successful international women’s soccer team.

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