Soccer Field Layout And Dimensions

If you’re new to soccer, it can be a little confusing at first to work out what all the lines and markings on the field are there for.

In this article, we’ll go through the layout of a standard soccer field, explain what it all means, and what the dimensions are.


A soccer field absolutely has to be rectangular, the two long sides are called touchlines and the shorter ones are called goal lines. This is pretty much the only thing about the field that never changes, so there will always be a nice, regular rectangle to play on.

On a regulation field, the touchlines must be 100-130 yards long and the goal lines have to be 50-100 yards.

It might seem a bit strange that there’s such a big range of sizes the field can be, but these regulations are relaxed so that everyone can follow them. If you’re a small, amateur team, it might be difficult to change the dimensions of your field, so the rules make soccer inclusive for everyone!

However, at international level, the rules are a little stricter. The touchlines for an international game must be 110-120 yards and the goal lines between 70 and 80 yards. Naturally, the higher up the ranks you go, the more closely regulated the dimensions have to be to keep the competition fair for everyone.

Penalty Area

The rectangular box around the goal at either end of the field is known as the penalty area or penalty box. There are quite a few different markings that feature in and around the penalty area and they all serve their own important purposes.

The box itself is 44 yards by 18 yards and is probably the most dangerous part of the field if you’re a defender. Any foul that’s made inside this box (shirt-pulling, tripping, pushing, etc) will result in a penalty kick for the attacking team.

This brings us on to the penalty mark (or penalty spot). This is a small dot in the penalty area, 12 yards away from the centre of the goal. It indicates where the penalty kick is to be taken from.

The penalty arc is the curved line that connects to the longer side of the penalty box. The arc extends 10 yards away from the penalty mark at all points and indicates the area that players are not allowed inside while a penalty kick is being taken.

If a player stands inside the penalty arc and runs in after the kick is saved, the ref will order the penalty to be retaken.

The final part of the penalty area is the goal area. It’s commonly referred to as the 6-yard box because- you guessed it- it extends 6 yards away from the goal and is 20 yards wide.

The main purpose of this box is to indicate where the goalkeeper can take a goal kick. However, a less common rule states that if an indirect free kick incident takes place in the goal area (for example, an illegal back pass to the goalkeeper), the kick must be taken from the edge of the goal area, adjacent to where the incident took place.

The Goals

Probably the most important parts of the field are the goals at either end. They’re placed on the centre of each goal line and must be 8 yards wide and 8 feet high. In the past, goals didn’t need to have a net connected to the frame to catch the ball but this is a requirement now.

Other than that, there aren’t many rules about what the goals need to look like, as long as the two vertical posts and horizontal crossbar are painted white.

The Centre

Each team must stand in their own half before the kick-off at the start of the game. The players know where they need to stand because of the halfway line, which stretches across the width of the field, exactly the same distance from each goal line.

There’s also another reason the halfway line is useful. According to the ever-complicated ‘offside law’, an attacking player can’t be called out for being offside if they’re in their own half. Attackers use the halfway line to make sure they’re in their own half so they can run forward into the space behind the opposition defenders.

The centre circle and centre mark serve a similar purpose to the penalty arc and penalty mark we looked at earlier. The centre mark is exactly in the centre of the field and it’s where players have to take the kick-off from to start the game.

The centre circle extends 10 yards away from the centre mark and shows the area where players on the opposition team are not allowed to stand when the kick-off is taken.

Until recently, the laws of the game stated that the kick-off needed to be kicked forward to start the game. For this reason, you always saw two teammates standing over the ball for the kick to be taken. Nowadays, the kick-off can be kicked backwards, so the kicker can pass it straight to one of their teammates immediately.


In each of the four corners of a soccer field, you’ll notice a few markers that are there to help out with corner kicks.

If the ball touches a defending player and goes out of bounds over the goal line, the attacking team gets to take a kick from the corresponding corner.

The corner arc is a curved line extending 1 yard from the actual corner of the field and it shows the kick taker where they have to place the ball to take the corner kick. 

Another rule for corner kicks is that defending players have to be at least 10 yards away from the corner before the kick is taken. On some soccer fields, you’ll see a small marking on the touchline and goal line to indicate how far 10 yards is from the corner.

However, on some fields (particularly at amateur level) these marks won’t be there, so it’s up to the ref to decide how close the defenders can get.

The last marking that makes up a corner is the corner flag. There aren’t any regulations (below professional level) about how tall these flags have to be, so you’ll often see a variety of sizes.

The flag is there to make it easier for the officials to see whether the ball goes out over the goal line (resulting in a goal kick or corner kick) or the touchline (resulting in a throw-in).

If the ball hits the flag and bounces back to a player, it technically hasn’t gone out of bounds and the game can continue.

There aren’t many rules about how the corner flags should be decorated. Most professional teams go for the club badge or the logo of their sponsor.

Final Thoughts

As with most sports, the layouts and dimensions we’ve listed here might be different depending on the level of the game, the age of the players, or just how good the groundskeeper is at painting the lines!

As a soccer fan, knowing what the layout means is essential for discussing the game with civilized friends… or screaming at the TV when the ball definitely went over the goal line! Either way, hopefully you’re a bit more clued up on the layout and dimensions of a soccer field now.