How Long Is a High School Soccer Game

How Long Is a High School Soccer Game? Exploring the Rules and Regulations

Are you a soccer enthusiast who’s curious about how long a high school soccer game lasts? You’re not alone! Many people wonder about the duration of a high school soccer game. It’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding the game to appreciate it fully, whether you’re a player or a fan. So, let us help you out by exploring how long a typical high school soccer game lasts and what other factors might affect its length.

The Length of a High School Soccer Game:

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), a high school soccer game consists of two halves of 40 minutes each, with a halftime break of 10 minutes. This means that a full soccer game at the high school level lasts for a total of 80 minutes.

However, it’s important to note that the length of a soccer game can be affected by various factors, such as injuries, stoppages, and weather conditions. In such cases, the referee has the authority to adjust the time accordingly, and the length of the game may vary from the standard 80 minutes.

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Overtime and Shootouts:

In the event of a tied game, high school soccer games may go into overtime. According to NFHS rules, overtime periods are typically two 10-minute halves, with a five-minute break in between. If the game is still tied after the overtime periods, a shootout may be used to determine the winner.

A shootout consists of a series of penalty kicks taken by five players from each team. The team with the most goals after the shootout is declared the winner. If the score is still tied after the first round of five penalty kicks each, additional rounds of one penalty kick per team are taken until a winner is determined.

Regulations and Guidelines

High school soccer games follow regulations and guidelines set by the NFHS and state athletic associations. These regulations cover various aspects of the game, such as player eligibility, equipment, and rules of play.

For example, NFHS rules require players to wear appropriate protective equipment, such as shin guards and mouthguards. They also establish guidelines for substitutions, fouls, and offside calls. Additionally, state athletic associations may have their own rules and regulations that must be followed by high school soccer teams.

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Factors That Can Affect The Length of A High School Soccer Game

There are several factors that can affect the length of a high school soccer game, including:

  • Injuries: If a player is injured during the game, the referee may stop the clock to allow for medical attention, which can add to the overall game time.
  • Stoppages: Stoppages can occur for various reasons, such as substitutions, fouls, or if the ball goes out of bounds. The referee may stop the clock during these times, which can increase the length of the game.
  • Weather: Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or lightning can cause the game to be temporarily suspended or delayed, leading to a longer overall game time.
  • Overtime and Shootouts: If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, overtime and shootouts may be used to determine the winner. This can add extra time to the game.
  • Referee Decisions: The referee has the authority to add or subtract time from the game based on their discretion, such as for time-wasting or unsportsmanlike behavior.

How Do High School Teams Prepare For A Game

High school soccer teams prepare for their games by implementing various strategies and techniques to ensure they are physically, mentally, and tactically prepared. Here are some common ways in which high school teams prepare for their games:

  • Practice: High school teams typically have regular practice sessions during the week leading up to the game. During these practices, players work on improving their skills, such as passing, shooting, and defending, as well as team tactics and strategies.
  • Video Analysis: Some high school teams use video analysis to review their previous games or their opponents’ games to identify strengths, weaknesses, and tactical formations. This helps the team to develop a game plan and make adjustments to their playing style to better match their opponents.
  • Physical Conditioning: High school teams also focus on physical conditioning to ensure that their players are fit and ready for the game. This includes strength training, cardio workouts, and stretching exercises.
  • Team Bonding: Team bonding activities are also important to build team cohesion and trust. Activities like team meals, movie nights, or other fun activities can help players feel closer and more connected to each other, leading to better teamwork on the field.
  • Mental Preparation: High school teams also work on mental preparation, such as visualization exercises and mental toughness training, to help players stay focused and motivated during the game.

In addition to these preparation techniques, high school teams may also scout their opponents to learn more about their playing style and identify potential weaknesses to exploit.

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Strategies Used in High School Soccer

High school soccer teams employ various strategies to gain an advantage over their opponents and increase their chances of winning. Here are some common strategies used in high school soccer:

  • Possession-based Strategy: This strategy involves maintaining control of the ball for long periods of time and using short passes to advance the ball up the field. It requires good ball control and passing skills, and can be effective in tiring out the opposing team and creating scoring opportunities.
  • Direct Attack Strategy: This strategy involves quickly moving the ball up the field through long passes and counter-attacks. It requires speedy and accurate passing, as well as players who are good at running and finishing.
  • Pressing Strategy: This strategy involves putting pressure on the opposing team’s players to force turnovers and create scoring opportunities. It requires players who are aggressive and quick to close down space.
  • Counter-attacking Strategy: This strategy involves defending deep and then quickly transitioning to attack when the ball is won. It requires quick and efficient transition play, as well as players who are good at making well-timed runs and finishing
  • Set-piece Strategy: This strategy involves using free-kicks, corner kicks, and throw-ins to create scoring opportunities. It requires players who are good at delivering accurate and dangerous set-pieces, as well as players who are good at attacking the ball in the air.

These are just a few common strategies used in high school soccer. Teams may also employ variations or combinations of these strategies, depending on their strengths and weaknesses and those of their opponents. Ultimately, the key to success in high school soccer is to have a well-organized and disciplined team that can execute their strategy effectively.


High school soccer games typically last for 80 minutes, consisting of two halves of 40 minutes each. However, the length of the game may be adjusted by the referee in certain circumstances. Overtime and shootouts may also be used to determine the winner in the event of a tied game. It’s important for high school soccer players and coaches to understand the rules and regulations surrounding the game to ensure fair play and player safety.

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