Soccer Field Components
Soccer Field Components
We've learned about the lines and dimensions of a soccer pitch. Now it's time to learn about the components that make up the pitch. There are nine components that we'll cover in this tutorial.
Field of Play
The field of play is the area on the pitch within the boundary lines. The field of play is made up of the sidelines and bylines. The length of the field of play measures between 90-120 m (100-130 yds) while the width measures between 45-90 m (50-100 yds). Together, the entire area of a field is 4,050-10,800 m (5,000-13,000 yds).
The area of the field surrounding the halfway line is known as midfield. Midfield is a highly contested area on the pitch. The team that controls the ball in midfield has a lot of options. They can pass back into the defensive third to a defender or pass into the attacking third to a striker.
On both ends of the pitch is a goal, placed directly at the center of the goal lines. The goals are made up of three main parts called the crossbar, two posts, and a net. All goals are attached to the ground with metal pegs.
There is a vertical bar called the crossbar that spans the width of the goal connecting both posts. The crossbar must be made of a solid material, so that a soccer ball can bounce off of it. The crossbar is 2.44 m (8 ft) up in the air above the ground. Remember, any ball that is played off the crossbar is still in play as long as it stays within the boundary lines.
The Goal Posts
There are two vertical support posts that keep the crossbar suspended in the air called goal posts. Together the crossbar and goal posts form the frame of the goal. According to FIFA, the posts are white in color and have the same width of the crossbar of 12 cm (5 inches). The distance between both the posts are 7.32 m (8 yds). A ball that is kicked or played off the goal posts is in play.
The net of the goal post is secured to the crossbar and posts to create the full goal. In many professional stadiums, this net will strung up to form a box. It is important that the net does not fall down and impede the keeper from doing his job.
The Center Mark or Center Spot
The center mark, also known as the center spot, is a marking made at the exact center point of the pitch. It is used for kickoffs to designate where the ball will be placed. You can learn more about kickoffs with Soccer Kickoffs.
The Center Circle
The center circle is the circle placed in the middle of the pitch, divided by the halfway line with the center mark in the center. On a kickoff, all but the player kicking off must be outside of the center circle.
The Goal Area
The goal area is a smaller box located on both ends of the pitch, inside of the penalty area. It designates where a goalie may kick a soccer ball back into play when it goes out-of-bounds beyond the endline by the team on offense.
The Penalty Area
The penalty area is a large rectangle on both halves of the pitch. The rules of the penalty area allow the goalie to use his hands in this entire part of the field. All penalty kicks also happen in this area. A penalty kick is given to an offensive player who has been fouled by a defensive player in the penalty area. The penalty area is known as the 18-yard box, while the goal area is sometimes referred to as the 6-yard box or the box for short. All goal kicks are taken in the goal area. A player is said to be inside the box if they are within the penalty box.
The Penalty Spot
The penalty spot is a small marking inside of the penalty area placed 11 m (12 yards) away from the center of the goal line. If a player is awarded a penalty kick, the ball is placed on that mark for the kick.
The corners of the soccer field are an important location to know. All corner kicks happen at the corner arcs. The corners are surrounded by both boundary lines, so if you're playing defense this is a great spot to keep the offensive player with the ball. If you have the ball in a corner in the attacking third, you should try and cross the ball to a teammate in the middle for an open shot.
The Corner Arc
There are four quarter-circle corner arcs placed at each corner of the pitch. While the exact size will vary based on professional level and pitch size, the corner arc is used as a guide for corner kicks. When a corner kick is awarded, the ball must be placed somewhere along the arc for the kick to be legal.
The Corner Flag
At each of the four corners is a flag placed where the endlines and touchlines meet. The corner flags serve as indicators to referees and players about the boundaries of the pitch and when the ball is inbounds and goes out of bounds.
The Technical Area
Most pitches will have some sideline space known as the technical area for players to warm up before being substituted into the game. The sideline space is also for coaches (managers) to walk around and communicate with their players during matches. Only one coach is allowed in the technical area during a game at a time.