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How Far Is A Penalty Kick In Soccer?

How Far Is A Penalty Kick In Soccer?

In soccer, the field of play (commonly known as a pitch) has markings that help demarcate areas of the pitch. A standard soccer pitch is rectangular. A notable larger rectangular marking on each side of the pitch, towards the goal line, is the penalty area.

When a penalty is conceived, usually when a player commits a direct free-kick offense in his team’s penalty area, a penalty kick is awarded by the match referee to the opposing team. A penalty kick is used to restart gameplay or decide a match-winner.

In this article, we’ll examine the distance of a penalty kick, from the kick spot to the goal line, and also why the penalty kick is at 12 yards.

The soccer player is preparing to take a penalty

How Far Is a Penalty Kick In Soccer?

Association football (11vs11)

12 yards (11 meters) from the goal line. To get a better understanding of the dimension of the penalty area, it’s best to refer to the general area of the pitch. When it comes to a soccer pitch, the two major marking lines on it are the touchline (length) and the goal line (width).

To ensure the pitch remains a rectangle, the touchline must always be longer than the goal line (width). The penalty area is marked out from the goal line. The goal line is between 45meters to 90 meters.

Using an international pitch dimension of 90 meters goal line, a goalpost is accurately centered in the middle. A goal post comprises 2 identical vertical posts and a crossbar – all of which must not be more than 5 inches in width and depth.

Still using the goal line as a benchmark, the penalty area is marked out, 18yards (16.5meters) from the insides of the vertical goalposts. In other words, not including the distance between the vertical goal posts (8 yards), the penalty area extends 18 yards to the left, and another 18 yards to the right of the vertical posts respectively.

With a total width of 44 yards (18yards + goalpost 8 yards + 18 yards) off the goal line, the penalty area also extends inwards, with a length of 18 yards (16.5meters) towards the middle of the pitch. This gives the penalty area a rectangular shape.

Using the goal line as the reference point, the penalty spot (where a penalty kick is taken from) is 12 yards (11 meters) from the line. This coincidentally is accurately centered between the distance of the vertical goalposts.

Penalty Mind Games

Futsal (5vs5)

6 meters from the goal line (width). Unlike in association football, the rules of futsal allow for placement of a second penalty spot. This is usually 10 meters from the goal line.

The field has a touchline dimension of 25 meters to 42 meters and a goal-line dimension of 16 meters to 25 meters. Like with association football, the penalty area is referenced from the goal line point of view.

A rectangular goal sits centered at the middle of the total goal line. The distance between vertical posts must be 3 meters wide. A quarter-circle is drawn, with a radius of 6 meters (extending towards the middle of the pitch) from the middle of the goalposts.

The apex part of this half-circle is the penalty spot. In futsal, the penalty area is a half-circle. This is a sharp deviation from the rectangularly shaped penalty area in association football.

Indoor soccer

24 feet (7.3 meters) from the standard goal line. The field has a dimension length of 175 feet to 210 feet, and a width of 75-100 feet.

To determine the width of the penalty area, 8 feet is measured from the insides of the vertical goal posts towards the left and right. The penalty area extends 20 feet towards the field of play. A semicircle with a radius of 15 feet, further extends and encloses the penalty area.

The penalty spot, painted red with a 9-inch circumference, is positioned 24 feet from the goal line. It is centered between the two vertical goalposts.


10 yards from the goal line. The game is played on a rectangularly shaped pitch with a length of 55 yards to 65 yards, and a pitch width of 35 yards to 45 yards.

The penalty area has a width of 24 yards and extends 12 yards towards the field of play. It is within this penalty area that the penalty spot sits, 10 yards from the goal line – directly centered between the goal vertical posts.


10 yards from the goal line. The official pitch dimension is bigger than that of 7vs7.

It has a length between 70 yards to 80 yards. The goal line has a width of 45 yards to 55 yards.

The penalty area extends along the goal line to have a width of 36 yards, then extends 14 yards into the field of play.

Beach soccer

Within 9 meters from the goal. Unlike association football, beach soccer does not have as many noticeable markings on its pitch.

The field has a dimension of 35 meters to 37 meters for length and 26 meters to 28 meters for its width. With no distinguishing markings on the pitch, a yellow flag is placed on the touchline within 9 meters from each goal post.

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Street Soccer

10 feet from the goal line. The size of the court is smaller than the conventional soccer pitch. It measures 72 feet long and 52 feet wide.

The penalty area is designed in the shape of a semicircle, with a radius of 10 feet. Penalty kicks are taken from the spot on the apex part of the semicircle.

a penalty situation of street soccer

Why is the penalty kick at 12 yards?

The simple answer to this probably relates to the dimensions and shape of a standard soccer field. The markings surrounding the penalty spot are rectangular.

The first big rectangle to note is the penalty area. It extends a length of 18 yards from the goal line (field width) towards the field of play. The smaller rectangle, which is regarded as the goal area, extends 6 yards from the goal line towards the field area.

In keeping to conformity and universal round numbers, that’s applicable anytime and anywhere in, a uniform distance was needed to allow players to take a kick from the penalty spot. If we remove the 6-yard goal area from the 18-yard penalty area, we’ll be left with 12 yards.

This would mean a spot between the end of the goal area and the penalty area would be ideal for a penalty kick. The result of this would be 6 yards from the end of the goal area and 6 yards to the end of the penalty area.

Since a penalty kick is taken towards the goalposts, the 6-yard goal area plus the additional 6 yards away from the end of the goal area will result in a 12-yard penalty kick spot.

Unforgettable Penalty Kick Moments


Penalty kicks are an important aspect of soccer gameplay. They do not always occur in every soccer game but when they do, they can change the dynamics of the game.

Soccer, along with its several variants, have different distances from which penalty kicks are taken. A common factor among them all is the fact that the penalty spot is determined from the goal line. The distance from the goal line is greatly influenced by the total dimension of the soccer field.

As far as modern rules of soccer are concerned, the 12 yards penalty spot distance is chosen as a midpoint between the goal area and the end of the penalty area.