For those that have been a fan of American football or basketball, making a switch to soccer can be a little bit confusing. Among other subtle differences, American football and basketball usually have four quarters.
In the case of soccer, it is entirely different. Things will get trickier if you are a fan of different types of soccer because the number of halves also varies as you move from one soccer variation to another.
- The number of halves in a soccer game varies depending on the type of soccer
- Faster-paced indoor soccer is split into more halves
- In competitive games where a winner is required, two more halves can be added to some soccer variants
Whether you have been recently inducted into the fanbase of soccer or you want to explore other soccer variants, understanding how many halves soccer has will help to improve your understanding of the game.
Soccer is split into halves, thirds, or quarters depending on the variant and sometimes based on the age of the soccer players. Although this makes soccer one of the most versatile games on the globe, it also adds to the confusion of non-soccer fans.
Keep reading to find out the different soccer variations and how many halves they have.
One of the important strategies of soccer is knowing how to conserve your energy. You can only plan that strategy properly if you know how many halves soccer has.
Diehard soccer fans must have noticed that the game usually gets more intense toward the last five minutes of the last half. Just when you think the players should be tired, they throw in all they have at their opponent either to win the game or maintain the score.
Understanding how many halves a soccer game has will also help you as a viewer to know how you will prepare for the game. For example, if you have other appointments, you know how to space them before the game so that they don’t affect your fun.
Interestingly, the rules of soccer are mostly designed to ensure the safety of soccer players. Just like the size of soccer balls varies for different ages, the number of halves in soccer sometimes varies depending on the age group—not just the type of soccer.
Below are the different soccer variants and the number of halves that each of them has.
Without a doubt, association football is by far the most popular type of soccer. A regular game consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. In between the halves, the players get 15 minutes of rest called halftime.
However, in competitive games where a winner must emerge, extra time is awarded and used as a tiebreaker. The extra time also consists of two halves of 15 minutes each.
If the game stays tied at the end of the extra time, the teams will go into a penalty shootout. It is hard to predict how long a soccer game will last because the referee will usually add extra time depending on how much time wasting occurs during the regular duration.
The number of halves can also vary from one division to another. Youth soccer games have two 20 minutes halves or four 10 minutes halves.
Likewise, high school soccer often comprises two 40 minutes halves or four 20 minutes halves. Breaking the game into smaller halves makes the game less stressful for younger soccer players.
The US Youth Soccer has recommended splitting soccer games into four halves of 6 minutes each for players under 6 years and four halves of 12 minutes each for soccer players under 8 years.
|Number of halves and duration
|Four quarters of 6 minutes each
|7 & 8
|Four quarters of 12 minutes each
|9 & 10
|Two halves of 25 minutes each
|11 & 12
|Two halves of 30 minutes each
|13 & 14
|Two halves of 35 minutes each
|15 & 16
|Two halves of 40 minutes each
|17 and above
|Two halves of 45 minutes each
Similar to association football, futsal is played in two halves. However, the difference is in the duration of the halves.
For futsal, each half lasts 20 minutes making a total of 40 minutes of playtime. Futsal players also get 15 minutes of break in between the halves.
In some futsal programs, the game is divided into two halves of 25 minutes each while the players only have a rest of 5 minutes. This happens mostly when the court is rented and the trainers want to make the most of their time.
Indoor soccer is the adaptation of the association football that originated in Canada and the United States. Playing indoors made it easier for them to enjoy the game in the winter months.
Futsal appears to be the only indoor soccer that is divided into two halves. Most indoor soccer games are divided into four quarters.
Each quarter lasts 15 minutes and players get 3 minutes break between the first and the second quarter and the third and fourth quarters.
Halftime comes between the second and third quarters. Just like association football, indoor soccer players get 15 minutes break during halftime.
When the game ends in a tie, the referee will usually award another 15 minutes of golden goal overtime.
In amateur leagues, the number of halves may be reduced to two consisting of 25 minutes per half. In this case, there is usually no overtime when the game is tied.
In terms of the number of halves, beach soccer deviates sharply from all other soccer variants. Instead of two halves or four quarters, beach soccer is divided into three periods of 12 minutes each.
In total, the game is played for 36 minutes. Unlike association football, ties are not allowed in beach soccer.
If the game ends in a tie, the game goes into 3 minutes of extra time followed by a penalty shootout if nothing changes after the extra time.
Street soccer is an informal type of soccer played in most parts of the world. They usually don’t stick to the strict rules of the formal soccer game.
Many superstars in the game including Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona learned how to play by participating in street soccer.
In organized street soccer tournaments by Street Soccer USA, the game lasts for 14 minutes divided into two halves of 7 minutes each.
Soccer (especially association football) is designed to have very minimal disruption. Therefore, splitting the game into quarters will disrupt the flow of the game.
However, association football usually does that for younger players within 6 to 8 years for their safety. A combination of quarters and shorter playing times makes it easier for players in this age category to cope with the game.
Indoor soccer is the only soccer variation that has four halves in a game. It is not surprising because this soccer variation originated in the United States and Canada where most of their other favorite sports are split into four halves.
Apart from indoor soccer, whenever other soccer variations are divided into quarters, it is done for the safety of the players.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!