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How Long is a Kids’ Soccer Game?

how long is a kids soccer game

If you’re a parent or coach new to youth soccer, you might wonder how long a kids’ soccer game typically lasts. Understanding the structure and duration of these games can help you better prepare and ensure a fun, engaging experience for young players.

Typical Duration of Matches

For kids under 6, particularly in the United States, a soccer game usually lasts about 60 minutes. This duration includes breaks and is designed to keep the young players engaged without tiring them out too quickly.

Factors Influencing Game Length

Age Group and Play Type

The 60-minute game length is standard for our focus group, which consists of children under six years old playing casual soccer.

Regional Standards

In the United States, youth soccer organizations have established guidelines to ensure the games are age-appropriate. The 60-minute length, divided into manageable segments, is a widely accepted standard.

Game Structure

  • Format: The games are played in a 4v4 format without goalkeepers.
  • Field Size: The field is smaller, about 20 yards wide and 30 yards long, to suit the physical capabilities of young players.
  • Quarters: Games are divided into four 12-minute quarters, with 2-3 minute breaks between quarters for rest, hydration, and coaching.

Halftime Break and Extra Time

Managing Rest Periods

The breaks between quarters are crucial for young players. These 2-3 minute intervals allow for rest, hydration, and quick coaching tips, ensuring the kids perform their best throughout the game.

Handling Game Stoppages

A running clock is typically used, except for injuries or other significant stoppages managed at the coaches’ discretion.

Importance of Staying Engaged

Role of Coaches

Coaches play a vital role in keeping the game engaging and educational. As there are no official referees at this level, they are responsible for managing the game. This responsibility includes setting a positive tone and ensuring that all players have a chance to participate and learn.

Simplifying Rules

To make the game more accessible for young players, specific rules are simplified:

  • The offside rule is generally not enforced.
  • There are no direct free kicks or penalty kicks. Instead, play is often restarted with an indirect free kick or a dribble-in from the sideline.

Strategies for Managing Game Time

Keeping Players Active

With a smaller field and fewer players, each child gets more touches on the ball, keeping them engaged and active throughout the game.

Encouraging Participation

The 4v4 format without goalkeepers ensures that every player is involved in the action, promoting teamwork and individual skill development.


How Long Are Halftimes and Breaks Between Quarters?

Halftimes are typically 5-10 minutes long, providing an extended rest period compared to the 2-3 minute breaks between quarters.

What Should My Child Bring to a Soccer Game?

Players should come prepared with a water bottle, appropriate footwear (such as soccer cleats), shin guards, and comfortable sportswear. Additionally, they should bring a light snack for halftime.

Are There Any Specific Rules for Goal Scoring in Kids’ Soccer?

At this age level, the focus is more on participation and skill development rather than strict adherence to rules. Therefore, no emphasis is placed on enforcing offside rules or other complex regulations that apply at higher levels of play.

What Happens if it Rains?

Games may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather or unsafe conditions. On game day, it’s essential to check with the coach or the organizing body for updates.

Do Kids Need to Attend Every Practice and Game?

Consistency helps young players develop skills and a sense of teamwork, but it’s understood that other commitments may arise. Communication with the coach about any absences is always appreciated.

How Are Substitutions Handled?

Substitutions are generally fluid at this level, and the goal is to give all children equal playing time. Coaches can make substitutions during breaks in play, such as between quarters or halftime.

What Can Parents Do to Support Their Child?

Parents can support their children by encouraging them, attending games and practices, and helping them practice basic soccer skills at home. Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial, regardless of the game’s outcome.


Youth soccer games for kids under 6 in the United States are designed to be fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. With a 60-minute game length divided into four 12-minute quarters, young players can enjoy the game without getting tired. Coaches are crucial in managing the game and ensuring a positive experience for all

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