Soccer and American Football are fundamentally two different sports. Nevertheless there are some similarities between the two sports. One apparent similarity is the shape of the field on which games are played. Indeed at a cursory glance from the naked eye they look pretty similarly – they are both rectangular, green and about the same size. That however is pretty much where the similarity ends however lets take a look at a Soccer Field vs Football Field in greater detail.
Soccer field vs Football field – the differences.
Essentially a soccer field is larger by dimension than an American football field. Indeed though similar in length the width of a soccer field vs a football field is considerably different. Soccer fields are between 75 and 100 yards in width whilst American football fields are 53 and a third yards. So this gives a professional soccer field quite a considerable greater surface area than a regulation American football field.
In this article we will take a look at the Soccer Field vs Football Field debate.
Soccer field vs Football field – the exact dimensions.
First let us clearly define how a soccer field vs a football field compares.
Both a Soccer Field and an American Football field are rectangular in shape.
A soccer field must be a minimum of 100 yards and a maximum of 130 yards
An American football field must be a maximum of 100 yards between goal lines but a minimum of 120 yards between end zones.
A soccer field must be a minimum of 50 yards and a maximum of 100 yards
An American football field should be 531⁄3 yards
A soccer field can have: Natural grass, artificial turf or a hybrid of both.
An American football field can have: Natural grass or artificial turf.
A soccer field has:
- Two penalty areas
- Two goal areas
- A halfway line
- A center circle
- Four corner arcs
- A penalty spot
- And a center spot
An American football field has:
- Ten-yard intervals
- Two end zones
- One-yard hash marks
- Five-yard, yard lines
- One-yard long scrimmage line
- Numerals in multiples of ten
In both soccer and American football the goalpost are located in the center of the goal line. But the actually size of the goal posts varies greatly:
Sizes of goalposts soccer:
Crossbar: 8 ft (2.44 meters) above the ground.
Vertical posts: 8 yards (7.32 meters) between the posts.
Sizes of goalposts American football:
Crossbar: 10 feet (3meters) above ground.
– 18 feet 6 inches (5.6meters) apart
– 35 feet (10.7meters) long
Soccer field vs Football field – can they be used interchangeably?
The simple answer to this is at a professional level is no (though some United States, high schools and colleges have specifically designed their sports fields to be able to do this albeit under a non-professional qualifying criteria) – for if you take a look at the markings required it can be seen that:
- Firstly an American football field is not large enough to cater to the dimensions required by the rules of the game in soccer.
- Secondly were the American field large enough to cater to soccer’s dimension the amount of adjustments that would need to be made to the field of plays markings, between games, would just not make this practical or realistically possible.
- Thirdly as it is far more common for artificial turf to be used in American football and natural grass to be used in Soccer this would also be similarly problematic.
*Indeed on this topic a review conducted in 2019 found that 12 NFL teams play on artificial turf, whilst 19 play on natural grass. Whereas in the MLS, a similar review found only 6 teams play on artificial turf rather than natural grass. The prevailing current opinion; that the NFL will continue to move more towards artificial pitches whereas Major League Soccer will move more towards natural grass. The wear tear and taken on the pitch due to the differing physical nature of both sports one major reason.
So for a variety of reasons, including – most soccer leagues and major championships around the world play soccer on natural grass. Interchanging games between fields is just not practically possible.
Soccer field vs Football field – some examples!
In order to better exemplify the difference between a soccer field and football field let’s take a look at some illustrations.
Firstly here are the sizes of five Major League Soccer stadiums by length
Secondly hare are five Major League Soccer stadium sizes by width
All of whom comply with the international rules for the game of soccer. But if you compare this to the rules required for an American football field whilst each stadium would be fit for purpose by length they would not be so by width unless the markings were significantly reduced.
Having now gone through the principle differences and similarities, between a soccer filed vs football field, you can now observe that there are 3 major differences between the two.
- The width of the field
- The markings on the field
- The goalposts
These three factors are what make each sport’s field unique and cater to the very different games that playout upon to an extent similar pitches.
A fan and participator of more or less all sports up to University level from Burnley, England. I am now writing as a freelance sports journalist. My speciality in particular lies in global Football (soccer) – which I played to a semi-professional level.