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The Ultimate Guide: The Markings on a Soccer Field Explained

The lines on a soccer field are one of the most important components of the game, despite being so often ignored. Without the markings on the field, we would not be able to understand what is happening on the field, if a player committed a foul, who deserves the win, and overall to enjoy the game. But what are all the markings on the soccer field? How are they called and what is their role in the game? Let’s kick it off and find out!

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Touchlines

The touchlines are the two long lines running the length of the field, and are placed at an equal distance from each other on either side. They define the boundary of the field of play and show the inbounds area where the ball must stay throughout the match. If it goes out of bounds, then a throw-in is awarded to the team that did not touch the ball last.

touchline dimensions soccer field

The touchlines are usually between 100 and 130 yards long for standard soccer game and between 110 to 120 yards long for international matches.

Goal lines

The goal lines are two short lines at each end of the field, perpendicular to the touchlines and together they form the boundary. They are placed equidistant from the corner flags and define the inbounds area of the field. The goal lines indicate where each team’s goalkeeper can place their hands on the ground when they take a goal kick.

goal line dimensions on a soccer field

For standard games, the goal lines can be anywhere between 50 to 100 yards long, while for international games the dimension is 70-80 yards.

Center line

The center line is a long, single line running down the middle of the field and it bisects the field of play. It is also known as the halfway line because, well, it’s placed at the exact middle of the field! This line has several functions: to restart the game after a goal has been scored, to help place the ball on kicks offs, and also serves as a boundary for players. For example, during a kick-off, all the players must be on their own half of the field and not go past the center line until the ball is kicked.

soccer field center line dimension

The halfway line has the same dimension as the touchlines to which it is parallel, so it is between 50 to 100 yards.

Center circle

The center circle is placed at the midpoint of the center line and has a radius of ten yards. It is mainly used for two different plays: the kick-off to start the game or restart it after a goal, and the penalty kick. The ball must be placed inside the circle for a kick-off, and all the players except for the goalkeeper must stay outside of it. For a penalty kick, only the kicker and goalkeeper are allowed in the center circle.

Dimension of middle circle

The midfield is typically marked with a circle that has a radius of 10 yards.

The Goal Box

This area is also known as the 6-yard box. It’s a predetermined area that is rectangular in shape and will extend six yards beyond the goalposts. Two parallel lines are drawn to the target area. The endline should be perpendicular to these two lines.

Dimensions of all lines in penalty box with goal box marked in blue

The Penalty Area

Often referred to as a penalty box or 18-yard box, it is based on the measurements of a soccer field, the penalty area is an area where two 18-yard-long parallel lines are drawn from the goal post. They will also be perpendicular to the endline. The penalty area encompasses the entire area that is enclosed by these lines.