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Soccer Goal Dimensions

Have you ever wonder why soccer goal dimensions are exactly those that are? Since the earliest days of modern football, the aim of the game was to score a goal. But, in those early days, there were almost as many “official” rules as there were public schools and universities in England. Almost everyone had a different definition and dimensions of a goal and how it was allowed to score. Some had goalposts set “six paces” apart, some even 40 feet. Some had a crossbar set at 7 feet, and the ball had to go under it, others had string set at 9 feet height, and the ball had to go over it. And some had no crossbar at all. But from that chaos of regulation and goal dimensions, with the formation of the Football Association, one set was born.

girl shoot on goal

History

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In the first half of the 1800s, numerous games were being played in England in which scoring was done by getting the ball in the opponent’s goal. As with any other sports, there were competitions and rivalries between various public schools and universities.

Need to play under the same set of rules gave birth to the first soccer association, the Football Association in 1863. And the creation of the FA was followed by the creation of the first FA rules defining the size of the pitch, offside, number of players, and, most importantly, the dimensions of a soccer goal. Those rules over the years have changed and amended, but still carry the same name, the Laws of the Game. The first version of the law #1 said that “the goal shall be defined by two upright posts, 8 yards apart, without any tape or bar across them.” Thus setting the width of a soccer goal to what is still used today, 8 yards or 24 feet.

In 1866, the first revision of the Laws of the Game brought a change that was demanded by several clubs from the get-go. The look of the goal was changed by the inclusion of tape running between posts, thus soccer goal height was set to 8 feet. The same height, which is to this day used for professional soccer goal dimensions.
In 1875, on the proposal of some member clubs, the FA had allowed the option of using a wooden bar instead of the tape. And the soccer goal has started to take shape we know today.

In 1882 the International Football Conference was held with the aim to settle the differences between rules among the four soccer associations of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And to create a unified set of rules for playing international games between these four countries. Among the other rule, the use of wooden crossbars was mandated by the changes. From this conference, the International Football Association Board will emerge four years later.

With the founding of FIFA in 1904, it will become the guardian of the Laws of the Game and the sole organization with the right to change official soccer goal size. And since 1882, the soccer goal post dimensions rule will change only once more, mandating that their width be the same as the lines marking the goal line, and no wider than 5 inches.

Dimensions

sun and goal

The regulation soccer goal size measures 24 feet or 8 yards, by 8 feet. And it has been so since 1866. And those are soccer goal dimensions FIFA, and consequently, the continental federations and member nations’ associations, are using for all international and national official senior games and competitions. But the standard soccer goal size is not appropriate for the soccer players of all ages.

Youth soccer goal dimensions

In the US, youth soccer goal dimensions are defined by the recommendations of the United States Youth Soccer Association. They are defined for various age groups, and along with the soccer goal measurements, they represent the pitch dimensions and the sizes of teams.
For the U6, U7, and U8 selections, it is recommended that the goals measure six feet wide and 4 feet high. For the U9 and U10 teams, goals measuring 18.5 by 6.5 feet are recommended. For U11 and U12, they should be 21 by 7 feet. For the selections between U13 and U19 recommended are the full size soccer goal dimensions, 24 by 8 feet.

High School, College & MLS soccer goal dimensions

Though the US Youth Soccer recommendations cover the high school soccer goal dimensions, the National Federation of High Schools additionally mandates their size at 24 by 8 feet, with goalposts having between 4 and 5 inches diameter.

The college soccer goal dimensions regulations closely follow the FIFA and IFAB regulations of 24 by 8 feet. But similarly to NFHS, the NCAA rules also mandate the goalposts dimensions between 4 and 5 inches.

Because the Major League Soccer is competition officially sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which is a member of CONCACAF and FIFA, the goal dimensions used for the competitive games are set by the Laws of the Game. And they are 24 by 8 feet. Consequently, all other competitions sanctioned by US Soccer, such as the Open Cup, USL Championship, USL League One, and National Independent Soccer Association, use the same goal dimensions.

Indoor soccer goal dimensions

The indoor soccer goal dimensions are defined by the US Soccer mandated rules, and they are 14 by 8 feet.

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Conclusion

Throughout the history of soccer, particularly in the earliest days of the modern game, goals of various sizes were used. Even the rules of scoring varied between different soccer organizations in their home country. But, with the founding of the FA in 1863, the unified rules were created, and soccer goals started to take shape we know today. And in 1882, the shape and size of the goals were cemented. To 8 yards, or 24 feet, wide from the inner side of one post to the other post, and 8 feet high from the ground to the lower edge of the crossbar. And these soccer goal dimensions are mandated for all professional games in the world. And the same size is recommended for use by soccer players between 13 and 19 years of age while younger youth selections and indoor soccer competitions use smaller goals.

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