How Long Are College Soccer Games? All You Need to Know

That feeling you get when you first step onto the collegiate soccer scene: a mix of excitement and curiosity. As a past college soccer player, I felt a little nervous – I wanted to ensure I was mentally and physically prepared for the battles unfolding on the field. Understanding the duration of college soccer games became a pivotal piece of the puzzle. Having walked in your shoes, this article guides you through one essential aspect of the game: How long are college soccer games?

Ultimately, you should understand the significance of strategic time management for players and coaches.

College Soccer Games

A College Soccer Player in Sportswear

College soccer games are similar to professional soccer games in terms of duration. A regular-season college soccer game lasts college soccer game consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, totaling a standard playing time of 90 minutes with a 15-minute halftime break. During halftime, the teams can regroup, rehydrate, and strategize for the second half of the game.

Unlike other sports where the clock counts down, in soccer, the clock counts up. The referee keeps track of the time on the field and may add stoppage time to the end of each half. Stoppage time is added to compensate for time lost during the game due to injuries, substitutions, or other interruptions.

Sometimes a college soccer game can last longer than 90 minutes because of overtime. However, If there is a tie at the end of game regulation time, the teams will play two additional 10-minute halves. If the game is still tied after overtime, a penalty shootout will determine the winner of the game.

How Long Are College Soccer Games: Pre-Game and Post-Game Time 

Players

Preparation is the cornerstone of success in college soccer, and understanding the significance of pre-game and post-game time is crucial for an aspiring college athlete. 

As you step onto the field for your college soccer match, you’ll feel an undeniable air of anticipation. The pre-game time becomes a sacred space where teams hone their focus and build support.

During the pre-game period, you’ll witness players going through their individual rituals, finding the perfect balance between mental preparation and physical readiness. Some may listen to energizing music, while others engage in visualization exercises to mentally rehearse their role in the upcoming battle. 

As an intending college soccer player, finding your pre-game routine helps channel your energy and build confidence before stepping onto the field.

The post-game period, on the other hand, is a time when you engage in recovery and self-care. This period is essential for physical and mental healing. From cool-down exercises to stretching routines, caring for your body after the game prevents injuries and develops your athletic abilities.

Beyond these physical aspects, the post-game period allows you to cherish the bonds you’ve formed with your teammates. 

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Fans

For fans, there are a few things to remember before the college soccer game begins. First, you should arrive at the stadium early enough to find your seat and settle in. This will give you time to soak up the atmosphere and get excited for the game. 

Also, reviewing the team rosters and familiarizing yourself with the players before the game can enhance your overall experience. Learning about each athlete’s strengths and playing styles is fascinating, providing insights that enrich your viewing experience. 

Parking is another important consideration when attending college soccer games. With the potential for large crowds, you must prepare ahead and arrive early to secure a parking spot. This will ensure a smoother experience and minimize any stress or rush as you make your way to the stadium. Checking with the stadium beforehand for alternative transportation options or shuttle services can also be beneficial in easing the parking process.

After the game, you want to stick around for a bit to soak up the post-game atmosphere. This is also an opportunity to congratulate the players and coaches on a job well done or to commiserate with fellow fans if your team didn’t come out on top. You should also stick around to catch post-game interviews or press conferences.

Again, traffic can be heavy after the game, so you want to prepare and allow extra time for your journey home. Some stadiums may offer alternative transportation options, such as shuttles or public transportation, so be sure to check with the stadium beforehand to see what options are available.

How Long Are College Soccer Games

scoreboard at public playing field

Regulation Time

Both men’s and women’s college soccer games are typically 90 minutes long. 

Each college soccer game is divided into two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, separated by a 15-minute halftime break.

In certain situations, additional time may be allocated to compensate for interruptions during the match. This time is known as “injury time” or “stoppage time” and is added by the referee at the end of each half. Factors such as injuries, substitutions, time-wasting, or other unforeseen circumstances contribute to the extension of the game beyond the initial 45 minutes per half.

During regulation time, if the game is tied at the end of the second half, the game will end in a tie. However, if the game is part of a tournament or championship, overtime may be played to determine a winner.

Overtime

If a college soccer game is tied at the end of regulation time, the referee may add on a period of overtime. Overtime periods are typically 20 minutes long and are played in full. This means that if a team scores a goal during overtime, the game will immediately end, and that team will be pronounced the winner.

If the game is still tied at the end of the first overtime period, a second overtime period may be played. If the game is still tied after the second overtime period, the game will end in a tie.

However, not all college soccer games have overtime. Overtime is typically only played in tournaments or championship games. In regular season games, a tie may be the final result.

Halftime and Breaks in Player Strategy

During a college soccer game, there is a halftime break of 15 minutes between the two 45-minute halves. This break allows you to rest, rehydrate, and talk with your coaches. It is also a chance for spectators to grab refreshments, use the restroom, or stretch their legs.

During halftime, the teams switch sides of the field, so neither team has an advantage due to wind or other weather conditions. Additionally, the referee may add stoppage time onto the end of a half, which is extra time added to make up for time lost due to injuries, substitutions, or other delays.

In addition to the halftime break, there may also be other types of breaks during a college soccer game. For example, if a player is injured, the game may be paused to allow them to receive medical attention. This break is typically referred to as an injury timeout or injury stoppage.

Another type of break that may occur during a college soccer game is a water break. If the temperature is particularly high, the referee may allow a brief water break to help prevent heat exhaustion or dehydration among the players.

Read also: 21+ Best College Dorm Essentials for Guys: The Ultimate Guide to Practical Living.

How Long Are College Soccer Games: How Penalty Works in Soccer?

Penalty shootouts are a thrilling and nail-biting part of soccer games. They occur when a game ends in a tie, and a winner needs to be determined. Here’s what you need to know about how penalty shootouts work in soccer.

The Basics

Each team selects five players to take penalty kicks during a penalty shootout. The teams take turns kicking, and the team with the most goals at the end wins. If the points are still tied after five kicks, the shootout goes into sudden death, where each team takes turns kicking until one team scores and the other misses.

The Coin Toss

Before the shootout begins, a coin toss determines which team goes first and which goal they will be shooting at. The referee flips the coin, and the team that wins the toss decides whether to kick first or second.

The Penalty Kick

Each player taking a penalty kick must start from the penalty spot, 12 yards away from the goal. The goalkeeper must remain on the goal line until the ball is kicked. The kicker has one chance to score, and the ball must cross the goal line between the posts and under the crossbar to count as a goal.

Fair Play

During a penalty shootout, fair play is crucial. Players must not interfere with the goalkeeper or other players taking the kick. If a player in a team breaks the rules, the referee can award a yellow or red card or even disqualify the player and end the shootout early.

In conclusion, penalty shootouts are an exciting and intense part of soccer games. They determine a winner when a game ends in a tie. Understanding the basics of penalty shootouts can help you appreciate this thrilling aspect of soccer even more.

Factors Affecting Game Length

When it comes to college soccer games, the length of a match is flexible. Several factors affect the game length, including:

A soccer team on the attack.

Style of Play 

The style of play adopted by the teams involved can significantly impact the pace and duration of the game. Some teams prioritize possession, employing patient build-ups and intricate passing sequences that tend to stretch the game’s length. Conversely, others focus on quick counter-attacks and direct play, which can lead to a more fast-paced and intense match.

Added Time

Added time, also known as stoppage or injury time, is the extra time added to each half of the game. This time is added to compensate for time lost due to injuries, substitutions, or other disruptions during play. The amount of added time can vary from game to game and is at the referee’s discretion.

Overtime

If a college soccer game ends in a tie, the teams may play an additional overtime period to determine the winner. The length of overtime can vary depending on the league and the game’s rules. In some cases, overtime may consist of two 10-minute periods, while in others, it may be a single 15-minute period.

Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can also affect the length of a college soccer game. If play is interrupted due to lightning or other dangerous weather conditions, the game may be suspended until it is safe to resume. Sometimes, the game may be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.

Game Pace

The pace of the game can also affect its length. If both teams play aggressively and there are many fouls, injuries, and substitutions, the game may take longer. Conversely, the match completes faster if both teams play a more defensive game.

Halftime Length

The halftime break is often 15 minutes long in college soccer games. However, the length of the halftime break can vary depending on the league and the game’s rules.

Referee Decisions

Finally, the decisions made by the referee can also affect the length of a college soccer game. If the referee is strict and calls many fouls, the game may take longer to complete. On the other hand, if the referee is lenient and allows play to continue, the game may be completed more quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do college soccer games last?

College soccer games last 90 minutes and are separated into two halves of 45 minutes each. Plus, the game clock stops when the ball goes out of bounds or a stoppage is in play. The NCAA regulates college soccer games, and their rules differ from FIFA soccer laws.

Are college soccer games longer than high school games?

College soccer games are more extended than high school games. High school soccer games typically last for 80 minutes, separated into two halves of 40 minutes each, with a 10-minute halftime break in between.

Is there overtime in college soccer?

There is overtime in college soccer. If the game is tied at the end of the 90 minutes of playing time, the referee may add on a period of overtime. Overtime periods are 10 minutes each, and if the game is still tied after the first overtime period, the referee may add another overtime period.

How long are college women’s soccer games?

College women’s soccer games are the same length as college men’s soccer games, lasting for 90 minutes. Each session is separated into two halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute halftime break in between.

How long are college men’s soccer games?

College men’s soccer games last for 90 minutes, separated into two halves of 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute halftime break in between.


What is the average duration of a college soccer game?

The average time of a college soccer game is around two hours, including the halftime break and any additional time added on by the referee. However, the actual length of the game differs based on factors such as the number of stoppages in play, injuries, and overtime periods.

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