Soccer is one of the most popular sports in high schools across the United States. With fast-paced action and exciting gameplay, it’s no wonder high school soccer games draw big crowds of enthusiastic fans.

If you’re headed to a game, you may be wondering just how long you can expect to be cheering on your favorite team.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: High school soccer games typically last around 80 minutes, with two 40-minute halves and a 10-minute halftime break. Now let’s dive into the details…

Regulation Length of High School Soccer Games

High school soccer games have a specific regulation length that is followed to ensure fair play and allow teams to compete within a set timeframe. These regulations dictate the duration of each half, the length of the halftime period, and the allowance for stoppage time.

Two 40-Minute Halves

In high school soccer, each game consists of two halves, each lasting 40 minutes. This means that the total playing time for a regulation game is 80 minutes. The clock runs continuously throughout each half, except for stoppage time, which will be discussed later.

The 40-minute halves provide teams with ample opportunity to showcase their skills, strategize, and compete against one another.

10-Minute Halftime Period

After the completion of the first half, there is a designated halftime period of 10 minutes. During this time, players can rest, rehydrate, and receive instructions from their coaches. The halftime period serves as a short break to help players recharge and regroup before heading back onto the field for the second half.

It also allows for any necessary adjustments or substitutions to be made.

Stoppage Time

Stoppage time, also known as injury time or added time, is additional playing time that is added to the end of each half. It is used to make up for any time lost due to substitutions, injuries, or any other interruptions that may have occurred during the game.

The referee determines the amount of stoppage time to be added based on their judgment of the time lost. This ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to play for the full duration of the game.

It’s important to note that the regulation length of high school soccer games may vary slightly depending on the league or competition rules. However, the standard duration of two 40-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime period is widely accepted and followed in most high school soccer matches.

Factors That Can Shorten or Lengthen Games

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a significant role in the duration of high school soccer games. Inclement weather, such as heavy rain or thunderstorms, can lead to game delays or even cancellations. In cases of severe weather, the game may be paused until conditions improve, ensuring the safety of the players.

Additionally, playing on wet or muddy fields can slow down the pace of the game, resulting in longer playing times as players struggle to maintain their footing.

Injuries and Substitutions

Injuries can also impact the length of high school soccer games. When a player gets injured, the game is typically stopped to provide medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury, the player may need to be substituted, which can further prolong the game.

Substitutions themselves can also contribute to the game’s duration, as the process of replacing a player requires time for the new player to enter the field and for the referee to ensure that the substitution is conducted correctly.

Overtime Periods

High school soccer games can also be lengthened by overtime periods. If the game ends in a tie during regular play, additional periods may be added to determine a winner. Typically, overtime periods consist of two 10-minute halves.

However, if the game remains tied after overtime, some leagues may implement a penalty shootout to decide the winner. These additional periods and shootouts can significantly extend the duration of the game, adding excitement and suspense for players and spectators alike.

Rankings and Championship Games May Differ

When it comes to high school soccer, the duration of games can vary depending on a few factors. One of these factors is the level of play, as rankings and skill levels can differ from one school to another.

While most regular season games typically follow a standard format, championship games may have different rules and regulations.

Regular Season Games

In regular season high school soccer games, the duration is typically divided into two halves of 40 minutes each, with a halftime break in between. This format is commonly followed across schools and provides a fair playing time for both teams.

The clock is usually stopped during injuries or other significant delays, and additional time may be added at the end of each half to account for these stoppages.

It’s important to note that the rules and regulations regarding game duration may vary slightly depending on the specific high school athletic association or league governing the sport. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check with the respective association or school for accurate information.

Championship Games

Championship games, on the other hand, may have different time durations compared to regular season games. These games often attract larger crowds and receive more media coverage, so organizers may choose to extend the playing time to accommodate the significance of the event.

For example, some championship games may have 45-minute halves or even additional periods of extra time and penalty shootouts in case of a tie.

It’s worth mentioning that championship games are usually played between the top-ranked teams in a league or region. The skills and competitiveness of these teams may be higher, leading to more intense and closely contested matches.

Extending the game duration can provide a fairer chance for teams to showcase their abilities and determine a clear winner.

To get the most accurate information about game durations in high school soccer, it is recommended to refer to the official website of the respective high school athletic association or the league in which the games are being played.

These websites often provide detailed rules and guidelines for the sport, including specific regulations regarding game duration.

Other High School Soccer Game Lengths

Junior Varsity Games

Junior varsity (JV) soccer games typically have a similar duration to varsity games, but there are some variations depending on the specific league and school. On average, JV games last about 80 minutes, divided into two halves of 40 minutes each.

However, it’s important to note that the length of JV games can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, game schedule, and local regulations.


Scrimmages are practice games where teams compete against each other to improve their skills and teamwork. Unlike official high school soccer games, scrimmages do not usually have a set duration. Instead, they can be flexible and adjusted based on the coach’s discretion.

Scrimmages can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full 90-minute game, depending on the goals of the practice session and the time available. They provide an opportunity for players to work on specific tactics, experiment with different formations, and focus on specific aspects of the game.

It’s worth mentioning that while JV games and scrimmages may have different durations, they still offer valuable opportunities for players to develop their skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Whether it’s a competitive JV match or a relaxed scrimmage, these experiences contribute to the overall growth and development of high school soccer players.


So in summary, while the standard duration for high school varsity soccer games is two 40-minute halves, many factors can cause the time to be slightly shorter or longer. Arriving early and expecting up to two hours is a safe bet.

Regardless of the exact length, high school soccer delivers action-packed excitement from start to finish!

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