How Many Players Are on a Soccer Team?

soccer field

How Many Players Are On a Soccer Field/Pitch

A casual soccer fan watching a game might not realize how many players are on the field at one time. Good luck counting them all while everyone runs around the field. The truth is that there are 11 players on the field per team during a professional soccer game.

Each team has ten outfield players consisting of several offensive and defensive positions. The final player on each team is the goalkeeper. The total number of players allowed on a professional roster at any time is 23.

How many players typically make a team, considering the fact that there are a limited number of substitutions allowed per game? How many players are on the offensive and defensive end of the ball? Are there fewer players on the field or the same at the lower levels? Are the numbers of players on the field determined by the soccer pitch size?

What is the Breakdown of 11 Players on the Field for a Professional Soccer Game?

Several major professional soccer leagues worldwide, such as La Liga, English Premiere League, and more. Still, no matter what league is considered, a coach must determine which players to play what positions on the field. The first obvious position is the goalkeeper, but ten other positions still exist.

Let’s dig deeper as a coach to determine how to fill the other ten positions. 

Offensive Alignment Strategy 

Most teams like to use five offensive players during a game. Near the center of the pitch is the attacking midfielder, the quarterback of the offense, helping the offense move toward the goal. He generally passes the ball to one of the two wings.  

The two wingers will play on the pitch’s edge and can drive the ball quickly up the field. They are generally among the fastest players on the field. The forward is also known as the striker and the team’s main goal scorer. He will position himself closest to the opponent’s goal, ready to take the highest percentage shots.

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Soccer field/pitch layout

Defensive Alignment Strategy

Some players will provide defensive roles for the team, but the goalie is the only one allowed to use their hands to keep the ball from going into the goal. Typically, five players will play defensive positions.

The last line of defense before the goalie is the center back, who plays in front of the goal. On the sides of the center back are two fullbacks. The last defensive player is the midfielder, who hovers around the center of the field as protection for the center back and goalie. The midfielder is the first line of defense.

How Many Players on a Pro Soccer Team?

As stated by the FIFA Laws of the Game, the maximum number of players on the field at one time is 11. The least amount of players on a professional team is 14, with a maximum of 23 allowed. 

Competition rules note that teams must name the number of players available for substitution before each game. A team can only bring players off the bench onto the pitch after they have been recognized by the referee in charge of the game. 

How Many Players on the Field During World Cup/MLS Cup? 

The number of players remains at 11, whether the professional game is an exhibition game or a game at the highest level, such as the World Cup.

How Many Players Play in a Friendly Match?

There are still 11 players on the field for each team at all times, even during friendly matches. The difference between these matches and the regular season and World Cup is that there are unlimited substitutions. This gives all players a chance to play, gives stars some extra rest, and provides the fans a chance to see a variety of players in action.

Why would Soccer Teams want to Carry More Players?

Extra players are carried in case of injury or need for substitutions for rest during the game. A situation where a coach may opt for substitution is when a player gets a yellow card. This player could be less aggressive in fear of drawing another card, causing an immediate disqualification. A fresh player can be more aggressive and more effective for the team. 

A player could simply be having a poor game, and a coach may feel a player off the bench could contribute more to the game. If a player gets injured and the team has already used its maximum number of substitutions, then the team must play short-handed for the remainder of the game.

How Many Substitutions Does a Soccer Team Get During a Game?

Professional soccer games allowed three substitutions per team per game. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the number of substitutions increased to five. It’s worth noting the Premier League kept the number of substitutions at three.

How Many Players are on Women’s Professional Soccer Team During a Game?

Just as in men’s professional leagues, there are 11 players on a women’s professional soccer team during a game. In addition, the field size is the same for women as for men.

How Many Soccer Players are on a Youth Soccer Team?

The field for youth leagues is smaller, so players have less room to maneuver. Therefore, the number of players on the field varies from 6 to 9 per side, depending on the age and league.

The minimum amount of players on a youth team is seven. With teams that have fewer than seven during a game, players in the youth leagues could move from one team to another.

How Many Soccer Players are on a High School Soccer Team?

High school level soccer programs, both boys and girls, have 11 players on the field during the game.

How Many Players are on a College Soccer Team?

College soccer teams, whether men or women, also have 11 players on the pitch during a game. The size of the field also follows FIFA regulations.

Conclusion: Players On a Soccer Team

The rules for professional soccer clearly state that 11 players must be on the field for both teams. This includes a goalkeeper and ten other players mixed between offense and defense. Teams are also allowed three substitutions per game and between 14 and 23 teams on the roster. 

College and high school teams also have 11 players on the field at one time. The number of players on the field at one time decreases as players get younger and field sizes are smaller.