How Many Players on A Soccer Team/Field/Substitutions (All Ages)

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The number of soccer players on-field changes through the youth stages. In different competitions, there can be more players on the bench. However, the number of players on a team must be the same unless a player is sent off or there is an injury and no substitutions left.

The rules are different for the different levels for when a substitute can take place. There are strange events when someone runs onto the field that should not be there. We take a look at all you need to know.

SPAIN, MADRID - SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 UEFA Champions League Matchday 1, Real Madrid CF - Manchester City FC, 32, on September 18, 2012 in Madrid, Spain —
SPAIN, MADRID – SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 UEFA Champions League Matchday 1, Real Madrid CF – Manchester City FC, 32, on September 18, 2012 in Madrid, Spain — (10 Outfield Players Per Team)

how many players on a soccer team

There are 22 players on a soccer field; that’s 11 for each team. Both teams have a goalkeeper, and the game cannot occur if a team has fewer than 7 players. Soccer is a team game and relies on the players working as a group. If a team has less than 11 players, it takes dedication, unity, and tactics to get something from the game.

There are, however, several situations where fewer or more people will be on the field at one time. This article looks at the total number of players, officials, and people allowed on the field simultaneously. Here are the types of people that can be found on a soccer field;

  • On-Field
  • Substitutions
  • Extra players
  • Squad players
  • Officials
  • Fans
  • Media

For youth teams, there are fewer players on the field. We’ll look at how many players are required for each age group later.

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Aerial view of eight soccer training fields doing soccer drills 2

What’s the minimum number of players on a soccer team?

If a team is reduced to less than 7 players during a game due to injury or a player going off, play will continue until there’s a stoppage. For the game to restart, both teams must have a minimum of 7 players. Before a soccer match, both teams must be given to the officials. This includes the starting 11 and the substitutes. If the players are not named before the game, they cannot participate.

  • The number of players is set out by IFAB, a governing body of FIFA.

Number of soccer players per team for each age group

CompetitionNumber of Players
Over 12’s11
Under 12’s9
Under 10’s 7
Under 8’s4
Under 6’s3

Number of Soccer Substitutions

This number will be based on the rules set out by FIFA. Teams can name per game 3 – 12 substitutes, depending on the competition. The number of substitutes that can be named for a match depends on the association that governs the league.

  • Some competitions allow for an additional substitute during extra time 

If the game is not between two ‘National A-Teams’. The teams can agree on several substitutes before the game if the referee is informed. If no agreement is made, the maximum number of substitutes is 6

Substitution Rules

The EPL, MLS, and UEFA restricts the number of times a team can make a substitute to 3 times during a game, with the option at half time. This is to stop teams using this as a way to interrupt the game as a tactic to stop the opposition gathering momentum.

In the Champions League and other European competitions, you have 3 occasions to make substitutions until the second half where you only have two opportunities to make a substitute.

The MLS allow for two additional substitutes for players who are concussed.

Number of Soccer Substitutes for each competition

Major League Soccer9
English Premier League9
La Liga12
UEFA Champions League /EL12
UEFA Europa League12
World Cup12
  • *In the finals for the European competitions, teams are allowed 12 players on the bench to be inclusive for all the team to get a chance to play. Plus, it gives the managers more options. 
soccer stadium with players on the field - number of soccer players on a field

What happens if there are too many people on a soccer field?

Before a match, the referee will count the number of players on the field to ensure there are not too many. If there are too many players on the soccer field, the referee will follow the procedure;

  1. Stop the game if the player gets involved in the game.
  2. Instruct the player to be removed when the play stops.
  3. Discipline if needed 

When the game stops because there are too many players, the ball will be returned to the team with possession.

  • They get a direct free kick or penalty. If the ball is not in possession by one team, a dropped ball will occur. 
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If one of the squad members, coaching staff, or officials enter the field of play during a match, the referee will stop the game and award a free kick or penalty to the team in possession.

  • If a person not involved in the game comes onto the field, the play is stopped, and a dropped ball is given. 

During an attacking play, the ball might be heading for the goal when an extra player enters the field. In this case, if the ball goes into the goal, the goal stands even if the extra personal touches the ball.

penalty kick saved - number of players on a soccer field - extras

What happens if a goal is scored and there’s an extra person on the field?

If a goal is scored and the referee does not realize there’s an extra person on the field, the goal will be disallowed when;

  • The person is a squad player or coaching staff member = direct free-kick from.
  • Another person = dropped ball.

The goal is allowed when there’s an extra player on the field when;

  • The additional player of staff member was part of the team that conceded.
  • A fan or someone outside the game did not interfere with the play.

Number of players per squad for each league

Soccer squads are determined before the season starts. There are different time scales for cup competitions. Most leagues will allow additional players to be added to the squad from the youth team.

The numbers will need to remain the same, but there can be changes. Each squad must submit to the relevant authorities before the competition occurs. The squad sizes allow replacement players for each position, and there are normally 3 goalkeepers per squad.

CompetitionSquad Players
Major League Soccer28
English Premier League25
La Liga25
UEFA Champions League /EL25
UEFA Europa League25
World Cup23
Carlo ancelotti coach napoli during Spal vs Napoli Italian Soccer Serie A Men Championship in Ferrara October 27 2019 LPSAlessio Tarpini ○ Soccer Blade
carlo ancelotti coach napoli during Spal vs Napoli, Italian Soccer Serie A Men Championship in Ferrara, October 27 2019 – LPS/Alessio Tarpini

Overview of Number of Players for All Competitions

Competition/LevelPlayers in TeamSubstitutions AllowedSquad Size
FIFA World Cup115* (3 opportunities)23
UEFA Champions League115* (3 opportunities)25
English Premier League115 (3 opportunities)25
Major League Soccer (MLS)115** 30
La Liga (Spain)11525
Bundesliga (Germany)115No limit
Serie A (Italy)115No limit
Ligue 1 (France)115No limit
UEFA Youth League11540
U.S. Youth Soccer U-6/U-74-6Unlimited (rolling)Varies
U.S. Youth Soccer U-86-8Unlimited (rolling)Varies
U.S. Youth Soccer U-107-9Unlimited (rolling)Varies
U.S. Youth Soccer U-129-11Unlimited (rolling)Varies
U.S. Youth Soccer U-14+11Unlimited (rolling)Varies
Number of players on field, in squad, substitutions allowed and squad sizes for all major soccer competitions and U.S. Youth Soccer. *An additional substitution is allowed for extra time in the knock-out stages. **Two addtional substitutions for MLS teams who have concussed players.
Substitutions sat on a bench during a soccer game ○ Soccer Blade

How to substitute a soccer player?

Along with the squad, the substitutes will be named before the game so that the referee is aware of who is on the bench before the game. For a substitution to take place during the game, the referee must be made aware of it, and the following rules are to be applied;

  1. Referee’s permission 
  2. During a stoppage/interval 
  3. The player that comes on is at the halfway line 
  4. Leave the field at the nearest point unless instructed to leave at the halfway line
  5. The player being substituted must leave the field, or play continues 
  6. The substituted player must go to the technical area/dressing area or sanctioned place
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If a player is injured, the referee will indicate the best procedure for taking off the player. If the player is already off the field, then steps 1-3 occur. 

Goalkeeper substitutions

The same procedure happens for goalkeepers; when an outfield player changes place with the goalkeeper, the referee must be informed.

  • Both players are cautioned if the referee is not informed of the change. 

If a player is named as a substitute but starts the game, the player that was starting can go onto the substitute bench, and there are no sanctions, but the referee will inform the authorities. Players can be sent off before a game. If this happens, the player cannot participate in the game. 

Youth soccer players celebrating a goal. ○ Soccer Blade

Youth Game Substitutions

For some youth games, substitutions can be made during a match. Later on, during the game, the player can be brought back into the game when another substitution is made. This can be done several times to allow the youth players to adapt to the game – giving the coaches flexibility. 

  • It’s a good way to try things out during a game with your team. Some players may need a break from play, or others can be given coaching advice to help your team. 

Be careful not to make too many changes, as this can disrupt the balance of your team and cause the payers on the field to become in doubt as to where their partner players are. Know the number of soccer players on the field and team, so you can prepare for the fixtures and injuries that build up throughout the season. For more useful guides, see the articles below or visit our home page.

How many players on a high school soccer team?

There are 1 goalkeeper and 10 outfield players making a total of 11 players for a high school soccer team. 

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Rules FAQ

How long is a soccer game?

Soccer games include two 45 minute halves, which is 90 minutes of play. Those who have ever watched a game know that, like many sports, real-time is longer than the match time.
In real-time, the length of a soccer game varies immensely. At the bare minimum, it will be 90 minutes of play + 15 minutes of halftime for a total of 105 minutes.

What is offside in soccer?

The offside rule in soccer is to stop player ‘goal hanging’ – standing near the opposition goal. This also stops soccer from being a long ball game, balls hit from one goal to another.

What are yellow card offenses?

+ Charging an opponent – caution if reckless.
+ Holding an opponent – When the ball is in play and the holding continues.
+ Handling the Ball – When a player handles the ball to break up attacking play. If an attacker + uses their hand to attempt to score a goal.
+ Dangerous play – If a player makes an action that can risk an injury to another player.
+ Impeding the progress of an opponent – If a player holds another player back or blocks a player on purpose, that prevents an attack.
+ Breaking up an attack - where there is the possibility of creating a scoring chance.
+ Simulation - where a player tries to con a referee into thinking that they are injured in order to punish the opponent. If a player tries to make out that they have been fouled.

What are the red card offenses?

+ Serious foul play
+ Violent conduct
+ Spitting at a person
+ Deliberate handball – denying a goal-scoring opportunity
+ Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity
+ Offensive, aggressive, abusive language or gesture
+ Receiving a second caution

Soccer field size, size of goal, number of players and minutes played per age;

+ u17-u19 - Halves 2 x 45 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50-100 by 100-130 yards
+ u15-u16 - Halves 2 x 40 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50- 100 by 100-130 yards
+ u13-u14 - Halves 2 x 35 minutes - Number of players 11 vs 11 - Goal Size 8 x 24 - Field size 50-10 by 100-130 yards
+ u11-u12 - Halves 2 x 30 minutes - Number of players 9 vs 9 - Goal Size 7 x 21 - Field size 45-70 by 70-80 yards
+ u9-u10 - Halves 2 x 25 minutes - Number of players 7 vs 7 - Goal Size 6 x 18.5 - Field size 35-45 by 55-65 yards
+ u6-u8 - Quarters 4 x 10 minutes - Number of players 4 vs 4 - 4 x 6 Goal Size - Field size 15-25 by 25-35 yards

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