Playing area and players

Playing area

A competitive football match is played on a large rectangular grassy field or artificial turf. Although there is not an exact fixed dimension all pitches will vary between:

  • 90 m and 120 m long by 45 m and 90 m wide

Although the pitch has no definite size, the inner markings are very precise:

  • Goals - these are placed at the end of the pitch and consist of two posts and a crossbar. The inner edges of the posts must be 7.32 metres wide and the bottom of the crossbar must be 2.44 metres above the ground.
  • Penalty area, otherwise known as the 18-yard box - this measurement is taken 18 yards from each goal post and 18 yards out from the goal line.
  • Penalty spot - within the penalty area is a spot marked 12 yards in front of the centre of the goal. The arc on the penalty area is deliberately made to ensure opposition players are kept 10 yards from the penalty spot.
  • Centre circle - this is marked continually 10 yards from the centre spot and ensures that opposition players are kept 10 yards away from the kick-off.
  • Goal area, otherwise known as the 6-yard box - this measurement is taken 6 yards from each goal post and 6 yards from the goal line.
A football pitch is 90 - 120 m long and 45 - 90 m wide. The width of the goalposts is 7.32 m and the crossbar is 2.44 m high. The pitch has a centre circle, goal area, penalty spot and penalty area.


A football team consists of 11 players per side and is divided into forward, midfield, defending, and goalkeeping positions. Like most sports the team has very clear roles to support their overall success:

  • forwards - their main responsibility is to score goals for the team
  • midfielders - their main responsibility is to link play between the defenders and attackers of a team
  • defenders - their main responsibility is to prevent the opposition from scoring by working with the goalkeeper to protect the goal
Players on a football team can include goalkeeper, left back, centre back (2), right back, left midfield, centre midfield (2), right midfield and centre forward (2).

Throughout a football season it is the responsibility of the team's manager to train, organise and select the players for a match. A good manager will:

  • select the correct team of players for a particular match and create a formation that reflects the strengths of the players and the weaknesses of the opposition
  • introduce a style of play for the football team to follow and create specific strategies to follow during competitive matches
  • create team cohesion amongst the players and ensure they are motivated at all times
  • manage the backroom staff of a football team

Once a game has started, a team's chosen captain supports the manager with their on-field actions. Although a captain has no official responsibility specified by the Laws of the Game other than the coin toss, it is expected that a captain:

  • leads by example and gives 100%
  • supports the players throughout the game
  • conveys the manager's messages to the team