How Many Players are on a Soccer team?

How Many Players are on a Soccer team?

For a standard pro game of soccer or any other similar offical level of match, there will be a maximum of eleven players on each team playing on the pitch at any one time, which includes the goalkeeper.

A casual pickup game can have any amount of players, and you may expect to see either just a few on each side, up to 20 or even more - which admittedly quickly turns rather chaotic!

Why are there 11 players on each soccer team?

It is not entirely clear why it was chosen there that there should be 11 players on each team, theories range from things such as it was a simple copy of the game of cricket with not much further thought given, to it was decided after extensive testing on the pitch, and it being discovered that around 20 players (plus the 2 goalkeepers) were the ideal amount for a better match.

What is clear is that the rule was bought in since 1870 - and it has stuck firmly since!

But in a squad there are many more...

In addition to the players on the pitch, there will be substitutes as well as other players who are in the squad but have not been picked for that game.

All substitues as well as the 11 original players chosen to start must be named on the starting sheet that is given to the officials before the game commences.

The amount of substitutes allowed to be named, as well as the number who are allowed to be used, varies according to the league or type of game being played, and in fact allowances were made during the Covid pandemic in many top flight leagues, which increased these allowed numbers.

Can there be less than 11 players on the field for each soccer team?

Yes, for sure, and in fact there often are! Remember that we are talking about official or professional games here, and in these there can regularly be red cards which result in a player being removed from the field for the rest of the match, without the possibility of anyone taking his place.

Note that although there can be less than 11, if the number of players for any one team drops below 7, then the game will be abandoned. This rarely happens, although it has been know for many players to receive red cards in one go!

And there can be shorthanded soccer games?

Of course, 9v9, 7v7, 5v5 - it is even known for some top soccer teams to have their player train in 3v3 formats, as it develops certain skill sets that coaches think translate well to the full sided games.

Most short handed games will be played in reduced size pitches, and are often used for younger players as well - it is generally accepted that smaller teams helps younger players develop their game as well as enjoy it a little bit more!

shorthanded soccer team younger players

So, in general there should be 11 players on each side, on the field at any one time in a soccer match - but some of the best fun can be had simply by kicking a ball around with friends - so make sure to enjoy the game however you wish!

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