Soccer Field Terms

I have divided soccer field terms into two main categories, Basic and, uh, well let's see - Basic.

Beginning soccer parents should know the basics.

Yes, that’s right. Stretch your brain and learn all of the terms at the same time.


Basic Soccer Field Terms

First, A Diagram

For those who learn best using visual aids, click on the diagram below to view a larger version. It will open in a separate window so you may need to disable your popup blocker.

Soccer field diagram

Print it out or leave it open in a separate window as a reference.  You can also check out the Wikipedia soccer field information.


Center Circle – a circular marking with a 10-yard radius in the “center” of the field from which kickoffs are taken to start or restart the game. Purpose: Simply a reference line for the referee and defenders. Defenders must be as least 10 yards away from the ball prior to start or restart.

Center Line – See Midfield line.

Center Spot – The “center” of the center circle from which kickoffs are taken to start or restart the game. Not too complicated!

Corner Arc – an arc or quarter-circle with a radius of 1 yard located at each of the 4 corners of the soccer field. Purpose: Also a reference line, the ball must be kicked from inside this arc on a corner kick.

Corner Flag – the flag located at each of the 4 corners of the soccer field, inside the corner area.

End Line – the boundary line extending from corner to corner along its width at each end.

Field – the rectangular area where soccer matches are played.

Goal Area – the rectangular area (20 x 6 yd. on a full-size soccer field) marked within the penalty area (or inside the larger rectangle) and directly in front of goal. Purpose: Marks the area from which all goal kicks must be taken.

Goal Box – commoner’s term for the goal area or sometimes the penalty area.

Goal Line – same as the end line.

Midfield Line – a line in the center of the field that divides the field in half along its width and runs parallel to the goals. Purpose: Used for start and restart as well as for calling offside. A player cannot be offside on their half of the field. Also called the center line.

Penalty area – The larger rectangle (18 x 44 yd. on a full size field) in front of the goal that includes the goal area. Purpose: Marks both where the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball with his hands AND the area where harsh fouls committed by the defending team result in penalty kicks.

Penalty Arc – The arc at the top of the penalty area. Purpose: Designates how far back all players must be away from the ball while a penalty kick is being taken.

Penalty Mark (or Spot) – the mark from which penalty kicks are taken. It is 12 yards from the goal line.

Pitch – Another word for the field.

Sideline – common word for the touchline.

Touchline – the line that runs along the length of each side of the field. Commonly called the sideline in other sports.

Don’t forget to check out my soccer book and soccer video recommendations! Any of the recommended books or videos will give you a wealth of information beyond what you can learn online.

Also, is serving up their most popular soccer parent guide books just below. Click on a book to check it out!

› Soccer Field Terms

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