Probably the most essential element of any soccer match, the pitch is necessary for any game to take place. Put quite simply, a soccer pitch is the field of play. While it’s referred to as the pitch is many parts of the world, to North American ears this term can certainly seem strange.
To get into a little more detail, the shape and dimensions of the soccer field of play are actually outlined in the FIFA Laws of the Game. These laws cover everything from the ball, method of scoring, timekeeping and even the equipment necessary to participate in a game.
Law 1 however, deals exclusively with the field of play. It stipulates that the field must be green, marked with white lines, and be of a certain size. Specifically:
· Touch lines run the length of the field and can be anywhere from 100-130 yards
· Goal lines run the width of the field and can be anywhere from 50-100 yards
Outside of this, there are various other markings on the field for everything from the penalty area to the center circle. Flags are also placed at the corner points of the field and, at times, the half way point as well.
For obvious reasons, international matches are played on fields with much stricter size regulations. Fields should be 110-120 yards in lengths and 70-80 yards in width. This ensures fairness and equality for when teams from different countries compete against each other.
While games can be played on either a natural or artificial surface, most games are held on a natural grass field. If an artificial surface is to be used instead, it must conform to the International Artificial Turf Standard.
Obviously, all fields of play must have a goal, a definite necessity for any soccer match. The goal is placed at the center part of each goal line. The goal must be 8 yards wide and 8 feet high and must be anchored to the ground by posts which are white in colour.
FIFA regulations regarding the field of play are extensive and at times strict, but this ensures consistency for all soccer matches. A pitch of unusual size and markings would be difficult for players to play an officially sanctioned match on.