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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33731

High School 10/23/2019

RE: High School

Tony of Sandwich, MA USA asks...

This is more of a venting statement. Too many high school soccer fields, whether grass or synthetic turf, are too narrow; 60-64 yards. Team's treat their throw-ins deep in their offensive third of the field as corner kicks. That's not how real football is supposed to be played. What's worse is when there is ample space to make the soccer lines wider on a grass field, but don't. It's so frustrating.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Tony,
Many adult teams have the strength to get a thrown ball into the goalmouth on a much larger field. This is a valid part of the game. It is different to a corner as the trajectory and force is different - but if they're able to create an attack from a throw, then so be it.
My frustration with narrow fields is a little different - the minimum dimensions for a match played under the Laws of the Game is 50x100 yards.
At this length, the PA is more than a third of the length of one half - and it means the PA extends to 3 yards away from the touchline.
That effectively means that any foul in a team's defensive third becomes a penalty kick. That's also a problematic situation.
Particularly wide or narrow fields can certainly give home teams an advantage if they're used to playing on those particular field dimensions - and I share your frustration at particularly narrow fields when there is plenty of space.
It may simply mean that defenders need to be as wary of conceding throws as they are about conceding corner kicks.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tony
NFHS recommends that the field of play should at a minimum be 100 x 55 yards for Junior HS and 110 x 65 for High School with a maximum of 120 x 80 yards with a minimum run off area of 10 feet from the sidelines. FIFA fields of play must be a minimum of 100 x 50 yards to a maximum of 130 x 100 yards
Now I know that in our competitions, field vary from size to size with some tight pitches down at 50 to ones that are huge. UEFA in its completion specify a minimum and a maximum so home teams cannot set its own pitch size to suit its tactics.
Home teams use pitch size to its advantage.
I recall Stoke City had a player called Rory Delay who could throw the ball easily 30/40 yards and they used that as a tactic even tightening up it ground to assist that.
Now that was part of the exam paper for that day for visiting teams in Stoke and teams had to adjust its tactics accordingly. Teams used to make a point of trying not to concede throw ins in its own half as they knew what was going to happen. It was not pretty at times yet the game is results based so the team played to one if its strengths.
So you are not alone in your frustration yet one of the advices to coaches is to only focus on what is under the teams control and pitch size is not one of them.

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