History of soccer and the soccer goal width
Soccer has a 2,000 years old history but it continues to be the most popular game on Earth. According to the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), 240 million people play the game each year and a whopping 3.57 billion people watch the others play i.e., close to half of the world’s population. Lot of changes happened in the game over a period of time but the width of the goal remained the same at 24 ft. This remained unchanged in Law 1 (The Field of Play) of 17 laws of soccer game since the beginning of the game. Soccer goal width in different formats Interestingly, there are different types of soccer. Each of it has a different width of the goal.
- Of course, the width changes with the age group of players. 6 ft nets are used in U6 games, 18.5 ft in U10 games and 21 ft in U12 games.
- Five-a-side soccer has the least dimensions – goal height of 4 ft and width of 6 ft. Players refrain from keeping the ball high in this format.
- Futsal, played on a hard indoor court that is much smaller than a regular soccer field, has a goal similar to handball goal – 6.5 ft high and 10 ft wide.
- Indoor soccer is a played on a field that is larger than a futsal field. As a result, the goal is wider – 6.5 ft high and 12 ft wide.
- Beach soccer is another format where the goal keeper cannot move as swiftly as he can in a regular soccer field. The width of the goal is smaller than the standard soccer goal width at 18 ft with a height of 7 ft.
Soccer goal width and the score line
Soccer is a game where people love to see one of the two teams win. Draws (equal goals scored by both teams) are not always exciting and goalless draws end up as boring games. 2014 soccer world cup witnessed 17 draws out of 64 games and 11 games of these 17 draws ended at 0-0 score line i.e., 17% of the match viewers in the stadiums got bored. To make the games more interesting, a solution was proposed by soccer pundits to increase the width of the goal. This would increase the chances of goal scoring with score lines similar to a baseball game and a greater possibility of clear winners. However, the offer was turned down as the joy or heartbreak in an equalizer is unimaginable and would steal the magic of soccer.
Realistic width of opportunity to score a goal
The average height of a goalkeeper is 6 ft and as per scientific studies, it should equal to the average arm span. This reduces the effective goal width opportunity to 18 ft. Typically, a goalkeeper cannot make a side jump beyond the arm span. This effectively leaves 12 ft of opportunity for the striker. Goalkeeper needs to adjust his position in such a way that his 12 ft horizontal blocking zone stops the goal being scored.