Soccer holds sway worldwide in part because of its simplicity. All that's needed is a ball, a playing surface and a goal. A goal can be as basic as two rocks or other objects placed a few yards apart at each end of the field. But for an official soccer goal, FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has clear-cut dimensions for the size of the goal posts as well as the size and location of the goal itself.
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FIFA Rule Requirements
Soccer goals are comprised of two upright goal posts connected at the top by a crossbar. FIFA rules require that goals are supposed to be 8 feet high from the ground to the bottom of the crossbar and 24 feet wide from the inside edges of the upright posts. Nets are usually attached at the back of the goal but must not interfere with the goalkeeper. FIFA rules also require that the goal posts be securely anchored in the ground. Portable goals must also be weighted in place if the posts cannot be inserted into the ground.
Dimensions and Color
The upright posts and horizontal crossbar must be no more than 5 inches wide. Goal lines must be drawn on the field at the same width as the goal posts and crossbar. Soccer goal posts should be white in color. Lines on the field should also be white.
Goal Posts Location
The rectangular field is marked by two goal lines at each end and two touch lines that run from one goal line to the other. Soccer goal posts are located at the center of each goal line, equidistant from the corner flag posts at opposite ends of the goal lines. The goal area is a box drawn on the field, with lines extending 6 yards onto the field from each upright goal post and then connected by a line to form a rectangle in front of each goal.
Approved Materials and Shapes
The posts and crossbar should be made of metal, wood or another material approved. Acceptable shapes of the posts are square, rectangular, round, half round or elliptical. They should be in a condition that will not pose a threat to players, which means no jagged edges or sharp points.
Youth Soccer Exceptions
While most of the world adheres to FIFA laws on the specifications for goal posts and field dimensions, exceptions are made for younger players who are still learning the game. US Youth Soccer, for example, recommends a goal that is 18 feet wide between the posts and 6 feet high from the ground to the bottom of the crossbar.