Is It A “Field” Or A “Pitch?”
Depending on what part of the world you’re from, you may have heard a soccer field called a variety of different names. In most of North America, it’s known as a soccer field but in the UK and other parts of Europe, it’s more commonly known as a pitch.
It might seem strange that the same rectangular section of grass would be called one thing in the US and another in the UK but there are good reasons for this difference in dialect.
In this article, we’ll go over the history behind these two soccer terms and find out more about the soccer field.
Why Is It Called A Pitch?
The origin of the word ‘pitch’ in soccer dates back to the 19th century when the sport first became popular in England. Around this time, soccer wasn’t as globally popular as it is today, so there weren’t many dedicated soccer fields anywhere in the country.
Instead, cricket was the most popular sport at the time, with cricket fields dotted around all over the UK. The playing field for a game of cricket was already known as a ‘pitch’.
Therefore, when people would play their games of soccer on a cricket pitch, the name stuck, and even dedicated soccer fields were later known as ‘pitches’.
The origin of the term ‘pitch’ in cricket also has an interesting story. The game of cricket is played with two sets of stumps in the center of the playing area. The stumps needed to be ‘pitched’ into the grass in order to set up the playing area, thus the area became known as a ‘pitch’!
This term became popular around the 17th century so, in a way, the soccer term dates back this far, too.
What’s The Difference Between A Soccer Field And A Soccer Pitch?
As we’ve established, there’s no actual physical difference between a field and a pitch when it comes to soccer. The only difference is that people in different parts of the world tend to use different names, based on their regional dialect.
People in Europe tend to say ‘pitch’ because of the historical connection to cricket. This has also carried over to places like Australia and South America. On the other hand, people in North America, are more likely to say ‘soccer field’ when referring to the playing area, mainly because cricket has almost no history in the continent.
Is A Soccer Pitch The Same As A Cricket Pitch?
Because the word ‘pitch’ was only introduced to soccer because of the popularity of cricket, it makes sense that the two sports would have similar playing areas, right?
Well, it turns out that the two are very different.
You probably already know that soccer fields are rectangular and have goal frames at either end. The dimensions of a modern soccer field are 50-100 yards (45-90 meters) in width, by 100-130 yards (90-120 meters) in length. A cricket pitch is only 22 yards (20 meters) long and 10 feet (3 meters) wide. There are also a variety of other markings that make up a cricket pitch but we won’t get into those now. The pitch actually only makes up a small amount of the total playing area for a game of cricket.
Around this rectangular pitch is a large oval boundary that extends a maximum of 82.29 meters from the center of the pitch. It is this larger area that would make up the majority of a makeshift soccer field, back when cricket pitches were used to host games of soccer.
What Is The Official Name For A Soccer Field?
Europeans call it a pitch and North Americans call it a field, but are either of these terms factually accurate? Well, according to the official FIFA Laws Of The Game document, neither is the correct term.
Instead, it is more appropriate to call it a ‘field of play’. This is the way that the playing are is described in all official FIFA documents and it is the way that referees are taught to refer to it, too.
Of course, it’s a bit of a mouthful to say ‘field of play’ every time so most people will simply refer to the playing area as a ‘field’ or ‘pitch’.
Is A Soccer Field The Same As A Football Field?
Soccer and American football are two completely different sports but they’re both played on fields of a fairly similar size. Soccer fields are 50-100 yards by 100-130 yards in dimension, football fields measure 160 feet by 100 yards.
This means that soccer fields are generally larger than football fields, on average. Of course, this isn’t the only difference between the two fields. There are a variety of different markings and the goalposts at either end of the field are also completely different shapes and sizes.
What Material Is A Soccer Field?
As you might expect, most soccer fields are made up of grass and mud, with white chalk or paint used to mark out the lines. However, this isn’t always the case and some soccer fields are made using artificial materials.
Artificial turf fields are made with strands that are designed to mimic the appearance of grass but will often be made from nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. These artificial strands are connected to a layer of backing material under the surface.
Turf fields are much easier to maintain because groundskeepers don’t have to worry about grass dying or becoming patchy throughout the season.
However, many soccer competitions and leagues don’t allow teams to compete on artificial fields.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about what a soccer field is called in different parts of the world. Regardless of whether you call it a ‘field’, ‘pitch’, or ‘field of play’, you’re not necessarily wrong.
The difference between the terms mostly just relates to what part of the world you come from.
It’s similar to Europeans referring to the sport as football, while North Americans call it soccer. Nobody’s wrong, it’s just a difference in dialect!