When Is Soccer Season?

Most of the major European soccer leagues follow a similar season schedule, with the season starting in August and ending in May. This schedule allows for a summer break when the weather is usually hotter. However, this schedule is not global, and there are many variations in the start and end dates of soccer seasons depending on the region. In addition to climate, cultural traditions and the competition formats can also impact the timing of soccer seasons. For example, some countries may have multiple soccer leagues or tournaments that run concurrently, while others may have a single, unified league or tournament.

2022/2023 schedules for some of soccer's major competitions

Start and end dates for US soccer competitions
CompetitionStart DateEnd Date# of teams
MLS25 February 20235 November 202329
USL Championship12 March14 November27
USL League One11 April6 November12
MLS Next Pro25 March8 October28
NCAA Division I17 November12 December48
Start and end dates for English soccer competitions
CompetitionStart DateEnd Date# of teams
English Premier League6 August 202228 May 202320
English Championship30 July 202229 May 202324
English League One30 July 202228 May 202324
English League Two30 July 202227 May 202324
English FA Cup6 August 20223 June 2023124
English League Cup2 August 202226 February 202392
Start and end dates for Spanish soccer competitions
CompetitionStart DateEnd Date# of teams
La Liga14 August 20224 June 202320
La Liga 214 August 202211 June 202322
Copa del Rey19 October 20226 May 2023115
Start and end dates for German soccer competitions
CompetitionStart DateEnd Date# of teams
Bundesliga5 August 202227 May 202318
Bundesliga 215 July 202228 May 202318
DFB-Pokal6 August 202221 May 202364
Start and end dates for Italian soccer competitions
CompetitionStart DateEnd Date# of teams
Serie A21 August 202222 May 202320
Serie B12 July 202219 May 202320
Coppa Italia30 July 202224 May 202344

The impact of climate on soccer seasons

Varying climates around the world can have a significant influence on the timing and length of soccer seasons. In warm climates, it can be very difficult to play in the heat and humidity, and it can also lead to dehydration and cramps. As a result, soccer seasons in these regions may be shorter in order to avoid the hottest months of the year.

Conversely, in colder climates, the condition of the playing field is the primary issue. Heavy snow and ice can make it difficult or impossible to play soccer, so the seasons in these regions may be scheduled during the warmer months when the weather is more conducive to the sport.

What weather is too hot for soccer?

FIFA does not define a maximum temperature threshold that will cause the abandonment of a game. However, the FIFA Medical Committee and FIFA Medical Assessment Research Committee have established guidelines for the safety of players during hot-weather tournaments. The guidelines recommend that drink breaks are allowed in the 25th and 70th minute when The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) reaches a threshold of 32 degrees Celsius. The WBGT is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight, which takes into account: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover (solar radiation).

FIFA: exertional heat illness risk evaluation, based on ambient temperature or WBGT
Ambient dry temperatureAmbient WBGTRisk of thermal injury
25 - 31.9°C (77 - 89.4°F)24.0 - 29.3°C (75 - 85°F) Moderate
32 - 38°C (89.6 - 100°F)29.4 - 32.1°C (85 - 89.9°F)High
>38°C (>100°F)>32.2°C (>90°F) Extreme

The world players' union (FIFPRO) is campaigning for FIFA to stipulate a temperature limit at which matches would have to be postponed. Their suggestion is that cooling breaks would be allowed at 28 Celsius and no play at all if the WBGT exceeds 32 Celsius.

"The guidelines do not do enough to protect the health of the players and allow them to perform at their best"

- Vincent Gouttebarge: FIFPRO medical officer

The guidelines also recommend that there is additional specialized medical support available, in the event of serious heat-related medical emergencies.

What weather is too cold for soccer?

During cold temperatures, the condition of the playing field must be inspected to determine if the game is safe to proceed. Frozen fields or fields with patches of ice can cause significant injuries to players. In order for a game to be deemed safe to play, the referee must confirm that the field is not frozen and completely free of ice. The referee must be even more cautious when officiating younger players.

In extremely cold temperatures, soccer players can be at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Taking this into consideration, it is surprising, FIFA does not offer any official guidance for playing in extremely cold weather. However, The world players' union (FIFPRO) recommends that training and matches be canceled and rescheduled when the air temperature is less than -15°C (5°F) or when the Wind Chill Temperature is less than -27°C (-16.6°F).

FIFA has been known to make exceptions to its usual equipment rules during exceptionally cold temperatures by allowing the use of balaclavas and additional layers under their uniforms.

Why does MLS have a different schedule?

MLS soccer follows a completely different season schedule from other major nations. The reason for this is primarily due to geography. No other soccer nation can compare with the huge geographic area of The United States and Canada. The MLS has teams evenly distributed across North America, with different climates in each location. There are other nations that can compare in size, however, these nations have most of their teams clustered together, so the climate differences are negligible.

Because of the varying climate conditions, there is no schedule that would benefit all teams equally. The current season runs from February to November. This allows the teams in the north to avoid playing in snow and frozen conditions. However, this means that the players in the south must play their games in the extreme heat, and also be at risk of summer thunderstorms which can cause delays.

If the season was switched to a Fall-Spring schedule to match the European leagues, the playing conditions would improve in the southern areas, but there would no doubt be multiple game cancelations due to freezing conditions in the north and midwest areas. The quality of the soccers would also suffer in these conditions.

The advantage of moving to a Fall-Spring schedule would be that everything would be better aligned with the FIFA calendar. Currently, MLS teams will lose a number of players when they are called up for the international summer tournaments because the season schedule is conflicting. It would also make negotiations of transfers and player contracts easier when dealing with overseas clubs, as there would be better alignment with transfer windows.

The role of leagues and tournaments in determining the soccer season

Professional and amateur soccer leagues and tournaments play a major role in shaping the soccer season. These competitions typically have their own schedules and formats, which can influence the timing and length of the soccer season.

For example, some leagues and tournaments may have a long, regular season followed by a playoff or knockout stage, while others may have a shorter regular season and a more compressed knockout stage. The specific format of a league or tournament can impact the timing and length of the soccer season, as well as the amount of rest and recovery time available to players.


Does soccer have off seasons?

Professional soccer leagues will typically have an off-season of 2-3 months but this will vary depending on the region and competition. The off-season period may also be interrupted for some players by international competitions, such as the World Cup, Copa América, and European Championships.

What months is soccer played in Europe?

The major European soccer leagues are typically played between August and May.

How long is the soccer season in Spain?

Spanish soccer season will typically run from mid-August to early June, with a duration of approximately 42 weeks.

How long is the soccer season in Italy?

Spanish soccer season will typically run from August to May, with a duration of approximately 39 weeks.

Can you play soccer in snow?

Yes, it is possible to play soccer in snow, providing that the pitch markings and the ball are still visible and that the ball is still able to bounce and roll.