How Many Soccer Balls Fit in a Goal?

The positive association between a soccer ball and a goal post has existed for hundreds of years.

You often picture either yourself or a professional player scoring an amazing goal, with the ball curving past the goalkeeper and having a rippling effect on the net.

But there’s a question about the sport that I’ve recently thought about, and I’d like to share its answer in this article.

And it goes like this…

How many soccer balls can fit inside a standard goal frame?

Have you ever wondered just what specific number of these fabled objects could physically fit within a soccer goal?

If you haven’t, then here’s your answer:

A total of three-hundred and sixty-three (363) soccer balls can be stacked inside a soccer goal’s opening. According to the mathematics, the wall measurements would be equivalent to eleven soccer balls high and thirty-three soccer balls wide, which confirms the total of three-hundred and sixty-three balls when the aforementioned figures are multiplied together.


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Now, let’s take a closer look at how I managed to arrive at this conclusion.

 

The mathematical justification

In order to find out how many great soccer balls can fit into a soccer goal; we need to look at the size of each variable in isolation before theoretically merging the two components together.

So, here goes…

 

1. Goal post dimensions

According to the FIFA world football governing body’s Laws of the Game document, the horizontal distance between each post must be a length of 8 yards.

If you convert this figure into feet, you’ll get 24 units.

What’s more is that the gap between the lower edge of the crossbar and the ground should be a height of 8 feet.

So, we have a structure that’s 24 feet wide and 8 feet high.

Here’s the full quote just for reference:

“The distance between the inside of the posts is 7.32 m (8 yds) and the distance from the lower edge of the crossbar to the ground is 2.44 m (8 ft).”

Source: FIFA

And check out the picture below for a clearer visualisation of what I mean.

 

2. Soccer ball dimensions

Now let’s take a proportionate look at a professional soccer ball by comparison.

A size 5 ball would typically measure in at a diameter of 8.6 inches, although this range can also extend to the higher side of 9 inches.

Here’s a simple illustration of this as well:

You should also have a read of my related article on soccer ball sizes, as that post digs into the finer details of measurement.

 

3. Conversion and combination

Now there’s a few things left to do.

The first is to convert the horizontal goal post length into the same unit of measurement that was used for the diameter of a soccer ball – inches.

Take a look at this below:

And then the next step is to find out how many diameters can mathematically fit into the standard horizontal length outlined above.

Ball width quantity = Goal width / Ball diameter

Ball width quantity = 288 inches divided by 8.6 = 33.4

So, we end up with 33 balls wide by rounding the figure down to the nearest whole number.

For the height, we need to do another conversion of the goal frame’s height from feet to inches.

Once again, dividing this figure by the 8.6-inch ball diameter gives us the ball height tally:

Ball height quantity = Goal height / Ball diameter

Ball height quantity = 96 inches divided by 8.6 = 11.1

Rounding this number down leaves us with a total of 11.

After that, multiplying these two figures together – 33 and 11 – gives a total of 363 which was the total number of soccer balls that I had said in the answer at the start of the article.

So, that’s the mathematical confirmation right there that 363 soccer balls can fit fully into a goal.

 

What are the chances of scoring a goal in soccer?

This query can be answered by simply looking at the amount of possibilities for a soccer ball to fit into a standard goal!

As previously stated, a size 5 soccer ball would fit in 363 times, meaning that an athlete would have that amount of finite chances to score.

What is also important to note here is that the chances of scoring a goal increase exponentially as the ball size decreases.

This is due to the simple fact that a smaller soccer ball has more areas of the open goal to fit in to.

 

Summary

This short article has covered the topic of how many soccer balls can fit into a goal.

As a reminder…

A standard size 5 soccer ball can fit into a goal three-hundred and sixty-three times, with thirty-three balls wide and eleven balls high.

 

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Samuel Waihenya
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