What Season is Soccer Played in?

A person who is just beginning to familiarise themselves with all the different aspects of football is unlikely to be aware of quite a few things that pertain to the sport.

One of the many questions that newly invested fans are likely to ask about is what climate season the game is played in.

Let me cut right to the chase here…

Soccer is usually played between the seasons of late summer and full spring, as league competitions normally begin in the middle of the month of August and run through to the tail end of December, before taking a short winter recess. Play then typically resumes the following year at the beginning of January prior to concluding in the month of May.

For those of you reading this who are not too familiar with the science and geography surrounding changes in weather, I’ll give you a brief catchup lesson.

In western countries, a full year is divided into four seasons of spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter.

As each season regularly follows one another, a yearly cycle comprised of three-month periods of distinct light, weather and temperature patterns repeats itself in perpetuity.

To back up the emboldened statement made near the beginning of this article, I’m now going to outline the competition schedules of the top five European leagues.


Competition schedule for European leagues

By identifying when each league kicks off and comes to an end, I’ll be able to pinpoint the exact weather season that each competition runs through.

So, let’s begin…



what season is soccer played in - England summer to spring

The Premier League has traditionally begun every August and ended in the May of the following year.

In fact for the upcoming campaign, shareholders have decided that the competition will run from the 14th of August 2021 and have the final game week on the 22nd of May 2022.

These dates line up with the close of the summer season and the end of the next spring respectively.



Spain’s premier football competition called La Liga is set to take place for the 91st time in history and commence from the 13th of August 2021 until May 2022.

This is similar to the Premier League start and finish, as well as also confirming the fact that it runs through the summer to the spring of the following year.


Germany, France & Italy

The Bundesliga starts on the 13th of August, with the Serie A beginning a week and two days later on the 22nd of August.

Meanwhile in France, Ligue 1 organisers have decided to get things up and running quite early as they’ve settled on Friday 6th of August as their target.

It’s therefore clear to see that the top competitions within Europe all begin within a week or so of each other.


Major League Soccer schedule

what season is soccer played in - MLS spring to winter

As Americans refer to the sport as “soccer”, it’s important to clarify when their countries’ own premier division gets underway.

History is a reliable indicator that they like to do things differently from the English, and the schedule that their own football league takes on provides the perfect example.

Major League Soccer (MLS) announced an opening weekend date of Saturday 3rd April and a conclusion day for the regular season of November 7th 2021.

The playoff format is also set to begin from the 19th of November 2021, with the cup final set for December 11th.

So, you can see here that the American soccer league runs from the season of spring, through autumn (fall) and proceeds all the way to winter.


Is soccer a winter or summer sport?

A decent case can be made for soccer falling into the category of a winter sport as opposed to a summer one.

The pileup of Christmas fixtures that has been a staple of Premier League football and other European leagues to a lesser extent means that teams have to rotate their playing squads every couple of days, as the games come in thick and fast during this busy period.

The cold and blustery atmosphere that you so often see in stadiums during televised games is one of the main reasons why footballers wear gloves and put on base layers underneath their jerseys.

And even though annual winter breaks have been part of the game for some time, they are often fairly short and arguably contribute to congested club timelines in the leadup to the yearly interval.

Even more so, it’s already been proven that the leagues within Europe tend to begin their domestic campaigns towards the back end of the summer season and conclude them before the next summer in the year ahead.

Ultimately, not much football action takes place in the sweltering heat as players often use this time to rest and recover from the gruelling exertions of the previous season.

Although, international football competitions like the European Championships and the FIFA World Cup traditionally take place in the summer months of June and July.

But because these events only occur after every two and four years, they are quite removed from the normal football calendar and would be better placed as outliers.

Take a look at the table below which summarises the four seasons, their accompanying characteristics and their overall alignment with football:


Closing thoughts

Soccer is for the most part played in the autumn (fall) and spring seasons as major European leagues commence in August and remain active until December, before taking a brief winter break and restarting in early January, and then running all the way to the month of May.

Samuel Waihenya
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