Soccer vs Hockey – Which One is Better?

If you are not an avid sports fan, you might be surprised to find out that soccer and hockey are actually very closely related. Despite their obvious differences – like the fact that one is played with your foot and the other with a stick – there are many more similarities than you might think.

So, if you’re a huge fan of either sport (or both) and want to fully grasp on their differences and similarities, here’s 10 ways they’re similar and 10 ways they’re different. Keep reading for a fuller idea of these two sports:

What is Soccer?

soccer players

Soccer players are also called footballers and the sport is most popular in Europe, South America, and some parts of North America. The game itself involves kicking around a ball with your feet (without using your hands) to get it into the goal at either end of the field. Two teams play against each other with 11 players on the field at once, however, if one of these players gets a red card (with the exception of goalie), then another player must leave as well.

What is Hockey?

indoor games

Hockey is a game most people around the world are familiar with. It’s not so much of an “American” sport, although it is most popular in North America. Hockey originated in Canada and has since spread to countries across the world including USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and more.

It involves two teams of players trying to get a small ball or puck into the goal at either end of the rink while avoiding being “checked” by the other team. It’s possible for hockey players to be checked violently, but it is not very common since most major penalties in hockey will result in either a penalty shot, a free shot from a specified area on the ice, or a sending off.

Soccer Vs Hockey: Top Differences

OK, so now you have a better understanding of what soccer and hockey are, here’s 10 differences between the two sports.

Injury Risk

hockey player

A major difference between these two games is that soccer players don’t really get injured or hurt throughout a game while hockey players do. To be exact, for soccer players, injuries happen 1-3 percent of the time while injuries for hockey players arise 9-19 percent of the time.


If you’re a fan of soccer, you know that games are usually played over two 45-minute halves with an additional 15 minutes for half-time if your game is tied after regulation. Ice hockey or simple hockey, on the other hand, is played over three 20 minute periods, with some games played over four 15 minute periods.

Winning in Soccer Game Vs Hockey Game

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The object of the game in soccer is to score more goals than your opponent while hockey’s goal is to outscore your opponent by either having more goals at the end of the game or having more penalty minutes than them.

Penalty minutes are pretty self-explanatory since they’re given for committing a foul which results in players leaving the ice hockey sticks and another player coming on to replace them. In general, a team can have no more than 5 players (not including goalie) on the ice at one time during play… but this varies from league to league and sometimes even within leagues depending on where you are in the world. In addition, if a team gets a penalty, they will not have to play a man short if one of their players gets a goal.

Uniforms of Soccer Vs Hockey Players

professional soccer

In soccer, uniforms don’t really vary much from team to team – except for maybe the colors and little details that make it different from another club’s uniform – but in hockey the uniforms usually do since it gives each team a unique identity. In addition, there are referees who must also wear a full uniform as well.

Field Size And Dimensions

The field dimension changes slightly depending on where you are in the world because FIFA does have different rules regarding their fields – although most of these rules stem from how large or small the field is supposed to be (in terms of width and what type of grass should be used).

In addition, the penalty area (which is an arc of a circle) is 16.5 yards (15 meters) away from each goal line; this area is where players who commit fouls can be put into “jail” for their punishment.

Goal Size in Ice Hockey And Soccer

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The size of the soccer games goal measures 8 feet wide by 24 feet tall (2.44 m x 7.32 m); it may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that there are 11 players on the field at once which creates some difficulties when trying to score goals since many of these players cover a lot of space and can block the goalie’s view. The goal in ice hockey or simple hockey is roughly 2 by 4 meters (6.5 ft x 13 ft).


In soccer, there are several ways to score: on a penalty shootout, by kicking or heading the ball into the goal; with one’s hands; inside either one of the two small goals placed at each end while play is ongoing; by pushing/heading/hitting it in with one’s head so that it rolls over the line… if you have ever watched any games before, chances are you’ve seen this happen more than once.

In hockey, scoring is done much differently since pucks are shot into nets using different types of sticks to propel the puck in the desired direction.

Positioning of Hockey And Soccer Team

In soccer, there are 11 different positions that one can play at a time: Goalkeeper (GK), defenders (D), midfielders (M), attacking midfielders (AM or A), and forwards (F). In addition, each position is allocated a limit on how many players from each team can be positioned in each area; for example, only three players per team can be positioned in the penalty box during play.

Hockey positions vary depending on what league you’re watching and what type of hockey it is but usually consist of defensemen (D) and forwards (F). However, since hockey doesn’t rely much on positioning like soccer does, this rarely becomes an issue when playing or watching the game.

Scoring System

Playing soccer uses what is called a goal-based scoring system where each time you score, you are awarded one point towards your overall score. Scoring goals also plays an important role in who wins or loses since if you have more goals than your opponent, it’s likely that you will win the match.

Hockey premier league and other matches, on the other hand, use what they call a puck-based scoring system where scoring depends on how many pucks/goals are scored during play and at the end of each period (there are 3 periods per game). The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.

Time And Game Length

In a soccer match, there are two 45 minute halves making up each game; however, in certain tournaments (such as the World Cup) they may vary this if it is necessary. Hockey games last for about 2 hours long; the game starts with a faceoff and then each team gets to control play for 20 minutes before switching sides. Like soccer, hockey has two halves but these consist of three periods (lasting at least 17-18 minutes) which means that there are breaks between each period.


There are several different types of fouls in soccer including handballs, dangerous tackles or using your hands/arms to block the ball from moving forward when you’re not supposed to… again, there is quite a list so you’ll have to click here if you want more information on what these specific fouls are and what their punishments entail (which includes jail time!) In hockey, there are a few more rules to follow but they’re all focused on safety; this includes high-sticking (hitting someone with your stick even if you don’t mean to) or hitting/slashing another player.

Passes as well as some other common penalties will result in the offending team playing 5-minute “power plays” where players from the opposing team serve their penalty time by extending one of their players so that they have an advantage over them.

Soccer Vs Hockey: Top Similarities

ice rink

Soccer and hockey share many not-so-obvious similarities that make them both unique sports to watch/play. Here are the top similarities between soccer and hockey:

Sharing a Ball

In some ways, you can say that soccer is similar to hockey since they both require players to use a stick in order to get the ball into the goal. Although this isn’t exactly true since sticks have specific purposes depending on what league you’re playing in or what position you occupy, it’s still a common factor across the board.

Focus on Teamwork

A major part of these two games involves working together with your team members in order to achieve a certain goal. Both teams have designated positions but each player has specific tasks they must carry out in order to play their part.

This might include passing the ball, blocking other players from getting close to your goal or going for a higher scoring area on the field depending on what position you’re playing and how many other players are trying to score at that given time.

Forward or Reverse Movement

There is a reason why soccer ball game is sometimes referred to as “football” since it involves a lot of forward motion when heading towards the opposition’s goal while hockey requires more backward movement in order to keep control of the puck/ball until you have enough room between yourself and an opponent to get back into your stride moving forward.

In both cases however, there will always be someone leading the way followed by the rest of their teammates so this idea of forward/backward movement doesn’t hold true for one or the other.

Spectators And What They Can Bring to The Game

When it comes to spectators at a match between soccer and hockey, there is certainly a lot of overlap since both sports have very passionate fans who always encourage their teams to come out on top. Whether it is a major league soccer game, hockey match, or an American football league the fans are same in terms of what they bring (or wear) to the game.

However, it’s neither same nor entirely different either since soccer has supporters with painted chests and often flags while hockey fans will usually write messages on their shirts or jackets before games in hopes that it’ll give them an extra boost during playtime.

Soccer Vs Hockey: Conclusion

For those of you who are trying to figure out the answer from a personal perspective on whether to watch soccer or hockey or deciding a popular sport among the two, it all boils down to what types of games you enjoy watching as well as your personal preference.

In terms of which sport is more challenging or harder for its participants, this also applies on a case-by-case basis and will really depend on how much skill you have in terms of team play since there are certain positions that require specific skills and if you’re just starting out with either one then it’s likely going to take some time before you can fully understand how each role affects the outcome.

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