What is a Friendly in Soccer?

What is a Friendly in Soccer?

What is a ‘Friendly’ in soccer? A friendly is a non-competitive match between two teams that is usually played to warm up for the regular season.  

We love soccer for its rivalries and matches, but there are times when friendly games appear on the schedule and the excitement goes down a few levels.

So, what precisely is a soccer-friendly match?

Friendly Soccer Match

This is a match that has been organized between two teams with no competitive significance. The game’s result (win, lose or draw) will not affect a team’s placement in any future event or position in the standings.

Friendly Match SoccerFriendly games, usually referred to as exhibition games, are frequently performed for entertainment or supporting charitable causes.

Before the season starts, friendly games are also organized between teams as a warm-up to their competitive matches. In some cases, teams can cross ocean lines.

An example of a friendly soccer game would be if Los Angeles FC (Major League Soccer) traveled to England to face Chelsea FC (English Premier League) as part of a preseason game. This introduces more fans into each league while maintaining quality soccer.

What is the Purpose of Friendly Games?

As mentioned, soccer’s need for friendly matches stems mainly from allowing players to warm up before their competitive games start. A club may improve the intensity and complexity of its training sessions by hosting friendly matches before the start of the season.

There are further reasons for scheduling friendly matches, such as:

  • To fill in scheduling gaps: If a team doesn’t have a game planned for a certain week, it might be a good idea to set up a friendly game with an opponent to keep players in match shape.
  • To aid players in their injury recovery: When one or more of its players are recovering from serious injuries, some professional soccer clubs schedule friendlies. It enables them to catch up without running the risk of engaging in really dangerous competitive bouts.
  • For business purposes: In professional soccer, some friendly matches between clubs are scheduled for commercial purposes. For instance, the EPL team Arsenal organizes the Emirates Cup, an annual preseason competition, as a business venture with the help of its sponsors.

Are Points Awarded for Victories in a Friendly?

Point scoring is often not essential in friendly matches since they are one-time sporting events.

This explains why the game’s result isn’t as crucial as the game itself, which is clearly not the case in competitive soccer!

However, points could be given out in friendly competitions when a league table is active, like the preseason Emirates Cup. In this situation, the winning team will earn three points, and if two teams draw, they will each receive one point.

What Are the Rules of a Friendly?

The majority of friendly games follow the same set of rules as other games. This also refers to the duration of the match, which is 90 minutes,  the same length of time as a competitive game.

However, some rules are modified or ignored. This is permitted since a friendly game is non-competitive, and the results don’t have the same long-term significance as they would in a regular season match.

The most modified rule is the use of substitutions (subs).

There are usually just three substitutes allowed in a typical competitive game. And in friendly matches, both coaches use this time to get as many players in as possible so the amount you can sub is often nullified.

Also, the referees could call the game like a normal match as it is a training opportunity for them as well.


Friendlies are an excellent way for professional and youth teams to prepare for the competitive games ahead.

The relaxed atmosphere of these matches also provides a perfect platform for teams to try out new strategies and players combinations, as well as gives injured players time to recover in a safe environment.

With all this considered, it’s no wonder why friendly soccer matches have become such an integral part of the sport!

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created soccernovo.com to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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