What Is a Division in Soccer?

By Luís Miguel
Updated on

With soccer being different, in many aspects, from other sports in the US, its terms and structure can, sometimes, be confusing. One example is the concept of divisions. What are they? How do they work? I did some research and found an answer.

A division in soccer is the level of difficulty of a league relative to each country’s tiered championships system. Each division features a set of teams competing against each other. Except for the US, depending on their tier level, divisions have merit-based champions, promotions, and relegations.

Let’s get into further detail about the meaning of divisions in soccer and understand how they work.

Meaning of Division in Soccer: What Is It?

In soccer, “division” is the term used to designate the level at which a league sits within the soccer league system of each country.

Think of divisions as the different tiers of a pyramid.

You have the highest, most competitive division at the top.

And, as you move down the tiers, you have less significant and competitive divisions.

How Do Soccer Divisions Work?

Each division has its league — a set of teams playing against each other on a home and away basis throughout a season.

* A league is also called a championship.

A division championship usually has from 12 to 24 teams. The number of competing teams depends on the size of the country.

In some countries, soccer divisions may feature more than just one championship.

For two reasons:

  • A high amount of participating teams: Too many sides would make the league too lengthy*.
  • Logistics costs: Teams too distant apart would make traveling and logistics too expensive and time-consuming.

* If you multiply the number of teams by two (home and away matches) and subtract two (a team won’t play against itself), you’ll have the total amount of matchdays.

Guy wearing an SL Benfica jersey holding soccer ball over his head

Article by:

Luís Miguel

As a true soccer enthusiast, I’m Soccermodo’s team captain. My job is to make sure the site’s content is top-notch so that you, our reader, can focus solely on improving your game and reach new heights.