What Is a Friendly in Soccer?

By Luís Miguel
Updated on

With so many terms and competitions, not everyone knows every soccer name or expression. One example is friendly in soccer. What is it, what does it mean, and what’s its purpose?

In this article, you will learn everything about soccer friendlies and become more fluent in soccer lingo.

A friendly in soccer is a stand-alone match for training or exhibition purposes. Friendlies are non-official, non-competitive games, meaning they aren’t part of any sanctioned tournament, league, or cup. They do not affect any standings. They happen when any two teams agree and have a free schedule.

What Is a Friendly Match in Soccer?

A friendly soccer match is a one-off game between two teams.

The term “friendly” comes from the non-official and non-competitive nature of this type of soccer match. There’s no competitive goal in them and nothing at stake.

They aren’t part of any soccer-governing-body-officially-sanctioned competition like the FIFA World Cup or the Major League Soccer.

Therefore, soccer friendlies don’t affect league standings or decide tournament/cup knockout brackets.

There are several different types of friendlies in soccer, but, in general, the two may ones are training or exhibition.

Club or national teams play them whenever two sides need a training session at a more demanding, higher level. Or when two teams want to host an exhibition match for entertainment or fundraising objectives.

All they need to do then is find a date in their competitive schedule and play their friendly.

What Type of Friendly Games Are There?

There are many different types of friendly games in soccer.

Let’s review all of them:

Soccer Club Friendlies

Soccer club teams play a few friendlies during the preseason to prepare for the upcoming competition.

Instead of dividing a soccer squad (i.e., roster) into two teams and playing against themselves, clubs prefer to face real opponents with their distinct tactics, style of play, and players.

All to put their team, squad, and game plan to the test and be ready for the real season games.

International Friendlies

A national team plays an international friendly against another national side (and sometimes against a club team) for the same reasons soccer clubs do.

They’re looking to improve their level, rhythm, and pace and prepare for the tough official matches.

Exhibition Matches

An exhibition match is a friendly soccer game between two teams for entertainment reasons purely.

Club teams, national sides, or even retired soccer stars who want to get together, entertain the audience, or promote an event or upcoming tournament play exhibition matches.

Fundraising/Charitable

A soccer friendly can also happen for fundraising or charitable reasons.

Teams (soccer clubs, national teams, former players) can get together and organize a game to get funds for non-profit organizations or raise awareness for events or causes.

Tributes

Friendly games also happen to honor, pay homage, and say goodbye to great players retiring or leaving their club/national team who contributed enormously to their side.

Old Glories

Sometimes old glories set up a friendly game between themselves to have fun, remember their golden days, and entertain their lifetime fans or the new generations who never saw them play.

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.