By Don Dennison, National Clinician and Assessor
Not all referees are fortunate enough to be assigned to post-season matches, conference tournaments or NCAA tournament matches. If you are one of the lucky ones, it is imperative that you commit to memory the proper procedures for handling such matches when there is no winner after the regulation 90 minutes of the match plus two 10 minute sudden victory overtime periods.
In such circumstances it is necessary to determine a winner by means of kicks from the penalty spot (or line) as proscribed in NCAA Rule 7.1 . On a personal note, please don’t refer to these as “penalty kicks” as used by the uninformed press and media. There has been no penalty assessed, they are kicks that are taken from the penalty mark.
As opposed to the FIFA Laws of the Game, NCAA rules state that only players that are listed in the NCAA game roster may participate and they do NOT necessarily have to have been on the field at the end of the second overtime. This is a major difference. They can in fact have been on the bench as long as they are listed on the roster.
Each team will designate 10 different kickers, one of whom may be the goalkeeper, OR 10 different kickers and a goalkeeper. In this later case, the goalkeeper cannot participate as a kicker. As in FIFA, a series of five kicks by different players is taken and the team scoring on the greatest number of those kicks is determined as the winner.
A coin toss will determine which team will kick first or second with the visiting team calling the toss, the winner if winner of which has the choice of kicking first or second. The referee shall determine which goal shall be used. No follow up on the kicks is allowed, the ball remains alive until its momentum is spent.
Note that coaches, trainers, non-participating players and other bench personnel must remain in the coaching and team area and are not permitted on the field. The participating kickers are to assemble within the center circle on the side of the halfway line away from the goal being used.
In the event that a team cannot field 10 kickers or one or more are ejected during the kicks, the opposing team has the option to reduce its number of kickers accordingly.
If the score is still tied after each team has taken 5 kicks, a sudden victory situation takes place with each team continuing with different kickers until a team has one more goals than its opponent having taken the same number of kicks. In the event that the score still remains tied after 10 kicks each, the kicks in sudden victory manner will continue, however after all eligible kickers have kicked once, the order of the kickers may be changed .
The goalkeeper who is not defending the kick must remain on the field of play and at one corner of the penalty area at the goal line. Once the goalkeeper is selected, he or she can only be changed if injured or ejected. A substitute goalkeeper can be any eligible player on the roster. In the event of an injury to the goalkeeper, the rules require that whether or not the player is injured must be determined by a physician or certified trainer. If the goalkeeper is physically able, he or she may return to the match.
These scenarios are not the easiest to remember, but it behooves the tournament officials to review the procedures prior to the match.