NCAA Tiebreaker Procedure

Published on October 25, 2018


By: Lance VanHaitsma, NISOA National Clinician

October 2018 – Reference the 2018-2019 NCAA Soccer Rules

Conference and other postseason tournaments use the tiebreaker procedure of taking kicks from the penalty spot/line in Rule 7, specifically Rule 7.1.1. Match officials are encouraged to pay special attention to the areas in bold. Only players who are listed on the official NCAA game roster form shall be eligible to participate in the tiebreaker. Each team shall designate either:

(a) 10 different kickers, one of whom may be the goalkeeper; or

(b) 10 different kickers and a goalkeeper who will not participate as a designated kicker in the tiebreaker procedure. The kicking order shall be at the discretion of the kicking team; however, after all the eligible kickers have kicked once, the order of the designated kickers may change. If any of the designated players, except for the goalkeeper, are ejected during the tiebreaker, the game will continue with the remaining designated players; and the opposing team, if desired, shall have the option to reduce or adjust its kicking order to avoid being penalized or placed at a disadvantage if the No.1 kicker from the offending team ends up kicking against the No.10 kicker from the nonoffending team. In addition, if the designated player ejected is the goalkeeper, his or her replacement may be from any of the eligible players listed on the official NCAA game roster for that game. The game will continue with the remaining designated players. The visiting team shall call the coin toss, the winner of which elects to kick first or last. Each team shall take an initial series of five kicks, if necessary, alternately. In all games except the national championship game, the team scoring the greater number of goals shall advance to the next round. The referee shall determine which goal shall be used. If the score still is tied after each team has taken five kicks, kicks shall continue alternately in the same order until a team has one more goal in the same number of kicks. Each kick shall be taken by a different player until all the eligible kickers have kicked once. If the kicks continue beyond that number, the order of the initially designated kickers may be changed. The nonparticipating goalkeeper shall stay on the field of play at one corner of the penalty area. All designated players except the kicker and the designated goalkeepers shall remain in the center circle. The referee shall administer the taking of the kicks. One assistant referee shall act as the goal judge and one assistant referee shall record the kickers and monitor the nonparticipants. Once the goalkeeper is designated, he or she shall not be replaced unless injured or  ejected; and his or her replacement may be from any of the eligible players listed on the official NCAA game roster for that game. Injuries leading to replacement of the designated goalkeeper shall be determined by the attending physician and/or an athletic trainer in concert with the governing sports authority. (See Page 7.) However, the injured goalkeeper is eligible to return if physically able.

Please note that the goalkeeper’s injury MUST be determined by the trainer as required in Rule The goalkeeper cannot simply say “I’m hurt.” Once replaced, the goalkeeper cannot simply return as the designated goalkeeper. The currently designated goalkeeper (the player who replaced the injured goalkeeper) must be injured or ejected for the original goalkeeper to return.

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