Soccer By The Rules – Tiebreaker Procedure

By: Joe Manjone, Chair, National Federation High School Associations Rules Committee

The high school rules book provides a Sample Tie Breaking Procedure that state high school associations may adopt. From the number of questions concerning this rule, it is obvious that most states have adopted this procedure, but some have modified the number and length of the overtime periods.

The NFHS rules book recommends two 10- minute overtime periods followed by two five-minute sudden victory periods should the game remain tied after the second 10- minute period. Should the game still be tied after the second five minute sudden victory period, kicks from the penalty mark are to be utilized to determine the winner. Some states use just one set of periods before progressing to kicks from penalty mark. For example, Alabama requires two five-minute sudden victory periods prior to utilizing kicks from the penalty mark to break the tie.

Most of the questions asked about the Tie Breaking Procedure are about kicks from the penalty mark most states seem to have adopted.

Points to remember when utilizing kicks from the penalty kick mark to break a tie include:

1. Any player on the roster who has not been disqualified may be used as a kicker. A kicker is not required to have played during any of the regulation or overtime periods.

2. The coach does not have to designate the order of the kickers just the five kickers who will take the kick. The goalkeeper can be one of the five kickers. The referee or assistant referee should record the names and numbers of the kickers and the number of goals.

3. Team members not participating, coaches and other bench personnel should remain in the team area. Kickers should return to the team area after completing their kick.

4. A coin toss determines which team will kick first. The winner of the coin toss can elect to kick first or second.

5. Teams alternate kickers. Following five kicks for each team, the team scoring the most goals is the winner.

6. If each team scores the same number of goals, each team will select five different kickers to participate in kicks from the penalty mark. Teams will kick in the same order as in the first set so no coin toss is conducted for this second set or any ensuing set of kicks. This second set is conducted in a sudden victory format – if one team scores and the other does not, the game is over.

7. If the score remains tied after the second set of kicks, each team will select any five kickers to participate in the third set of kicks. These kickers may have already participated in either the first or second set of kicks. This third set and any additional sets are to be played in a sudden death format.

8. If a tie remains and a fourth set is needed, five players who have not participate in the third set must be selected.

9. The team scoring the most goals from the penalty mark is to be declared the winner and one goal is to be added to the number of goals scored by the team in all regulation and overtime periods.

Other details of the tie breaking procedures can be found on pages 85 and 86 of the NFHS Soccer Rules.

If you have a question concerning Tie Breaking Procedures, please email Joe Manjone.