Published on August 11, 2016


By: John Van de Vaarst = National Clinician

The monthly “NISOA Referee Nuts and Bolts” column is written primarily for the college and high school soccer referee. However, any soccer referee who wishes to improve personal performance may also find that this series is helpful.

All articles address those BASIC techniques, procedures, practice alternatives, and skills that are sometimes forgotten or overlooked while going through the experiences of soccer refereeing. The short discussions and accompanying practical tips stress important advice for competent performance. This month’s article will focus on overtime.

Overtime rules for the intercollegiate game are very specific and are outlined in the NCAA Rules Book under Rule 7.1.1. For interscholastic games overtime procedures are established by each state association as outlined in Rule 7 Section 3 of the NFHS Rules Book.

During a regular season game played under NCAA rules, there must be two sudden-victory overtime periods of 10 minutes each. There is a coin toss prior to the first overtime to determine which team kicks off. If the second overtime is needed the opposite team kicks off. If the score is still tied at the end of the second overtime the game will remain a tie.

Each state association may establish overtime procedures for interscholastic games. The only requirement is that no overtime procedures shall exceed 20 minutes. Some states do not have overtime for high school varsity games during the regular season. The games merely end in a tie. Other states have two 10 minute sudden-victory overtime periods. The first team to score is the winner and if no team scores after the two 10 minute sudden-victory overtimes, the game is a tie. Some states require two full 10 minute overtime periods. In this case if a team scores, the game continues until the expiration of the second overtime. It is critical that officials are very familiar with the overtime procedure for the state association.

If a game is played in a state where there are sudden-victory overtime periods and the head official allows the game to continue after a goal is scored, there can be serious problems for the teams and officials involved. For example, Team A scores and the head official allows the game to continue. During the second overtime a player from Team A is ejected for serious foul play. Since the game should have ended after Team A scored does the ejection count and the player suspended for future games? Can the game be protested? Can the head referee by disciplined for not knowing the overtime procedure?

All of these questions become issues because the proper procedure was not followed. Another situation occurs when the head referee ends the game after an overtime goal is scored and the state association procedure is two complete overtimes. Does the game have to be replayed in its entirety? Does the game stand as a valid game? Does the game get played from the time it was stopped to a proper completion at another time? Any replay of game or completion of a game costs additional monies for the schools involved. Transportation, field preparation, officials fees, etc. all must be paid as a result of an official’s error.

Another important aspect of overtime is knowing what is the substitution procedures. The NCAA Rule Book does not permit any reentry in either overtime period. Coaches may confuse the second overtime period with the second half of regulation. Coaches may argue that a substitute is permitted to reenter. The alternate official, assistant referee on the bench side and the referee must be clear on the rule and make sure no player reenters the overtime periods.

For interscholastic games, the substitution rule remains the same as regulation. Any player may enter and reenter the game in accordance with the procedures established in Rule 3 of the NFHS Rules Book.

Intervals between the end of regulation time and the first overtime and the interval between the first and second overtime are very specific. The head official must be cognoscente of the time and make sure each period is started as soon after the interval as possible. Long delays for extended coaching is not permitted.

In summary, it is critical that an official assigned any game must know the overtime procedures and be sure that they are properly administered. A mistake in overtime can cause serious problems for the teams, school administrators, and the official involved.

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