Southern California Soccer Officials Association
San Diego

Playoff Tie Breaker Rules

It is suggested you PRINT & KEEP A COPY of these instructions with you when you go to your games.

If tied at the end of regulation time, play will continue with one 15-minute sudden-death overtime period. If a tie still exists, the National Federation Rules pertaining to penalty kicks will be followed. All coaches, officials, and team captains shall assemble at the halfway line to review the procedure as outlined below:

  1. The head referee shall choose the goal at which all the penalty kicks shall be taken.
  2. Each coach shall select any five players, including the goalkeeper, on or off the field
  3. (except those who may have been disqualified) to take the penalty kick.
  4. A coin toss shall be held. The team winning the toss shall have the choice of kicking first or second.
  5. Teams will alternate kickers. There is no follow-up on the kick.
  6. The defending team can change goalkeepers prior to each kick
  7. Following five kicks for each team, the team scoring the greatest number of these kicks shall be declared the winner.
  8. Add one goal to the winning team score and credit the victory.
  9. Unless participating in the kicks as a kicker or goalkeeper, team members, coaches & bench personnel shall remain in the team bench area.

If the score remains tied after each team has had five penalty kicks:

  1. Each coach shall select five different players than the first five who already have kicked to take the penalty kicks in a sudden victory situation, wherein if one team scores and the other team does not score, the game is ended without more kicks being taken.
  2. If the score remains tied, continue the sudden death victory penalty kicks with the coach selecting any five players to take the next set of alternating penalty kicks. If a tie still remains, repeat A.

MISCONUCT Procedures:


  1. One of the five players listed to take a kick is cautioned after taking a kick. That player is not eligible to kick again until one complete set of kicks has been completed beyond the set of kicks in which the caution was issued.
    1. Player X is one of the first five kickers and is cautioned after taking their kick. Player X is not eligible to kick again until the set beginning with the 11th kick.
    2. Player Y is one of the second set of five kickers and is cautioned after taking their kick. Player Y is not eligible to kick again until the set of kicks beginning with the 16th kick.
  2. One of the five players listed to take a kick is cautioned before their kick. That player is not eligible to take a kick until the next set of five kicks. Another eligible player not listed in that set of kickers must take the cautioned players original turn.
  3. When a goalkeeper is cautioned during any set of five kicks, he/she cannot re-enter until the next opponent completes their kick. A substitution for the goalkeeper is permitted for the cautioned goalkeeper.


  1. Any player, including the goalkeeper, who is disqualified may not participate any further. If their kick is not already completed, an eligible substitute is permitted.

Note: At no time shall there be coaches or bench players on the field during the taking of the kicks. Each team is limited to no greater than 11 players on the field at any time during the taking of the kicks. If a coach selects a bench player to take a kick, a field player must leave the field.

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