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Alberto Camargo | | August 16, 2023

How college soccer overtime works

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When 90 minutes of action isn't enough to decide a winner in both men's and women's college soccer, the game can move into an overtime period much like the professional game. There are a few differences to note, however, and a 2022 rule change that affects exactly when overtime is played at the college level.

Here's what you need to know:

No OT in the regular season

The rule: The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel changed overtime rules in 2022. Now, regular season matches that are tied at the end of the 90 minutes of regulation will end in a tie. Previously, college soccer games in a stalemate after full time would enter two 10-minute periods of sudden-death overtime, known colloquially as "golden goal" rules, and games would only end in a tie if the score remained even after 110 minutes.

What it means: The rule change cuts down the total minutes of soccer a team can play over the course of the season and also evens out each team's schedule, meaning everyone has played the same amount of minutes and no team will have played significantly more than any opponent (with the fatigue that comes with that).

READ MORE: NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves changes to video review, protests and more

No more golden goal in the postseason

The rule: The days of the golden goal are over. As of 2022, if a postseason game (meaning conference or NCAA tournament) is tied after 90 minutes, overtime will not end when one team scores a goal. Even if a team scores seconds after kickoff in the first OT period, the game must continue until both 10-minute periods have been completed. Should the score remain even after both OTs, a penalty kick shootout will decide the winner.

What it means: While golden goal rules seem to generate exciting finishes in knockout soccer, in theory, the sudden-death rules affect the quality of play in practice. Often, neither team commits numbers forward for fear of leaving itself vulnerable to a tournament- or season-ending counterattack goal. The general idea behind this rule change is to improve the quality of play, giving teams a chance to get back into the game even after conceding in overtime.

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