Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

College Soccer Overtime: What You Need to Know

how does soccer overtime work

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. However, there are a few differences to note, especially with a recent rule change in 2022 that affects when overtime is played at the college level. Let’s dive into the details.

No Overtime in the Regular Season

The rule: The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel made a significant change to 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 would enter two 10-minute periods of sudden-death overtime, known colloquially as “golden goal” rules, and only end in a tie if the score remained even after 110 minutes.

What it means: This rule change has a twofold impact. Firstly, it reduces the total minutes of soccer a team can play over the course of the season. Secondly, it evens out each team’s schedule, ensuring that everyone has played the same amount of minutes. This change also prevents any team from accumulating significantly more fatigue than their opponents due to extended playing time.

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No More Golden Goal in the Postseason

The rule: As of 2022, if a postseason game, whether in a conference or the NCAA tournament, is tied after 90 minutes, overtime will no longer end when one team scores a goal. Instead, the game must continue until both 10-minute periods have been completed. If the score remains even after both overtime periods, a penalty kick shootout will determine the winner.

What it means: Although golden goal rules tend to produce exciting finishes in knockout soccer, they often lead to cautious play. Teams are typically reluctant to commit too many players forward, as they fear conceding a tournament- or season-ending counterattack goal. The rule change aims to improve the quality of play by giving teams an opportunity to get back into the game, even after conceding in overtime.


  • Q: Has the rule change affected all levels of college soccer?
    A: Yes, the rule change applies to both men’s and women’s college soccer across all divisions.

  • Q: Does the rule change impact regular season standings?
    A: No, regular season matches that end in a tie will be recorded as such, without affecting team standings.

  • Q: Are there any differences in overtime rules between college and professional soccer?
    A: The overtime rules in college soccer closely mirror those of professional soccer, with the exception of the recent rule changes mentioned above.


College soccer overtime has evolved with a recent rule change to enhance fairness and encourage competitive play. The elimination of golden goal rules in the postseason and the restriction of overtime to regular season matches only when necessary provide a more balanced approach to deciding games. These changes contribute to the growth and excitement of college soccer, ensuring that every team has a fair chance to compete.

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