Should regular season soccer have overtime?
Tony Benvenuto is a traditionalist when it comes to his views on soccer. Growing up in his native country of Italy, Benvenuto was used to the concept that regular season soccer games could end in a draw. The only exception: when there is a championship to be won, necessitating an overtime period and/or a penalty kick shootout to determine a winner.
The former head coach of Matanzas’ girls soccer team is happy with that system for high school soccer, as well.
Under current Florida High School Athletic Association policy, high school soccer games during the regular season conclude at the end of regulation. There are no overtime periods or PKs.
So far this season, Flagler Palm Coast’s boys team has tied twice, the Bulldogs’ girls team has tied twice and Matanzas’ boys team has tied three times. The Pirates’ girls team, now coached by Pawel Slusarz, is the only soccer team in the county to have not tied a game.
I asked several of the area’s soccer coaches to weigh in.
Matanzas boys coach Rich Weber and FPC boys coach Troy Stone were both in favor of the current rules. Both cited the possibility of significantly extending game times.
Weber, who has actually tracked players during games, found that some players can run more than 7 miles with over 30 minutes of sprinting in one match. The extended game times could lead to fatigue, overuse and, possibly, injury.
However, Bulldogs’ girls coach Pete Hald was not in favor of allowing ties during the regular season. Instead, he preferred two 10-minute sudden death periods followed by PKs in order to determine a winner.
I’ve covered several soccer games this season. Two ended in draws.
To me, a game ending in a tie is an odd concept. Two teams duke it out for 80 minutes only to walk away, with neither as loser nor victor? It’s anticlimactic.
The FHSAA should explore a format that would result in declaring a winner each game, while also not significantly increasing game time.
What’s your take? Email [email protected].