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Better Solution Than Penalty Kicks

UPDATE II: Williams wins on PKs! Ignore all my PK complaints below . . .

UPDATE: Game is going to penalty kicks after 1-1 tie. Williams dominated play, outshooting their opponent 25-5

Go here for video on mens soccer in the NCAA eliite 8 game starting at 1:00 at York.

Penalty kicks are a stupid way to end a soccer game. Mens soccer coach Mike Russo agrees.

Yet in the end, the result was the same as York’s quest for the school’s first national team championship fell short and the Ephs moved on to the Elite Eight after a 1-1 game was decided by a marathon, 7-6
York College goalkeeper Ryan Hock reaches over the head of teammate Adam Good and Williams College’s Connor Smith (2) to punch away a corner kick during Saturday’s NCAA Division III tournament match at Graham Field. (Daily Record / Sunday News — Jason Plotkin)
penalty kick battle.

It marked the fourth time in five seasons coach Mark Ludwig’s squad had been eliminated from the NCAA tournament in PKs. The game is considered a tie, making the Spartans’ record 17-1-5, but it sure felt like a loss.

“It is what it is. It’s the rule of the game,” Ludwig said.

Despite being on the winning end, Ephs coach Mike Russo isn’t a fan of penalties.

“I’ve been at this a long time and been on both sides. It’s a terrible way to end a game, especially such a great game,” he said. “I feel bad for York. They have a fantastic team. The best team we have played all year.”

I have a simple solution. First, overtimes should include the golden goal rule. If a team scores, the game is over. Second, the first overtime should feature no offsides. This would dramatically open up the field and increase the chance of a goal. Third, in the second overtime, remove two players from each side every five or ten minutes. So, first you would play 9-on-9, then 7-on-7 and, finally 5-on-5. With no offsides and 5 versus 5, you are guaranteed (?) to have a goal eventually.

Is no offsides or 7-on-7 real soccer? No! But it is a much better way to end a soccer game than penalty kicks.

Watching the video of the game (with no sound)? Tell us what is going on in the comments to this post. (If anyone is at the game and wants to Twitter updates, let us know.

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#1 Comment By rory On November 22, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

no. a thousand times no. offsides must stay. having fewer players after playing 90 minutes is also a recipe for injury and ugly play.

#2 Comment By David On November 22, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

Penalty kicks coming up. Than Finan in as goalie for the Ephs.

#3 Comment By David On November 22, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

Looks like Williams will go first. Anybody watching this besides me?

#4 Comment By David On November 22, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

Both teams make first kicks. Our goalie does the whole jumping-around-wave-arms before kick thing.

#5 Comment By David On November 22, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

We are up 3-2 with 32 kicks per team left.

#6 Comment By PTC On November 22, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

Dave.. I am on it… but no joy on picture…

#7 Comment By Ronit On November 22, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

Thanks for the updates, David

#8 Comment By JeffZ On November 22, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

All right Ephs! The Year of Eph Soccer continues! And the Ephs won the toughest sectional, beating two of the top five teams in the country (according to one ranking) to make the final four. The road does not get any easier, with the most likely opponent in the semifinal soccer juggernaut Messiah, which has won a slew of national titles this decade, and knocked off one of the most talented Eph teams ever a few years back (I believe also in PK’s …).

#9 Comment By Arjun On November 22, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

No offside is a stupid idea. Offside exists for the same reason that the 3-second box rule in basketball exists – to prevent strikers prowling right in front of the goal (or having a striker always shadowing the goalkeeper).

Golden goal sounds nice in theory, but never worked in practice, because the cost of conceding is so high that teams dont take the risk, and just defend and never go forward.

You might be on to something with the take-players-off-rule, but I prefer the idea of rolling penalty kicks – single striker vs 1 defender + goalie. Striker starts with the ball at the half line with the ball, ice hockey style. More dynamic. The idea needs working (two strikers vs 1 defender + goalie? one striker vs lone goalie?). But it would certainly be more skill based than the current form of penalty kicks.

#10 Comment By JeffZ On November 22, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

#11 Comment By frank uible On November 22, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

No PKs, no overtime, flip a coin, then accept it and walk off. Every conflict in life does not have a satisfactory or even reasonable resolution.

#12 Comment By JeffZ On November 22, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

Messiah, predictably, wins. They have previously won national titles in men’s soccer in 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, and 2000. In other words, the Ephs will have their hands full in San Antonio in two weeks! In 2006, they had to get past a Williams team featuring Eph all-americans Dana Leary and Patrick Huffer. The game ended in, what else, penalty kicks:


It would be great if the Ephs could secure one more national title for Coach Russo, a true Eph legend (31 years, one national title, four final fours, countless NESCAC players of the year, All-Americans, pro soccer players, and future coaches …).

#13 Comment By Cam Henry On November 22, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

@frank uible: Not to be rude, but that’s a fairly ridiculous suggestion. I have a hard time imagining that occurring if Williams played Amherst at a Homecoming game and at the end of regular time it was tied. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would hate to give the Herst a 50/50 chance at storming our field.

I was at the game in ’06 when Messiah won on PKs – pretty heartbreaking, but still a great game.

#14 Comment By frank uible On November 22, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

Historically a lot of sports have permitted ties as the end result – without the puerile requirement of a winner. A coin flip would merely accomodate the need in playoffs to have one team move forward. At any rate in NESCAC and other sensible places athletics are for the participants, not emotionally immature fans.

#15 Comment By Derek On November 22, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

I cannot imagine any athlete being happy with a coin toss ahead of even an imperfect solution on the field. Winning and losing is certainly a part of competition. I have no idea why it is immature or childish to want to settle these things on the field or why those athletes would be immature or childish for wanting to win or lose.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the offsides rules in soccer, especially the way they are enforced. If a team decides to camp out at the goal, so be it — they’ll pay the price on the other end. Plus you could always enact a camping rule.


#16 Comment By nuts On November 22, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

Closely contested games are just as good for the participants as for the fans. If you need a winner as you do in playoff formats, best that its decided on the field with rules close to the ones used in regulation. And if you need a winner in playoff formats, provide the same mechanism in regular season play so that competitors can gain experience competing under overtime rules.