What is a Soccer Shootout?

What is a Soccer Shootout

A soccer shootout (penalty shootout) occurs during a game that must have a winner. A penalty shootout will only happen when the regular 90 minutes and extra time expires, and there is still no winner, so the game goes to a best-of-five format to see which team scores the most goals to win. The association football shootout is a battle between a kicker at the penalty spot and a goalkeeper attempting to block the ball from going into the net.


So, why do some games have a shootout while others end in a tie? How do the referees decide where the kicks will occur and what team will kick first? What are some rules of a penalty kick, how does the shootout work, and what happens if there is still a tie after the five rounds?


Here is the complete breakdown of what a soccer shootout is.


Why Do Some Soccer Games Have a Penalty Shootout?

Why Do Some Soccer Games Have a Penalty Shootout

A regular-season association football game does not need to be a winner. For example, an English Premier League, La Liga, NWSL, or MLS regular season match can end in a win, loss, or draw after 90 minutes. Getting a draw in soccer results in one point for each team in the standings, so there is no need to go into extra time or a shootout to determine a winner.


Games that need a penalty shootout include the FIFA World Cup Final, MLS Playoffs, UEFA matches, Concacaf tournaments, and so on. These matches must have a winner, which is when a penalty shootout occurs to conclude a winner. However, a penalty shootout will only happen after 90 minutes of regular time and 30 minutes of extra time are still in a tie for both teams.


How Do Referees Decide Where the Shootout Kicks Will Occur?

How Do Referees Decide Where the Shootout Kicks Will Occur

After extra time expires and there is no winner, the referee performs a coin toss to determine where the shootouts will occur on the pitch. There is a second coin toss to determine which team will kick first. For example, a team might win the coin toss and elect to shoot second instead of first, or they can choose to kick first.


What are Some of the Rules for a Soccer Shootout?

What are Some of the Rules for a Soccer Shootout

Once the coin tosses are all set in determining what team kicks first, it is time for the shootout. The rules of the soccer shootout are that each team takes a turn in sending up one player to kick at the penalty mark on the pitch against the goalie. From there, the referee will whistle that the kick can occur, and the player can only kick the ball from that penalty mark toward the goal. The kicker can’t run forward with the ball to kick it into the goal.


The goalie must have their feet on the goal line at the goal, not touch the goalposts, have to face the kicker, and be outside the penalty area. As the defending goalkeeper makes an effort to block the goal, they must be in parallel to the goal line. That means the goalie can’t run forward to block a kick from the penalty taker during a shootout.


If the penalty taker commits a foul during the soccer shootout, like dribbling with the ball, their shot won’t count as a goal, even if it goes into the net.


How is a Winner Determined During a Shootout?

How is a Winner Determined During a Shootout

Soccer shootouts use a five-round format to determine a winner. The setup works by Team A kicks first, and then Team B kicks after that. The team with the most goal out of five rounds will win the game.


If, for example, Team A has scored in their first three chances and Team B has scored zero, then the game is over because Team A will have more goals no matter what. Teams can then celebrate on the pitch even if all five rounds don’t occur since they won the best-of-five format mathematically.


What Happens if There is Still a Tie After a Shootout?

What Happens if There is Still a Tie After a Shootout

If, after five rounds, there is still a tie, then the shootout turns into a sudden death format and keeps going until there is a winner. For example, if both teams only score three goals out of five, then the format goes into a sudden death mode where it is effectively a best-of-one round. That best-of-one-round means that either Team A or Team B that scores in this sudden death will win.


However, if both teams score or miss in this sudden round, the format continues until there is a winner. This sudden death format can take multiple rounds to find a winner.


Can a Goalie Take Shootout Kicks?

Can a Goalie Take Shootout Kicks

A goalie can participate in a soccer shootout during a match. Most famously, in 2004, Ricardo Alexandre Martins Soares Pereira won the shootout as a goalie for his team. He was able to be the ultimate deciding factor in that match as he was able to play great defense and win the game with his kick.


Do Soccer Shootout Goals Count Towards a Player’s Stat Line?

Goals that a penalty taker makes don’t count in their stat line for goals. The same goes for goalies blocking shots during a shootout. Those saves won’t count for their stat line.


How Are Soccer Penalty Kicks and Shootouts Similar and Different?

How Are Soccer Penalty Kicks and Shootouts Similar and Different

A penalty kick and a penalty shootout are similar in their concept. Both types of kicks are between one kicker and a goalkeeper. The process works with the kicker taking the shot 12 yards away from the goalie. A penalty kick directly results from a player receiving a foul while attempting a goal kick during regular or extra time.


Meanwhile, a shootout occurs after extra time expires with no winner. Unlike a penalty kick with one player, the shootout will result in numerous players participating in the best-of-five format until there is a winner.


Conclusion: What is a Soccer Shootout?

In summary, a five-round soccer shootout only occurs during games that must have a winner. These matches, like the FIFA World Cup Final or MLS Cup, are types of games that need to have a winner at the end. A five-round soccer shootout can only occur after the 90 minutes of regular time plus extra time expires, and there is still a tie.


During a soccer shootout, the first team kicks against their opponent’s goalie, followed by the second team kicking to score a goal. Either team can win the shootout by scoring more goals than their opponent in the best of five rounds. If there is still a tie after five rounds, the soccer shootout moves to a sudden death round where a winner will be whoever scores one more goal than the other team.


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