While not often shown on television broadcasts or given much fanfare in the stadium, the coin toss is how professional soccer matches begin. In this tutorial we will learn more about the coin toss and the start of a soccer match.
At the start of every soccer game a coin flip takes place. Per FIFA rules, each team's designated captains meet with the head official, with one captain choosing heads or tails. The winning captain selects which goal their team will play towards for the half. The losing captain's team gets the opening kickoff. The winning team gets the kickoff for the beginning of the second half. Team switch sides of the pitch after the first half.
If the score is tied at the end of the game, extra periods of play will determine the winner called extra time. If teams are still tied at the end of extra time, penalty kicks are often the preferred way to decide the winning team. At the start of each extra time period, a kickoff is used to put the ball into play.
All kickoffs take place at the center mark in the center circle and happen at the start of each half and after goals are scored. At the start of a game, one player starts with the ball and must pass it to a teammate who is on the same half of the field. All other players must be outside of the center circle.