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Soccer Game Clock Rules

The soccer game clock is one of the most important parts of a soccer match. Always kept by the head official, the game clock keeps track of the time elapsed and time remaining in a match.

Let's learn about the game clock and how it impacts the game.


Table of Contents


What is the Game Clock in Soccer?

soccer game clock

Soccer games have a clock constantly ticking called the game clock. The game clock is the official designation of the time in a soccer match, always kept by the head official and often displayed in the stadium or televised. In a standard international soccer match, the game clock will start at zero and tick up, stopping at halftime once 45 minutes are on the clock and resuming at the start of the second half. Remember, In most soccer matches, the clock does not stop running, except at halftime.


Why Does The Game Clock Count Up?

The game clock counts up instead of down because it allows soccer to be played with a single referee. Soccer is a universal game, designed with minimal equipment and staff in mind. FIFA wants it to be a global game for all ages, for the rich and poor, and in developed nations and developing countries. That is why soccer is one of the world's most popular sports. There doesn't need to be a specific referee responsible for all timekeeping. Instead, a single referee can keep track of time while making calls on the field. It is easier for a referee to keep track of the time in a game if it counts up without pausing it every time an event happens. At the end of each half, the referee can determine stoppage time at their discretion.


What are the Game Clock Rules in College Soccer?

For soccer matches sanctioned under the NCAA governing body, the game clock ticks from 45 minutes down towards zero showing the time remaining in each half. In NCAA matches in the United States, the head official is allowed to stop the game clock when a player is injured to a point that a coach or medical staff member must attend to them. Play is resumed and the game clock starts ticking again when the injured player is attended to at the discretion of the head official.



Are there timeouts in soccer?

Unlike other sports, there are no timeouts in professional soccer that give teams a chance to stop the game clock.

What is extra time in soccer?

Higher levels of soccer will have time added to the end of both halves of a soccer game. This is called extra time. Extra time is counted by the refereeing team and is intended to make up for any pauses in the game prior. Injuries, substitutions, and goals will all add to the extra time given at the end of each half.


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