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  1. soccer
  2. timeouts

Soccer Timeouts

Table of Contents


In professional soccer, the game clock will keep ticking and not stop, which is also known as a running clock. You may be familiar with timeouts in other sports and how teams can temporarily stop the game clock at will. But in soccer, this is not the case.

Are there timeouts in soccer?

Because of the running clock, soccer does NOT have timeouts. The only time that the teams can regroup is in between the two-45 minute halves.

Can the referee stop the game?

However, the referee does have the authority to stop play, even though this is very uncommon. If he does stop play, this can be referred to as a timeout.

soccer game clock

When Can A Referee Stop The Game?

Unlike other sports, soccer does not give teams the ability to call timeouts. However, the referee can signal a stoppage of play for things like an injury that requires excessive attention.

Referees can also stop the clock if there is an issue with either of the goals or a hazard on the field that needs to be addressed.

Even if the referee calls a timeout, the running clock does not stop. Instead, if the timeout takes significantly long, time can be added time to the end of each half, which is called stoppage time. This makes up for the time that was taken up during the referee's timeout.

Benefits of Having No Timeouts

Players have some advantages that come with no timeouts. In fact, there are some advantages to having a running clock without timeouts in soccer, too.

The first is the most obvious, which means the game is (usually) continuous, meaning players can participate in the game with little stoppage- little stoppage means more action.

Other advantages include quick turnovers, which allows the game to be more exciting for players and the crowd.

Disadvantages of Having No Timeouts

Running clocks can easily tire out players. This is why it's important to have many substitutions ready. Running clocks also mean that the players feel like they're on a limited time, or even rushed, to perform certain actions, like throw-ins, corner kicks or punts.

A lack of timeouts can also prevent a coach from regrouping his team effectively. It may be hard to organize plays without periods of time for sideline coaching throughout the game.

College Soccer and Injuries

Remember how we said that the game clock never stops ticking in soccer. Well, there's one exception.

In most professional matches, the game clock will not be stopped for any occurrence that happens on the pitch. However, in the United States, the collegiate matches governed by the NCAA does allow for the game clock to be stopped in the instances mentioned above, like prolonged injury on the field, or even a hazard on the field.


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