Is there a mercy rule in soccer?

3343

Member
In Ohio, a 6 goal lead in the second half starts a running clock.
This is correct, but unlike football and basketball where the clock stops a lot during normal game play. In soccer the clock does not stop as often so this really does not save much game time.
 

soccerdad72

Well-known member
This is correct, but unlike football and basketball where the clock stops a lot during normal game play. In soccer the clock does not stop as often so this really does not save much game time.

True, the clock really only stops for goals, injuries and yellow/red cards. Obviously, in a blowout, it's the stoppage for goals that makes the biggest difference.

I have friends in other states that say they have a regular mercy rule. In Michigan, for example, I believe it's 8 goals at which the game is over (halftime or later).
 

belied dat

Active member
Kentucky has a mercy rule at 10 goals at halftime or anytime in the second half. Indiana may be 8 goals in a relatively similar timing setup.
 

soccerboy08

Active member
I'm not sure if I heard this or I'm just thinking this randomly, but is there a state where if the differential hits a certain number at half time or in the second half where the clock is stopped, cut in half, and then ran? I have an issue with simply stopping the game completely, especially at half time.
 

soccerdad72

Well-known member
Ironic that after reading this thread, I stumbled upon an article published last night. Before I throw in my two cents, what is everyone else's thoughts?


Completely unnecessary and somewhat unavoidable.

I saw over the weekend that Benedictine won a game 16-1 and their star forward had 8 goals by halftime (which might help explain how he scored over 100 in his career). There's just no need to do that, IMO.
 

belied dat

Active member
Ironic that after reading this thread, I stumbled upon an article published last night. Before I throw in my two cents, what is everyone else's thoughts?

I know I'll be in the minority, but I have few issues with this. Would I coach it, no. But, I've been on the losing and winning end of majorly lopsided games...I'd rather lose by this than be mercy-ruled OR play a 9-0 game with the second half be just "possession" for one team. I watched a Dayton-area game go to 12 (or 13) to 0, then possession where the losing team didn't even defend. Just stood there.

I do support playing a game out. I also support playing soccer.

In this circumstance in Michigan, both schools are small -- roughly 420-450 students total, each school. It's in the northern part of Michigan (nearer Traverse City). It's not really a soccer haven by any means. One team wins. One team loses. It happens. Move on.
 

soccerdad72

Well-known member
I know I'll be in the minority, but I have few issues with this. Would I coach it, no. But, I've been on the losing and winning end of majorly lopsided games...I'd rather lose by this than be mercy-ruled OR play a 9-0 game with the second half be just "possession" for one team. I watched a Dayton-area game go to 12 (or 13) to 0, then possession where the losing team didn't even defend. Just stood there.

Obviously, if one team is going to completely stop playing, it's hard to deal with, but in general, there are ways to mitigate a lopsided win. First and foremost, you don't leave a player in after he's scored 7, 8, 9, etc. goals. You certainly don't let him get to 16 - what kind of a meaningless record is that, anyways? Granted, if they're small schools, they might not have a lot of subs, but I have to assume they at least have a few, or could roster some younger players who don't normally play a lot for that game.

My son's team is not very good, but they've even had a blowout win or two. The bench gets a lot of playing time that day. And my son's coach even subtlety went down a man in the second half (not helped by my wife sitting next to me yelling, "Coach, you only have 10 men out there!" :rolleyes::ROFLMAO:

None of this is the end of the world - teams get killed, they all get over it. It's just a simple sportsmanship lesson.

ETA: I do think it's ridiculous that the losing team's school board was having a vote to decide whether they should "send a letter" to the winning school.
 

belied dat

Active member
As I mentioned, I wouldn't do it. I know there are ways to deal with it. No one has ever talked about the winning team's situation either. Does one player need to score 16, no. But, how many players do they have? Are they thin on the bench? Does it really matter? Nope.

The losing team's superintendent is quoted as saying, "we only have so many kids." Yes, and the winning team's school has even fewer!

My kids lost big this weekend, and the other team played a player down. That's pretty humiliating too. How sporting is that? "You aren't good enough for a fair game, so we will play down and still beat the pants off you."

In the end, for me at least, there's no right or wrong. Would I want someone scoring 16 goals for my team in a 17-0 win? No. I also know a school that won 17-0 and got contacts to the AD. They played everyone they could. Many player scored. People will always complain when it comes to higher-scoring soccer games.

Scores of a Cincinnati-area school for football: 63-13, 41-0, 91-12, 62-7...it's not national news. No school board meetings. Probably pretty quiet in the HS sports forums too.
 

soccerdad136

New member
No excuse for anything over 10-0. There are many, many things you can do. First of all, when you are playing a team that is far inferior to you, you know that in advance. Bring up J.V. players is the first step. Secondly, start kids that have not started before. Then, when it gets to 5-0, place restrictions on the play like you can only score with your left, with your head, or after everyone touches the ball. Make the restriction that the player who has not scored all season is the only one who can score or can shoot. Put him up front. The other team does not need to know that you are doing this. There are many other options so I just do not buy this "What can we do?" argument. You do not need to play a man down, often, that will not make any difference.

In many of these blowouts, if you look at the stats, the leading scorer on the team has 3, 4, 5 goals. No excuse for that. That shows that you are using the game to pad the stats. Those players should be rested or played in the back.

Bellbrook beat Franklin 15-0 earlier in the season after beating them 11-0 the first time. No class by the coach. They knew going in this was going to be a blowout, yet kept piling it on and the leading scorer was their stud who had 4 goals and 2 assists. Why is he still in the game after scoring 2 or 3 goals? In addition, I would worry about the other team getting frustrated and attempting to injure or go in hard on a guy like that, it is really just stupid to leave him in the game.

If you have ever been on the other side of this, you appreciate the coaches with class that stop scoring at 6 or 8 discreetly.
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
If a single player is able to score 16 goals on a team than both teams knew going into this game the huge disparity in talent. As the coach it's on you to try and mitigate the problem as early as possible. That means starting as few regular starters as possible. Moving players to positions they don't normally play, like say putting your keepers out in the field. Those are things that can be done before the first whistle is even blown. The other things people have already mentioned like playing a man down can just be used as a last resort tactic.

My sons team this week played a team that has been having issues all year, including having to drop their JV team mid season. This was going to be an obviously tilted game. The coach started all the seniors, many of which don't start, and moved many of the starters to different positions. They were also instructed they had to build up every possession instead of taking what was the obvious easy route of boot and beat them to the ball. Score was 1-0 at the half. Same players started 2nd half until about 5 minutes in when the scoring explosion finally hit. Six goals in about as many minutes, with 1 normal starter getting a hat trick. Subs came in at 7-0. Kids that hadn't played at all all season. Only normal starter that stayed was the keeper to ensure the other team didn't score, and he was also eventually subbed for as well. 8-0 was the final.

There is ZERO excuse for a team to score 16, let alone a single player. That's entirely on that head coach. I tell the kids I coach to "be better". This also goes for me as a coach and an adult as well.
 

Gr8tS0ccr

Active member
I watched St X vs Elder last night. This was for the GCL title (X had to win or tie). They were up 3-0 in the second half with 20 minutes left and every bench player was subbed in. The game ended 3-1. They won the GCL. Everyone played. I thought it was excellent sportsmanship and focus on the “TEAM”. Every player was able to share in the league win. It was high class and taught some very good lessons about sportsmanship and frankly how to be a good person. Kudos to coach Schaeper for keeping what matters most first, which is building boys into good men.
 

winbypin

Well-known member
I agree....some of these lopsided scores shouldn't happen and some of the coaches aren't doing enough to slow things down. I also believe most of those kids that were on the losing end of those games still went to school the next day and forgot about it as soon as the handshake line ended.
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
I agree....some of these lopsided scores shouldn't happen and some of the coaches aren't doing enough to slow things down. I also believe most of those kids that were on the losing end of those games still went to school the next day and forgot about it as soon as the handshake line ended.
Eh, yes and no. Games that are allowed to get out of hand like that can lead to a lot of pissy attitudes during the game. No one likes to get beat like that, period. And if the coach is allowing it, than that same attitude translates to his players. The unnecessary rubbing it in and acting like they really accomplished something when a kid scores his 10th goal of the game will eventually rub someone the wrong way, and since they can't retaliate with the score they will find another way, usually by hurting someone.

And you really think that loss just disappears out of their heads the next day? I'm sure there is plenty to be said by other students that heard about it and when it's announced during the morning announcements. That animosity could, and many times does, bleed over into the following year/years if and when they play again.

Moral of the story is, there's no need for it.
 

winbypin

Well-known member
Eh, yes and no. Games that are allowed to get out of hand like that can lead to a lot of pissy attitudes during the game. No one likes to get beat like that, period. And if the coach is allowing it, than that same attitude translates to his players. The unnecessary rubbing it in and acting like they really accomplished something when a kid scores his 10th goal of the game will eventually rub someone the wrong way, and since they can't retaliate with the score they will find another way, usually by hurting someone.

And you really think that loss just disappears out of their heads the next day? I'm sure there is plenty to be said by other students that heard about it and when it's announced during the morning announcements. That animosity could, and many times does, bleed over into the following year/years if and when they play again.

Moral of the story is, there's no need for it.
Yes....I am confident that the kids that lose in those situations:

- knew it was coming in advance. Likely has happened several times this season already. They know their team isn't that good.
- moved on with their lives almost immediately. It's the adults that tend to make a bigger deal of it.

I'd agree that a single player shouldn't be scoring 10 goals in a game. I have seen many lopsided scores and thankfully the coach rearranges the lineup so that doesn't happen. But I don't think you should throttle back the JV players and limit their scoring opportunities either. They only get so many chances to score a varsity goal sometimes.

Where I have seen dirty play is when a team that is historically good is having an off year and get beat by several goals by someone they would have beat in the past. I remember one team where a senior that was party of the glory years was the last really good player on the team. It was tournament and they were losing 5-0 I think. He tried to start several fights because it was his last game. It got to the point where his own coach told him to walk off the field and he didn't even sub for him.

I remember losing badly in sports when I was in HS. There was no mockery in the halls or if there was it rolled off our backs. Maybe I was mentally tougher than most kids but I don't think that was the case.
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
Yes....I am confident that the kids that lose in those situations:

- knew it was coming in advance. Likely has happened several times this season already. They know their team isn't that good.
- moved on with their lives almost immediately. It's the adults that tend to make a bigger deal of it.

I'd agree that a single player shouldn't be scoring 10 goals in a game. I have seen many lopsided scores and thankfully the coach rearranges the lineup so that doesn't happen. But I don't think you should throttle back the JV players and limit their scoring opportunities either. They only get so many chances to score a varsity goal sometimes.

Where I have seen dirty play is when a team that is historically good is having an off year and get beat by several goals by someone they would have beat in the past. I remember one team where a senior that was party of the glory years was the last really good player on the team. It was tournament and they were losing 5-0 I think. He tried to start several fights because it was his last game. It got to the point where his own coach told him to walk off the field and he didn't even sub for him.

I remember losing badly in sports when I was in HS. There was no mockery in the halls or if there was it rolled off our backs. Maybe I was mentally tougher than most kids but I don't think that was the case.
There is a way to win and you're taught that, if you have good coaches and mentors, for a reason. I to have played on quite a few miserable teams and got beat down thoroughly. It didn't make me go home and cry in my pillow or complain to anyone, and thats not what I'm saying is happening with these kids either. It sucks, but you move on, and like you said, usually fairly quickly.

What I am saying is that if you make a mockery of the game and your opponent, attitudes about the game change. It can quickly change from "one team is better than the other" to "these people or person thinks they are better than we or me". When that happens it no longer becomes about the game but the individuals. That's when bad things end up happening.

If a player was allowed to score 16 goals I can only imagine how that entire team acted during that game. If there was an added note that a fight broke out I wouldn't have been surprised in the slightest.
 

Salad76

Active member
"WE WERE FIRED UP"


Whenever I hear about mercy rules this game and this interview come to mind.
 

soccerdad72

Well-known member
"WE WERE FIRED UP"


Whenever I hear about mercy rules this game and this interview come to mind.

I remember that one. I'm sure that 10-0 wouldn't have sent the same message. :rolleyes:

On a side note: What's the over-under for goal diff in relation to when cowbells should stop? ;) 6? 8? 1?
 

winbypin

Well-known member
There is a way to win and you're taught that, if you have good coaches and mentors, for a reason. I to have played on quite a few miserable teams and got beat down thoroughly. It didn't make me go home and cry in my pillow or complain to anyone, and thats not what I'm saying is happening with these kids either. It sucks, but you move on, and like you said, usually fairly quickly.

What I am saying is that if you make a mockery of the game and your opponent, attitudes about the game change. It can quickly change from "one team is better than the other" to "these people or person thinks they are better than we or me". When that happens it no longer becomes about the game but the individuals. That's when bad things end up happening.

If a player was allowed to score 16 goals I can only imagine how that entire team acted during that game. If there was an added note that a fight broke out I wouldn't have been surprised in the slightest.
I get it and respect your opinion. As I said, a single player scoring that many isn't a good thing. The team I follow has had some lopsided wins in the past few years. They have been really good so you would expect it. The coach did, in my opinion, the right thing. Subbed liberally. Put offense on defense and vice versa. I remember one game I think the final score was 11-0. Sounds bad but I also remember like 10 different kids scoring and some of them were their only varsity goals that season.
 

Philly_Cat

Well-known member
I remember that one. I'm sure that 10-0 wouldn't have sent the same message. :rolleyes:

On a side note: What's the over-under for goal diff in relation to when cowbells should stop? ;) 6? 8? 1?
If I'm going to put actual thoight into this question I'm gonna say 2nd half. Halftime gave everyone a chance to digest what just happened. Now let's just sit and chill and hope this is over as quickly as possible. Cheering should continue though, because more than likely all the goals the rest of the way are by kids that have never scored. Celebrate that with them.
 

belied dat

Active member
No excuse for anything over 10-0. There are many, many things you can do. First of all, when you are playing a team that is far inferior to you, you know that in advance. Bring up J.V. players is the first step. Secondly, start kids that have not started before.
I really don't need to say anything else regarding this topic, so I'll finish it here on my part...I hope.

We do not know the situations with these teams. My HS team beat a team 14-0 when I was playing, we knew they were bad. We had 15-16 players total on the team. They had more. What JV team should we have started? What players can play that don't normally play anyway? That same season we lost multiple games 10+, and we lived to be just fine.

There are so many situations that take place, one can still win by 10+ and be classy. As I said before, and I'll say it again, it's much more classy (in my opinion) to play a game instead of possession the whole time or playing 1+ players down.

Parents make this a bigger deal than it actually is.
 

green_genes

Active member
1.) It sounds like Benzie went into the game with the intention of getting the kid the scoring record. He's apparently a high-level player who's involved with the U.S. Developmental program. At the same time, they had 3 kids show up for the preseason meeting and he literally had to recruit enough players for them to field a team. They had one sub - so no real chance to put the JV team in. If you play at that level, I'm not sure what scoring 16 goals in a half against a winless team would have any meaning. The same team/kid have been shut out by other teams in their league, so it isn't like they are Mason or Ottawa Hills.

2.) Kingsley - the "humiliated" opponent - won a girls' basketball game back in February 75-7. They are in the same league. Some of the parents want Kingsley to refuse to play Benzie in any sport, which seems utterly ridiculous.

3.) Kingsley's football team is 7-0 and one of the better small school programs in Northern Michigan year in and year out. They do not allow kids to play multiple sports in the same season, so some of their struggles in soccer are self-inflicted.

Given the circumstances, I'm not sure how experienced the Benzie coach is and how well-versed he might be in soccer etiquette. I've been on both ends of games like this in multiple sports and, to be honest, if the opposing coach was celebrating like a douche after every goal (not saying this is what happened, but it sounds like he wasn't trying to keep the score down or get the game over with) I'd be pretty pissed. I wouldn't be going to the school board or Superintendent about it, though.
 
I see everyone’s point here and I’ve coached on both sides of a lopsided game. As a coach, I would never allow my players to score more than 9 in a game - no need for it. After six I always said it had to be off headers or volleys until 9. Possessing the ball the rest of the way has value and as someone whose been on the side that’s gotten beaten bad, it never upset me if a team played possession the rest of the way. Players still have a chance to win the ball and try to score even if down a bunch. This is one of those things that’s bigger than soccer to me. You coach your guys to respect the game and your opponents and represent your school well. Scoring over 10 is never necessary and never makes you look good in my opinion.
 

ELKSONE

GO ELKS!
From OHSAA Records Book - Total Goals scored in a Game

Can only assume these were lopsided games.

I remember Centerville had some crazy scores against teams. Although not listed here, my yearbooks confirm 1982, 21-0 over Springfield North and again 1984, 22-0.

28 - Wheelersburg vs. West Union (1999)
25 - Youngstown Boardman vs. Canton McKinley (10/16/2019)
25 - Columbus St. Charles vs. Columbus Bishop Ready (10/02/1984)
24 - Duncan Falls Philo vs. Federal Hocking (9/17/2005)
24 - Mansfield Christian vs. Toledo Macomber (10/21/1985)
23 - New Carlisle Tecumseh vs. Urbana (09/08/2001)
23 - Ashland vs. Tiffin Columbian (1996)
22 - Vermillion vs. Sheffield Brookside (09/09/2004)
22 - Mentor vs. Garfield Heights (1983)
22 - Findlay vs. Toledo Rogers (1979)
20 - Dresden Tri-Valley vs. Zanesville Maysville (09/14/2004)
20 - Bluffton vs. Convoy Crestview (09/09/1999)
20 - North Olmsted vs. North Ridgeville (10/29/1981)
19 - Kettering Archbishop Alter vs. Trotwood-Madison (10/20/2001)
19 - Pleasant Hill Newton vs. New Madison Tri-Village (1983)
19 - North Olmsted vs. Fairview Park Fairview (10/16/1982)
18 - Campbell Memorial vs. Newton Falls (9/6/2018)
18 - New Albany vs. Amanda-Clearcreek (10/01/2002)
18 - Columbus Hamilton Township vs. Columbus West (09/21/2002)
18 - New Carlisle Tecumseh vs. Lewistown Indian Lake (09/11/2002)
18 - Kettering Archbishop Alter vs. Pleasant Hill Newton (10/24/1998)
18 - Columbus South vs. Columbus Marion Franklin (09/16/1997)
18 - Berlin Hiland vs. Wooster Triway (09/05/1991)
18 - North Olmsted vs. Cathedral Latin (11/01/1977)
 

LELL

Well-known member
From OHSAA Records Book - Total Goals scored in a Game

Can only assume these were lopsided games.

I remember Centerville had some crazy scores against teams. Although not listed here, my yearbooks confirm 1982, 21-0 over Springfield North and again 1984, 22-0.

28 - Wheelersburg vs. West Union (1999)
25 - Youngstown Boardman vs. Canton McKinley (10/16/2019)
25 - Columbus St. Charles vs. Columbus Bishop Ready (10/02/1984)
24 - Duncan Falls Philo vs. Federal Hocking (9/17/2005)
24 - Mansfield Christian vs. Toledo Macomber (10/21/1985)
23 - New Carlisle Tecumseh vs. Urbana (09/08/2001)
23 - Ashland vs. Tiffin Columbian (1996)
22 - Vermillion vs. Sheffield Brookside (09/09/2004)
22 - Mentor vs. Garfield Heights (1983)
22 - Findlay vs. Toledo Rogers (1979)
20 - Dresden Tri-Valley vs. Zanesville Maysville (09/14/2004)
20 - Bluffton vs. Convoy Crestview (09/09/1999)
20 - North Olmsted vs. North Ridgeville (10/29/1981)
19 - Kettering Archbishop Alter vs. Trotwood-Madison (10/20/2001)
19 - Pleasant Hill Newton vs. New Madison Tri-Village (1983)
19 - North Olmsted vs. Fairview Park Fairview (10/16/1982)
18 - Campbell Memorial vs. Newton Falls (9/6/2018)
18 - New Albany vs. Amanda-Clearcreek (10/01/2002)
18 - Columbus Hamilton Township vs. Columbus West (09/21/2002)
18 - New Carlisle Tecumseh vs. Lewistown Indian Lake (09/11/2002)
18 - Kettering Archbishop Alter vs. Pleasant Hill Newton (10/24/1998)
18 - Columbus South vs. Columbus Marion Franklin (09/16/1997)
18 - Berlin Hiland vs. Wooster Triway (09/05/1991)
18 - North Olmsted vs. Cathedral Latin (11/01/1977)
Send it to the OSHAA so they can update it.
 
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