Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boys Soccer: Penalty Kicks Are Necessary Tiebreaker Evil for Players, Coaches

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boys Soccer: Penalty Kicks Are Necessary Tiebreaker Evil for Players, Coaches

Article excerpt

Edwardsville senior forward Alec Mills isn't one for cliffhangers.

When it comes to a hard-fought soccer game in which he's just played, Mills wants to settle the score.

Because of that, he's one who doesn't mind overtime and then, if necessary, penalty kicks to decide a winner.

"I wish all games would finish out because I like knowing who wins and who loses," Mills said. "Having PKs at the end of a game is also good practice for the end of the season. The nerves are there and it can only help in the long run."

Mills and the Tigers get the best of both worlds, competing in Illinois where the Illinois High School Association doesn't mandate penalties at the end of overtime. But the Tigers play in the Southwestern Conference, where a winner must be decided, and face plenty of Missouri squads. Under Missouri State High School Activities Association rules, a winner must be decided unless a showcase-style game is being played.

Other players and coaches say they see both sides of the issue and understand there are good and bad things that come with finishing out a game with penalty kicks after overtime.

De Smet coach Josh Klein, whose team lost its first two games last season in penalties after 100 minutes in scorching heat, said while losses in the tiebreaker can build character, they can also do harm.

"A lot of times, that penalty kick loss in the middle of the season can crush the psyche of your players," Klein said. "We're talking about teenagers here who might have a tough time trying to bounce back from that. I do think that it also can be a big character builder for some. Losing in PKs can make you a stronger player. I see both sides. We're not going to focus too much on it, but we're going to practice our butts off in PKs, that's for sure. Sometimes, I would like to see ties, but that's not what's going to happen in a state playoff run."

De Smet, which finished last season 17-3-4, had its season ended with a penalty-kicks loss to CBC in the district championship game. …

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