It takes 50 penalty kicks and two days to end soccer game


It’s the high school soccer game that produced so much drama and excitement that it couldn’t all be contained in one day.

On Tuesday in La Jolla, San Diego Crawford and Bishop’s of La Jolla played a boys’ playoff game that was tied, 3-3, after regulation.

That’s when the real fun started: 21 rounds of penalty kicks -- and still no winner. Each side had scored 18 times and failed three.


Finally, the game was halted because of darkness. Officials feared a goalkeeper might be injured because he couldn’t see the ball.

“It was unbelievable,” Bishop’s Coach Malcolm Tovey said.

The game resumed Wednesday with more penalty kicks. Finally, on the 49th overall, Matt Harris delivered the game winner for Bishop’s, and Crawford missed a final attempt.

“All of us were so nervous after every [penalty] kick,” Harris said. “Any kick could have been the end. All of us were holding our breath.”

The coaches had wanted to play an entire game Wednesday, but Tovey said the CIF San Diego Section decided the penalty kicks would continue until a winner had been determined.

“It was definitely something I’ve never heard of or experienced before,” Harris said.

Tovey said the pressure on players from both teams made the game especially memorable.

“It was a surreal experience,” he said. “We had chances to win, they had chances to win.”