Penalty kicks produce high pressure, energy in game atmosphere


Brandon Keeling

Max Carnes, senior, defends the goal during practice to prepare for a penalty shoot out.

Max Stoneking, Sports Editor

For the boys soccer team, penalty shootouts may be the most hostile and emotionally draining aspect of the game.

This season, the boys soccer team has found themselves in a penalty shootout in two of their matches. The team lost both shootouts with one loss coming to Olathe Northwest and another to Shawnee Mission Northwest.

Not always a part of a soccer match, penalty shootouts (PK’s) occur if the match is still tied following extra time. PK’s are a high energy, high-pressure shootout between one player and the goalie of the opposing team. Each team picks their five best PK takers. Both teams go for five rounds of kicks with five separate players, alternating turns.

After five rounds, the team that has made the most goals wins the match. Shootouts can end before five rounds are completed, but only if one team has missed enough goals so that they cannot catch up. PK’s can go longer if both teams are tied after the first five rounds. The shootout then goes to sudden death format.

“It [PK’s] is super demanding. It asks a lot for the whole team and a certain player the second they step on that line,” Sebastian Gilt, junior, said.

PK’s are more of a mental battle than a physical battle. The goalie and the player kicking try to get in each other’s heads to interfere with the focus required during PK’s.

“PK’s are fun, not stressful. As a goalie I have nothing to lose. It is physically demanding having to dive one way and hoping the ball goes that way too,” Max Carnes, senior, said.

Defending penalty kicks is complete guesswork by the goalie; he can gauge tendencies in the shooter. During shootouts, Carnes reads the shooter’s body language to help guess which way the ball will be kicked.

When a match comes down to PK’s, one miss or make can change the game. In practice, shooters will take multiple practice shots to work on their accuracy, allowing Carnes to get plenty of reps for defending PK’s as well.

PK’s are a team effort. The team, as well as individual players, need to be able to focus in and get the job done.

“It is just making sure you have the right mind-set when you come in and making sure you can finish,” Gilt said.

This season has been especially difficult for the soccer team when a match comes to PK’s.

“[This season] we went three for eight total on kicks. It is hard to win when you aren’t scoring,” Carnes said.