Does Soccer Have Timeouts? (Explained!)

Most ball sports in the U.S. have timeouts. But does this also apply to soccer? Does soccer have timeouts? Our guide has all the answers.

Unlike other ball sports in America, soccer doesn’t have timeouts. The reason why soccer doesn’t have timeouts is that it hasn’t been set up using that format. Also, the rules of soccer don’t permit timeouts. However, there may be stoppages when there’s an injury or during halftime.  

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Does Soccer Have Timeouts?


Time-outs are halts or brief stoppages in play, designed to allow the coach to communicate with their teams. Teams can also use timeouts to set up and reorganize. Also, these time-outs may be used as commercial breaks. They are approximately 30 seconds to several minutes long, depending on the sport.

And if you follow and watch most American sports, you may have probably noticed that several disciplines have time-outs. They include football, basketball, baseball, floorball, beach volleyball, team handball, water polo and volleyball, just to name a few.

So, is this also the case with soccer? Does soccer have timeouts? We’ve spent countless hours on this topic and we have the answers. So, if you’ve been wondering whether soccer has time-outs, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will be a guide on soccer and time-outs.

Does Soccer Have Timeouts?

Unlike other sports, soccer doesn’t have time-outs, regardless of whether it’s an amateur soccer game or a professional one. Soccer games are played on a running clock. And, this means there won’t be any break in play during the game, apart from halftime.

But, as much as soccer doesn’t have time-outs, there are particular instances during the game when the referee can halt the game. A referee can halt the game at any time if there’s an injury and during substitution of another player. 

The referee will then add the time for these stoppages at the end of every half. Most of the times, the referee will be more concerned about the well-being of the player than meeting the set time. For instance, an injury on a player warrants attention from the team’s doctor.

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For instance, if a player is injured and the referee has to pause or halt the game for five minutes for the medics to remove the injured player from the pitch, then the referee will add five minutes to the end of the affected half to compensate for the lost time.

Simply put, soccer doesn’t have time-outs. As much as there may be stoppages during the game, the clock doesn’t stop, meaning the stoppages are not identical to the time-outs given in other sports or disciplines like football, baseball, or basketball.

Why Soccer Doesn’t Have Timeouts

As discussed above, soccer doesn’t have time-outs. So, why doesn’t soccer have timeouts like other sports? Well, the reason why soccer doesn’t have timeouts is simply that it’s not set up that way. Also, the laws of soccer don’t allow timeouts.

Since soccer was invented more than 150 years ago, there have never been time-outs. Usually, a game of soccer runs for two halves, which run for 45 minutes each. The only time there’s a stoppage in play is during an injury or at the end of the first half. If the game is paused due to an injury, the time lost will be added to the end of the half. 

Pros and Cons of Soccer Not Having Timeouts

The lack of timeouts in soccer has its pros and cons. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of the positives and drawbacks of not having timeouts in soccer games.

Pros of Not Having Timeouts in Soccer

Fewer Stoppages

One of the main positives to not having timeouts in soccer is that it minimizes interruptions in play and keeps the game moving. As much as timeouts only last a couple of seconds, they will still affect the momentum of the game.

For instance, if a particular team is behind or wants to win, it will apply continuous pressure on the opponent. And, such continuous application of pressure usually leads to a goal. But with frequent time-outs, such stoppages will break this momentum and interrupt the flow, making it hard for such a team to score and win.

The Game is More Enjoyable

Not having time-outs in soccer also makes the game enjoyable. For instance, a game of football runs for approximately three hours. Out of these three hours, there will only be 11 minutes of actual playtime. The remainder of the time is spent on timeouts and commercial breaks.

But at the end of the day, people buy match tickets to watch the athletes play and not be subjected to hundreds of ads in the middle of the game. And, this explains why most people find soccer more enjoyable, compared to the other sports out there.

Cons of Not Having Timeouts in Soccer

Minimal Opportunities for the Coach and Player to Communicate

One of the main negatives to not having timeouts in soccer is the lack of opportunities for the coach and player to communicate with all players. For instance, a coach may notice a particular witness in the opponent team, and they may want to pass on that information to their players.

However, they can only pass on that information to the entire group during the half-time break. And by then, the opportunity to exploit that weakness in the opponent team may have been lost.

At the same time, the players may also observe a weakness in the opposition team, and they may want to pass on that information to the coach so that the coach can make some tactical adjustments. But since there aren’t any timeouts in soccer, there won’t be any opportunity to pass on that information.

Key Takeaways

  • Most sports in America have timeouts
  • Timeouts are designed to allow the coach to communicate with the players
  • Timeouts will stop the clock from ticking
  • Soccer doesn’t have timeouts

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