Saturday, September 29, 2007

Long Weekend

On Saturday, I was assigned 3 games. the first was a league game for U-8 boys. Me and another adult referee were Assistant Referees for a younger guy. The younger guy seemed a little, well, awkward. He was very tentative in the way he approached the game. Even the coaches commented a few times. They speculated that perhaps this was his first match at the center. I started to think the same thing. The guy really didn't call much in the way of fouls. I know how that feels. Sometimes, after thinking back over a game, I find myself wishing I had called a few more things. Anyway, there were indications this might be the guys first game in the center. At half-time, I was making some small-talk with him. I asked how long he'd been a referee. He said "3 years." I was shocked. I really believed this had to be, if not his first, one of his first games. It proves the theory another experienced referee had given me. He said that some referees have years of experience. Some referees do their first year, over and over again. I believe that now.
Other than the U-8 game, we had 2 NJ State Cup games. I was assigned to the center for the 3rd game of the day, and the other adult on the crew that day had the 2nd game. The 2nd game turned out to be a more competitive game than the 3rd, but I'm not complaining. I got to do a state cup game, after all! The great thing about this day of games was I got to work with a guy that I feel is a genuinely good, quality referee. Even when working as my assistant, he was impressive. He made good calls and had proper mechanics. It was refreshing and made me realize how much easier it is to do the center when you have good assistants.
In my state cup game, there was really only one play that was notable. For some reason, the coaches on one of the teams thought it was a good idea to waste a corner kick trying a little trick play. They had one of their girls put the ball down and put a tap on the top of the ball. Then another player went over and kicked the ball out of the corner circle. She followed the ball out of the corner and kicked it again. Tweet! Double touch. The coaches were not happy. The thing is, law 17 says "the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves." Advice to the Referee says the ball cannot be just tapped on the top. I think I got this one right. From my viewpoint, the ball did not move.
On Sunday, I had 4 games. We tend to get the same 4 teams when assigned to this particular club. There are 11, 12 and 13 year old boys as well as a U-9 boys team. I was an Assistant for 3 of the games and assigned to referee the 13 year old boys. I've worked with one of the other referees a couple of times. It seems we do a better job when we've worked with another official a few times. I guess you start to get used to each others style.
One observation I made this weekend is related to the experience of coaches, relative to their teams. It seems to me there is a correlation between the age and experience of a team, and the experience and knowledge of the team's coaches. It is probably obvious if you think about it. During the U-9 game, I had to ask the coaches of both teams to step back from the touch line several times. I can see the players being in the way. They are only 8 year olds, so that doesn't really bother me. I got a little exasperated toward the end of the game when I had to strongly insist that one of the coaches stay away from the line. This guy was actually standing on the touch line for much of the game. At this point, the coach says to me "I wasn't on the line!" The situation brings up quite a dilemma. Do you make a big deal out of it? After all, it's a U-9 game. On the other hand, if I miss a ball in/out or I'm not on my offside line, these same coaches will be sure to let me know about it. I discussed the matter after the game with the other referees. They pointed out it becomes a non-issue if the local club would paint a "spectator line" on the field. Perhaps that is the right answer.

1 comment:

Sean said...

I've found that coaches standing on the touch line is a problem at all ages. What happens is the coach will want to be screaming at his players all game, and he'll get up close to do it.

My response is usually to say, "Coach, I need my touch line." If I need to emphasize it a bit, I'll say, "It'll be bad for you if all of my weight runs into you when I'm chasing a breakaway."

Usually the coach gets the point and steps back. It's usually not intentional, from what I can see, but rather over-coaching from the touch line. Very nice and generous coaches can do it, just because they're so into their team and the game.