Sunday, October 28, 2007

Interesting Weekend - More Lessons

Well, I knew things were going too well. I haven't had a problem with a coach in a long time, so I'm due.
Let me describe the scenario. We are in the 2nd half of a U-14 boys game. To give you an idea of the entire picture, I had a very minor dissent issue with one of the red team's coaches. My assistant made a solid offside call on a defender's deflection to an offside red player. This coach had a few things to say about it. I pointed out a defender deflection does not reset offside and the call would stand. He went on about it, but I ignored him.
About mid way through the half, a ball goes out of touch right in front of red's bench. This is on my half of the touch line. My assistant signals a throw in for red, but I overruled him as I was 10 feet from the play and saw the ball touch red on the way out. The same coach as above starts debating me on the call, pointing out the assistant pointed the other way. I responded that I was overruling him and the call would stand. That wasn't enough to satisfy the coach, so I booked him for behaving irresponsibly in the technical area. I showed him the card (yes, we show cards to coaches in NJ) and we played on.
About 7 minutes later, the red goalkeeper made a save. While he was on the ground in possession of the ball, the white team kicked at him, causing me to stop play for dangerous play. While getting off the ground, the goalkeeper taunted the white team about the call. I immediately showed him the yellow card for unsporting behavior.
Now that you have the background, I'll describe what happened. At the end of the game, both coaches confronted me coming off the field. The first coach continued the debate of whether or not I could overrule my assistant. He said I couldn't do that and he also identified himself as a referee. I pointed out that, as the referee, I had final say on all decisions on the field and he didn't have to agree with me. Then the other coach starts in on me about the caution of their goalkeeper. Apparently, he didn't agree that what I heard was taunting. I pointed out that it's my opinion that counts in relation to facts on the field. I also said the conversation was over as we were not going to arrive at any useful conclusions. Here's the part that bothered me. As I walked away, these guys followed me and persisted with their arguments! In thinking about this later, I could not come to any conclusions as to what these guys thought they were going to accomplish. It really doesn't make any sense. Thing about it: One issue boiled down to a ball in or out of play call. The other was misconduct, but only a caution and probably wouldn't amount to much when reported to the league. I've taken to trying to put myself in the coaches shoes to at least understand their motivations when debating calls. This one I don't understand. What do you think of this?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Good Games

I had 2 games today. I was the referee for a U-10 game and an Assistant for a U-14 game. They were both pretty good games and fairly uneventful, although I did make some observations as usual.
In the younger kids game, the emphasis was on teaching. Realize going in that the short-sided game always requires more teaching than usual, but today's game required more than the typical game. In the local league, you basically get 2 chances to get throw-ins correct. The referee is expected to point out the mistake the player made in the first throw-in. For whatever reason, we had an inordinate amount of bad throws. Also, both goalkeepers committed deliberate handling fouls. We warned the first keeper 5 or 6 times about coming out of the penalty area when he was distributing the ball. After these warnings, up went the Assistants flag. I had a short chat with the keeper about what went wrong. Later in the game, the other keeper just walked out of the penalty area with the ball in his hands. He forgot about the line! That is one of the reasons I enjoy the short-sided game. The unexpected is always happening.
The U-14 game was some kind of big rivalry. At least that's what we we're told. The actual game turned out to be kind of lopsided. There wasn't much in the way of notable events for this game. I am trying to figure out why coaches insist on standing in the way of the Assistant Referee. They know we're there. They know we need to move up and down the line. Hey, it's an exciting game. I don't blame them wanting to get a good view of the action. I had one trainer that insisted on standing with the touch line right between his feet. Yes, he had one foot on the field! Oddly enough, it's the same trainer I had a hard time with a few weeks ago. I politely asked him to step back, and this time he did. I guess the nice approach works sometimes!
I did notice today that one of the guys I work with regularly seems to want to find fault in every game. For example, after a coach came over to us, at the end of a game, and said we had done a good job, he commented that one of the coach's players need to be careful about his habitual pushing. This may be true, but call it in the game. This game was over. We didn't have a problem. Why start trouble? I'm going to observe this referee in the Spring season with the older players. I wonder if he has any game control problems?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Refreshing Game

As I mentioned in a previous post, I ended up with only 1 game last weekend through an honest mistake on my assignors part. It wasn't that big of deal, although reserving a large portion of ones day for a single game is problematic.
As is my pratice, I got to the field 30 minutes before the schedule game time. The home team coach arrived around the same time and his players arrived shortly after. Noticeably, the visiting team was absent.
One member of the crew pointed out that he had no interest in being the referee for the game, so the remaining referee and I flipped a coin and I ended up as the assigned center.
The appointed game time arrived without the visiting team. They arrived at the field 15 minutes into their 30 minute grace period. Apparently, they had played one day tournament elsewhere and did their best to get to the field.
It turned out to be a really good game. Both teams were skilled (for U-10) and played very well. The interesting thing about this game was there were very few fouls, and those that I did call were fairly minor. Not only that, but, after the game, it occurred to me that neither coach said a negative word to the referee crew, nor did any of the parents. How refreshing! We did the entire game and only had to concentrate on the play on the field. In fact, the coaches were nothing but polite and friendly. I guess it does happen on occasion. So if you are having some problematic games, try to relax. Your next game could be just like the one I had.

Friday, October 12, 2007


It was bound to happen. I've read, and been told, that assignors will occasionally make a mistake with assignments. It finally happened to me. I had 3 games assigned this weekend. I received a mildly frantic phone call from my assignor. That is unusual just from the fact that we never communicate by phone. Turns out he read the schedule wrong and 2 of the 3 games I have for the weekend are actually on Saturday. Unfortunately, I can't work on Saturday. The good news is I still have one game for Sunday. I don't blame the assignor. Everyone makes mistakes and that is just the way it is.
The lesson in this is that everyone associated with soccer does the best they can. Sometimes mistakes are made and you just have to go with it. It's disappointing to only have 1 game for the weekend, but working with this assignor has been very good for me.