Saturday, May 19, 2007

Courage with the Important Call

I didn't get much in the way of assignments this weekend. I had two AR assignments. One is on Saturday while the other is on Sunday. Saturday's game was a real nail-biter. The game ended 0-0, and it was well played. There was lots of physical play, emotion and some dissent that drew a caution from the center. Both of the games I did were U-16 boys. These games were definitely faster than I'm use to and I had to pick it up to keep up with play.
In today's game, with only about 1 minute left. I made what I thought was going to be a controversial call. The ball was played through the defense, about 10 feet inside the touch line. The keeper came out and followed the ball toward the goal line. A striker chased the ball as well. As the ball approached the goal line, the keeper turned away from the ball and put his shoulder into the chest of the striker, rather than shield the ball and have it go out of bounds. I put up my flag immediately, much to the dismay of the keeper's team. The center came over and asked me what I saw. I explained it to him by merely presenting the facts. He confirmed the direct kick without question.
I think it's important to make the tough calls, regardless of the screaming and yelling that might result. You make the calls based on what you see. By the way, the strikers team failed to take advantage of the close-in free kick.
The 2nd game of the weekend, which was also a U-16 boys game, had some controversy in it. During our pre-game inspection, we noticed one of the goals had a net that was not tied down at the bottom along one side. That came back to bite us later. About 30 minutes into the 1st half, the center signaled for a penalty kick. I immediately moved to the prescribed position on the goal line. The center set up the kick, then positioned himself right in front of me on the goal line! The kick was taken. It was a low shot, very close to the post, opposite our positions. The center called for a goal kick, apparently ruling the ball went wide of the net. The shooting team screamed that it was clearly a goal and the ball had merely gone through the hole in the net. The center asked me what I saw. All I could tell him was it did not look like a goal to me, but I was screened from seeing the posts. I could only tell him that I did not see the net move at all. I think this is why following the contents of the "Guidelines and Procedures" manual is so critical. Proper positioning is so important and is specified in the document for a reason.
As I get more games, I've come to notice something important. Many referees make things up as they go. I'm not sure if this results from misinformation, ignorance of changes in the law, or some other reason. I hear more experienced referees say things that I absolutely know to not be true. Be wary of this if you are a new referee. It's very easy to be mislead.

No comments: