Saturday, April 5, 2008

On Our Own

This weekend had 2 league games in store for me. I could only do Saturday, so I was assigned to a U-10 and a U-13 match. Fortunately, I was assigned with my newly certified friend that started his referee career doing a U-17 boys game!
My typical schedule for league games is 2 or 3 games in a row, usually starting around noon. Sometimes I'll have to switch facilities for one of the games, but the travel is usually quite short. Today was the most unusual schedule I've had to date. Our first game was at 11 am, and our 2nd game was at 4 pm! Very unusual, and not terribly convenient, but it's better than having no games.
As I've mentioned in the past, I find the short sided games (U-10 and under in our state) to be really refreshing. After having a day full of teenage boys a couple of weeks ago, it's nice to have the little ones. If you really pay attention to them, they can be really entertaining. The thing I find interesting about the younger games is you actually need to pay more attention to the game. Don't go in thinking you can rest and take it easy because the players are 9 years old! You'll quickly find out the younger games is where your knowledge of the laws will get challenged. Look for frequent 2nd touches on free kicks and goal kicks that don't make it out of the penalty area. That stuff happens all the time.
An interesting, and all too frequent, thing occurred before the 2nd game of the day. The game was scheduled in a rather affluent town in my area. As is my habit, I always check the goals before a game, even if there is a game before mine. Surprisingly, one of the goals was not anchored in any way. I say it was surprising because this was not a run-down, poorly maintained facility. This was a well cared-for field in a nice park. I quickly mentioned it to the home coach. His assistant immediately pointed out that the previous game had taken place without a problem. This is the kind of pressure you will experience, but you must never play a game without the goals being adequately anchored! Please, don't be the one to give into the pressure. It's not OK to play a game with the field in this condition. In this case, we improvised. We grabbed a nearby field hockey goal and positioned it on it's back with the heavy end lying on top of the ground-level bar on the soccer goal. Problem solved and the game was played!

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