Friday, November 21, 2008

Back to the Game

Tournament Time
Now that I got that marathon business out of my system, I'm getting back to doing games before the season is over. I had quite a few games this weekend. On Saturday, I worked a day of a girls showcase tournament. The tournament is a pretty big one that I worked last year. It's scheduled over 3 locations for 2 days. The tournament is positioned as a "college showcase," and I have observed quite a few coaches wandering around with clipboards. For the most part, the play is high-level and the referees are top-shelf.
I was looking forward to this tournament because I hadn't worked one in a while. The summary is this: The weather was brutal and I only got 4 games out of an 8 hour day.
This tournament started out like the last one I worked for this assignor. I was told to be at the morning referee meeting at 7:30am. I was there, only to find out my first game was scheduled for 9:15. As you can imagine, that's annoying. It's even more annoying when it is 25° out and the wind is blowing between 15 and 20 mph! I report to the field for the 9:15 game and work as an assistant. I'm 3rd in the rotation, so I have the next game off. I return for my game as the center. I get both teams checked in...only to find out that the assignor has, for some reason, replaced me as the center with another referee that just showed up at the field. I'm working as an assistant again. What's worse is the new addition has disturbed the normal rotation. Now I'll be doing my first center after coming off a game as an assistant. Great! I'm as flexible as the next guy, maybe more so, but I find this type of disorganization really annoying.
During the game as assistant, there is a ball that is bouncing toward the corner flag opposite my position. I watch it very carefully and I clearly see it hit the flag and go left, for a throw-in. The center signals for a corner. When she glances over at me, I give her the throw-in motion trying to tell her she's making a mistake. She holds her hand up in a "I've made my decision" motion. Normally, I don't bother getting the center's attention on something like this, but I was absolutely positive it was a throw in. The corner nearly resulted in a goal. It's just my opinion, but if you have an assistant that is trying to tell you something, you at least go over and do a quick "sanity check."
I finally got in the center for my next game. First, I'll point out that I actually did the game in shorts. Did I mention it was windy and 25° out? Seriously, it was brutal out there. The wind was so strong it made the games a bit strange. The teams had a very tough time getting the ball out of the down-wind end of the field. Unfortunately for the teams, the games were almost ridiculous.
At one point, one of the teams played the ball to a forward and she broke free of the defense. She was off to the races! I followed about 15 yards behind her as she entered the penalty area. She got about 5 yards in where the goalkeeper met her. She actually managed to get around the goalkeeper, but the goalkeeper grabbed her ankle on the way by, pulling her down. This was a pretty easy call. Loud whistle, point at the spot, the goalkeeper protests, etc. She was actually quite lucky. The attacker had not been heading directly to the goal, otherwise I would have sent her off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. All the other checks were met, only direction to the goal was not established. If you are interested, US Soccer offers a position paper on obvious goal scoring opportunities.
My fourth, and last, game of the day was also a center. This one was pretty uneventful, although all of the players were obviously ridiculously cold. That's probably why the games were kind of tame. I'm not convinced the players wanted to be there.
Interesting Game Statistics
I own a nifty GPS watch that I use for running and cycling. In addition to keeping track of all kinds of data like speed, elevation and heart rate, it also keeps track of where I've been. I've always wondering how much ground a soccer referee covers in a game, so I wore the watch during the tournament.
First, let me point out these were shortened (30 minute half) tournament games. Also, as I mentioned above, they really weren't typical games. The wind was blowing very hard toward the end of the field at the bottom of the picture. The ball stayed in that end much of the time. If you look carefully, you can see my path is concentrated in that end of the field.
The watch returned some interesting information. In these games, I covered about 1.5 miles per half. that seemed a little low to me, but as I mentioned above, the games weren't typical. I also wore the watch as an assistant. I ran about 1 mile per half as the assistant.
I think it would be interesting to gather a little more data here. What do you think? Do you have interest in some numbers for various age games?


Kevin Walter said...

Regarding your potential DOGSO situation, it sounds as though the goalkeeper did in fact commit a foul that should be punished by a send-off. The criterion of direction can still be met if the "general direction" of the attacker is towards the goal, such as (in your situation) momentarily facing away from the goal to avoid a defender who, in turn, fouls the attacker. The attacker does not need to be facing the goal at the exact moment of the foul.

The Referee said...

Thanks for your comments Kevin. Perhaps you're right. I think I could have called it that way, but it might have been a stretch. It was one of those "you had to see it" situations. I left out some of the details for brevity. In fact, one of my assistants (a grade 7) agreed it probably wasn't a DOGSO, but it was close.

Kevin Walter said...

Agreed. There is still some referee discretion when issuing a send-off for DOGSO, even when the four D's appear to be met.