Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Resetting offside

Had an interesting call to make in an Open Cup game I did about 10 days ago. It was a highly competitive match where yellow was up 1-0 when the play happened.

Blue is pushing for the equalizer, about 12 minutes before the end of the game. Player heading towards goal, about 10 yards away from the top of the 18, threads a chest high pass to a streaking attacker, ball takes a slight deflection off of the chicken wing arm of a defender and to the attacker who scores. As I am about to validate the tying goal, I see my AR with his flag up for offside.

Tough one here, because you have the offside happening after the deflection, so I had to think, was the deflection really deflection as in "no intention whatsoever" or deflection as in making himself bigger or intentionally played.

The three scenarios here are this:

1. If it is just an innocent deflection, no reset of the offside, so no goal and indirect free kick coming out.
2. If it is a "making yourself bigger" but not intentionally playing the ball, then it is handling but no advantage as offside still would count as it was a deflection in terms of intentionally playing the ball but not for resetting offside. So free kick for the attacking team.
3. Intentionally playing the ball interpretation would mean wave down the AR and say that it is a valid goal as the intentionally played handling would reset the offside, no offside, good goal.

It took me a minute by myself to figure all this out, then I went to the AR and we discussed and decided on #2. What I need to determine from those that know more than I do, is whether #2 is even an option here to select. It was a match critical choice, and I almost wish I was being assessed, because I would have loved an answer to this question on the spot.

Still, when I do get a chance to pose this question to someone who knows more, I will post their reply. Until then, let me know what you think would be the correct interpretation. Thanks!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stats on that Mental Picture

I am going to attach some of the stats that the Garmin device lets me see instead of the running map. It was 90 degrees at kick off and it was certainly a somewhat humid day, so I am sure I burned a lot of calories. But impressive was the amount of info that the Garmin device collects. I am sure others collect similar info, so perhaps it is time to look for one of these now that the cost is down to around $100.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mental Picture

Let me describe the mental picture that I took the other day at one of my games. It was last week and I had the center of a WPSL match in the area. I am running down the field, slightly to the left and behind an attacker trying to close the gap and score a goal that would put her team back into contention. In front of her was two defenders and then in the background, the scoreboard. It read the score and the time was 87:19. At that moment, after running over 5 miles in the center, on a sweltering day in early July, it hit me.

I made it to where I wanted to be. It was the perfect snapshot. High level match, 75-100 people in the stands, a 4th official on the sidelines, announcers, an international walk out before the game and I was the center for all of that. It was a great feeling.

Did I have the perfect game, no. Not at all. I caught a lot of flak from the home team for a handling call when they had the game in hand that lead to a PK and my lead AR said that she wouldn't have called it. There were other little things that I could have done better. But at that moment, at 87:19, it was perfect.

And we were wearing the new powder blue uniforms that I doubt I will wear often, so that was a plus. Anyway, had a lot of fun and thought that it was a great snapshot. Too bad I could only capture the moment visually and not in a more permanent way as it would be great to frame it for posterity.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Great local article in the Washington Post

The Washington Post had a great article regarding the decrease of referees in soccer and other sports and what is causing the issue. The conclusion is that most of it can be attributed to abuse from parents, coaches, etc.

The full article can be found here:


It is something that I had said was one of my reasons for ceasing to referee high school, it was the loss of decorum and the hypocritical aspect of high school that stated that the soccer field (or any other sports' field for that matter) was an extension of the classroom.

Anyway, it was good to see the Post having a say, being accurate and measured in the piece and also it was great to read some names of people that I admire being referenced in the article. Take a look and hopefully in your area things are a bit better.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


The assessor rated it difficult and I thought I had failed. There was so much talk and in the end, I was not aware of all the back and forth that the two teams had for each other.

It started at the end of my partner's assessment which was the first of the two matches. The center for the first assessment match, where I was an AR had a relative benign match until the very end when he had to card the goalkeeper of the team hanging on to a 2-1 lead for holding the ball well beyond the 6 seconds. After that match, the goalkeeper that would turn out to be the main antagonist says that our yellow card was not correct because the goalkeeper was moving. To which I replied, "Try that in my match and see how quickly you get a yellow card." Yeah, it didn't get any better.

I later found out (a couple of days later) that this goalkeeper is always running his mouth and is well known in the league. Another reason to do more games, to be exposed to, and be able to deal with, those complicated players that seem to try and feast on a referee that they don't know.

Anyway, the game went well for a while until the second half when one team tried to make up the difference as they were down 3-1. They scored to get within a goal and from then on, it was a show. The team that was leading started complaining about everything, diving and going in hard. Being an assessment match, I tried to handle things without cards initially. Bad mistake.

The most interesting interaction was at about the 80th minute, the team down 3-2 has one of their big guys go into a challenge for the ball right in front of the assessor on the other side of the benches. I was right there and didn't see much in terms of the challenge. He comes out yelling that the opponent kicked him and tried to throw a punch. The assessor was right in front of it all and yells out, "Cut it out, he did none of that." My guess is that he was trying to help me by giving me info that he had since it happened right in front of him. Since the two players scuffled before I got there, I ended up giving a yellow to both but told the one claiming murder to tone it down as no one saw anything.

In the end, there was more, and I frankly thought I had failed. I felt like it was one of my worst games ever. But the assessor said it was truly a difficult match and while I had not passed with flying colors, I had passed. I thank the assessor for the assist. As I said in the previous post, either I have to learn to like the adult game and not fear it, or I can just go back to being an 8 or 7 and doing the games I like.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Assessment Match stats

I will write about my assessment match from hell tomorrow most probably. I don't have the time or the mental state to write about how much I loathe working some of these leagues, but I did come to the conclusion that I will try and double down on these matches to see if I can eventually remove myself of the hatred I currently have for the adult game. If by the end of 2017 or early 2018, I still despise them as much as I do now, I will just go back to being a 7 or an 8 and do games that I like to do at the older youth level and leave it at that. Why do it if you don't like it? But I am giving myself a chance to get used to doing adult matches that are competitive and that pose a challenge.

Anyway, two takeaways to quickly point out. First is that I passed the assessment, even though I thought it was a failure for sure. Second, I ran 5 miles in between the first and second half. I like the Garmin, it does a good job. Here is a clip from the Garmin Connect website:

Stats for my 1st half run

There are a lot of other stats that are included, like elevation change, or fastest sprints and pace, etc. The way I use it is to set a Run, and use my Garmin as a count up timer. Then I use the other watch to count down. So the Garmin counts up as well as grabbing all the extra info and the other watch counts towards zero. So far it seems to be working. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

That is not one of your choices coach

Another one of those musings that start with "And here I thought I had seen most of everything". I am driving to a game with my daughter and wife. I was heading there right at kick off and knew that we would be short a referee. My wife and daughter were already there. The assignor tells me to be dressed and that she would let the Center know that I was on my way and that I was a parent of one of the players but that since I was the "only option she had" she was going to assign me.

On arrival, I change (into those new shirts I am not too fond of yet) and take the flag about 4 minutes after kick off. My daughter's team is attacking in my direction and in that first half I call my daughter offsides on a close play as well as declaring a no goal on a ball that ran the length of the goal line in a game where my daughter's team eventually would lose 2-1. What I am implying is that if I had wanted to favor my daughter's team, I certainly could have.

Anyway, at halftime, we go to tell the coach that I am a parent of one of the players and the coach goes ballistic. He tells the center that he had a perfectly good AR for him before I showed up and that now he does not want me on the match. I tried to explain that I had already made calls that didn't favor my daughter's team and he immediately cuts me off to say "I don't need to hear anything from you. Go to the sideline and watch the match like the parent you are."

At that point, the center official told him that it didn't quite work like that. He explained that the AR he had originally provided was not in uniform, no longer certified and was also a parent. He went on to explain that I was a State referee and all that it implies and that in the end, he cannot choose not to have me on the match as that is not his call to make.

He explained that his options were to bring his team out for the second half or not. He could not block my being an AR because I was the best option the center had. He could file a protest after the match if he wanted to but that was it.

I was really taken aback by how rude the interaction was at halftime. At the end of the match, the center explained to him that there was a liability issue as well to consider. Should the officiating crew have been sued because of what they did during the match, the AR that was not currently certified would have been part of the lawsuit and would not have been covered by the insurance that USSF offers officials. It was interesting, but in the end it all worked out, however it was testy.

Finally, as I was about to drive away, the other AR comes over and tells me that he was also a parent on our team and he just chose to not disclose that, particularly because he knew that something like what I went through at halftime might occur. To which I responded that he still should have made it known. The reffing dynamic is always interesting that is for sure.