NOTES FROM THE VSOA DIRECTOR OF INSTRUCTION / RULES INTERPRETER 2020-2021
ANDY'S END-OF-SEASON / PLAYOFF MESSAGE – 2019
Dear Referee Colleagues,
Being in the last week of the season, the level of competition is a little more intense (now and into the playoffs). With that, comes a need for a heightened level of awareness on our parts.
Some of you will remember this message from last year, but given the content I believe it is relevant, particularly for this time in the season. I’m also including a link to this year’s rules changes video:
If you get a chance, watch it as a refresher. If you don’t watch the entire video, try to watch the section on advantage and game control (5:27 – 6:27), this clip in the video reinforces the message below.
As we manage contests this time of year, the issue of ‘game flow’ and ‘game control’ becomes a pivotal balance, having an awareness of foul escalation is critical to good game management. With a set of implementation tools, we can evaluate each incident:
Know the player’s skill on the ball and give the talented players more opportunity to show their skills
Quickly calculate the probability of success or risk on each play
Use the “wait and see” principle (advantage)
Consider the “Warning Signs” (below)
If you’re considering the application of ‘advantage’ (flow), then the advantage signal should be used to demonstrate that the game is being allowed to flow (using one arm is now appropriate). Use of the advantage signal sends a visual message to the players/spectators that the referee saw the infraction, thereby mitigating potential negative feedback.
Use the following when considering the application of Advantage: The “4 P Principle”
Possession of ball: control by team or player.
Potential for attack: ability to continue a credible and dangerous attack.
Personnel: skill of attackers, numerical advantage.
Proximity to opponent’s goal: closeness to goal.
As I mentioned above, the counter to ‘game flow’ is ‘game control’ – this is when
the Referee Needs Less Flow and More Game Control
Early warning signals
Frustration level of players increasing, player acceptance of decisions decreasing (verbal outbursts)
Player focus – where are the players looking? (concentrating on the ball or lining up the opponent)
Body language – stiff, rigid; preparing for a charge, a nasty tackle?
Fouls near the team benches
Wet field – comfort level of players to make tackles increases
Tackles extend from 3 yards to 7 yards (this becomes dangerous)
Sequence / succession / repetition of challenges in a short time span (cluster fouls)
Mismatched body contact (feet versus chest, head versus knee)
Change from containment defense to high-pressure and chase
Challenges (including 50-50) and apparent challenges on the goalkeeper
More Warning Signs
Near the touchline and no way out for the ball or the player
Retaliation foul after play restarts
Player into goal to retrieve ball after a score
The winning team protecting the ball at the corner flag to use time
Excessive fouls on the skillful player (playmaker and scorer)
Escalation in the “severity of fouls” committed
Player feedback from both teams indicating “we don’t want flow”
Score and time
And finally, the application of Misconduct as a game management tool:
If the foul (offence) involves contact, it is penalized by a direct free kick. In addition to the foul, how do we determine when a card is warranted, here are the guidelines:
Careless is when a player shows a lack of consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No additional disciplinary sanction is needed (normal run of the mill foul).
Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned (yellow card).
Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off (red card). Clearly has no regard for the safety of the opponent.
Beyond these clear guidelines consider the “big picture”, if you’re on the fence. This relates to the atmosphere and/or environment surrounding the match as it is played out and the referee’s “feel” for what the game needs at a given moment. If an act by a player could be interpreted as either a foul or a possible cautionable foul (reckless), the referee needs to consider the “big picture” surrounding the match. In the few instances when similar borderline cases arise, referees should consider asking themselves:
(1) Does the player need the card?
Consideration is given to the player’s prior behavior (the overall conduct of the player to that point) in the game and the intent of the player’s act.
(2) Does the game need the card?
Consideration is given to the temperature of the game (the overall atmosphere of the match) to that point. The referee should quickly analyze where the game has been and where it is heading based upon player conduct to that point. Is it time to settle things down, an opportunity to get everyone to chill a bit – if that’s the case, a card might help send your message if things are on that proverbial borderline.
If you have a question or comment, please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best.
*credit to FIFA for some of the materials
ANDY's INTRO MESSAGE - 2019
Dear Fellow Officials,
As we end September a few items have come up in the recent past:
Pre-Game meeting -- in addition to the normal items we focus on, typically some form of the following (4) items:
Intros with head coaches/hand-shakes
Players properly and legally equipped (shin guards should be size appropriate)
The importance of good sporting behavior
We need to add a 5th. That is, asking the AD or home coach if there is a certified trainer present should he/she be needed? If NOT and a player is sent off for concussion symptoms, that player can NOT return.
Also, remember that the concussion course can be found on the NFHS website.
As referees we need to deal with dissent from players and from coaches.
In general, the ADs feel we should be sure to follow the rules of the game as documented in the NFHS book, and issue cards when appropriate (ADs want cards when needed and justified). For review, I often read rule 12, pages 56 – 65, with particular emphasis on carding, pages 61 – 63.
A reminder to report the cards in your game reports via US Officials or Arbiter – and send an email to your assignor if you have a red card.
Knots – and pre-wrap: This has been a rather troublesome issue over the past two seasons (somehow, it’s always the simplest things that cause the most trouble), and one that I have written about several times. With it being such a big deal in 2018, and the NFHS indicating no knots, I’ve been operating under that premise.
Now, in 2019, NFHS is allowing pre-wrap to be knotted. Please see the text below that is copied from page 28 in the rule book. My sincere apologies to all of you for the oversight, particularly those of you that have written to me in 2019.
Page 28, Rule 4.2.2
Situation A: during Pregame warm-up, the referee observes that (a) A2 is wearing a rolled bandanna tied around his/her head: (b) A3 is wearing a bandanna that completely covers his/her head: (c) A4 is wearing a red headband; (d) A5 is wearing hair beads; (e) A6 is wearing knotted pre-warp wrapped around the head. RULING: Illegal is (a), (b), and (d) because the bandannas and hair beads are considered adornment and any knotted device may be dangerous. Legal in (c) and (e) if worn to control the player's hair or prevent sweat on the face.
If you have a question or comment, please send me a note at email@example.com
All the best.
Andy's Notes From 2018 Season
Welcome to the 2018 season!
I have attached (3) documents for your review. They are:
· 2018-19 NFHS Rule Changes/VPA Info
· 2018 -19 NFHS Rule Updates
· VPA Soccer Guide 2018
These are documents for your review. You can also print them for your referee kit and share as necessary.
Have a great, enjoyable and safe 2018 season.
1. Past Seaons From Marty Adams:
If you have a disqualification please keep in mind there is no substitute allowed. This applies to a straight red card or a subsequent caution. It is always a good idea to count each team before restarting after cards are issued, an injury timeout or similar. Also, please remember if you are issuing a subsequent caution the procedure is to show the yellow card, immediately followed by the red card. If the offense is a straight red card offense, just the red card is shown. It is an important distinction because the penalties for the player are different with regards to the VPA policy for potential suspensions.
2. A team can play with as few as 7 players, but no less. If they are unable to field at least 7 (except in the case of a brief suspension to allow for blood on a uniform or similar, that can quickly be corrected) the game is terminated and reported to the appropriate assignor. If a team is playing short (7 or more but less than 11) the other team is not required to also play short.
3. As the season winds down that some teams are gearing up for the playoffs and some are “playing out the string.” This can affect the way games are played and sometimes lead to issues. We need to be extra diligent to make sure games are being called in such a way that keeps everyone safe. Also know that teams may be playing each other for the 2nd or 3rd time and there can be carryover from previous matches. We don’t always know the history but if it is brought to our attention, we should make sure we pay extra attention to behavior after the play or behind the play. I had a situation this week where a player went down behind the play and accused an opposing player of an unsportsmanlike act. I did not see it, but let the accused player know that I’d be watching going forward. It is always best to keep our eyes on the play and players for just a second after the ball is played away to make sure there is nothing extra going on.
4. Contact with the keeper while in possession of the ball. My rule of thumb is if there is enough contact to stop the game or award a free kick to the keeper it is usually a cautionable offense at a minimum. Every situation is different but if you are taking the ball out of the keeper’s hands (a free kick coming out) it probably warrants a yellow card. Please also do not allow players to “play a keeper in the air.” It is permissible to jump straight up but not into the keeper, especially if they are attempting to play a ball over their heads so they are exposed and more vulnerable. It is worth taking a moment and reading rule 12-3 section 4 Charging on pages 54 and 55.
5. Lastly, do not allow players to interfere with the keeper as they are attempting to carry the ball to the edge of the penalty area or when they are attempting to punt, drop kick or throw it back into play. I had a coach and player argue with me this week that once the keeper bounces it, it is fair game. It is not. If they relinquish possession by placing/rolling the ball on the ground, then it is fair play. This also covered on page 55, 12-5 article 3.
September 27, 2016
Dear Fellow Officials,
I have just a couple quick notes about coaches this week.
1. Do not take abuse from assistant coaches or other bench personnel. The head coach should have some leeway to discuss calls or situations with the officials in a professional and calm manner. The assistant coaches typically not so much. My procedure is to let the head coach know that I’d like to hear one voice from their bench, the head coach. I do not go looking for trouble but it an assistant coach is overstepping their bounds, that’s when I try to get near the bench and quietly remind the head coach of my preference. Abe used to say it best when he would tell them “Coach there is a little in my check that says I have to listen to you, but there is nothing in there for your assistant coach(es)…”
2. Once we stop the clock for an injury, let the coach of the injured player know they can come on the field immediately. The player must be removed so there is no reason not to waive on the coach ASAP. If you are checking on a player to see if they are injured and you are going to have to stop the clock, you might want to give the coach the stop sign for a moment while you check on them. Please also remember both coaches are able to coach their teams during this time. It is a good procedure to try to keep the players on the field near their bench while they are getting water and or instructions, but it is not required. It is just good practice to keep players that are in the game separate from players not in the game. Lastly, it is always best to count each side before the restart to make sure they are each at 11. I had a team start a half with 10 this week because my partner was quick with his whistle to start the 2nd half. I alerted a player near me and they let their coach know. We also have had at least one case of 12 players on the field after a substitution which required a card to the 12th player once the situation was recognized. In both cases it could have been avoided with a quick head count or by keeping better track of players coming and going.
3. If you do have an overzealous coach dissenting from the sideline, do not hesitate to deal with it. By ignoring it, it often only gets worse. Players will follow their coach’s lead, positively or negatively. If the coach is harping on the far side official, it is acceptable for the bench side official to warn and/or caution the coach. Often it will calm everything down much quicker than trying to reason with the coach or having a running dialogue.
September 20, 2016
Encroachment is the one item that has been brought to my attention from a couple different angles this week. There have been several instances of coaches saying to officials “we were told this would be called differently this year and cautions would be issued without warnings…” or something to this effect. Some of you may have heard this. I am not sure where this is coming from, although I’m told it was discussed at a coaches/league meeting. It is not a point of emphasis from the NFHS. If anyone has any insight about this please let me know.
There have been some encroachment situations with walls this season. . Rule 12.8 Misconduct states that “a player, coach or bench personnel shall be cautioned (yellow card) for:…F.#5 encroachment.” What I believe is a good procedure is to get to the area quickly and to verbally tell the players to move back if appropriate, without interfering with a quick restart should the offense be so inclined. If a player or group of players tries to stall the game and/or refuse to move back quickly, stop the clock and pick a player (usually the one standing the closest or setting the wall) and card that player. The rule does not stipulate that you can only card one player as it is an unsportsmanlike act but typically picking one player is sufficient. If the offensive player(s) ask for the requisite 10 yards (and the 10 yards is required, it does NOT need to be asked for as some defensive players and/or coaches will try to tell you), move in quickly, tell everyone that a 2nd whistle will be the restart and that it will be the lead official’s whistle, point to your whistle to the kicker and get them to acknowledge it. Set the wall, move into position and either sound the whistle if you are the lead, or let the lead official know you are ready when they are, if the wall is set by the trail official. I hope this helps.
On another note, I was excited to be involved in a positive situation the other night. There was an obvious foul during a quick transition and the ball went forward to another offensive player going toward goal. I yelled and signaled for a “PLAY ON”. The player ran onto the ball and struck a beautiful 30+/- yard shot into the upper corner for a goal. What a great feeling to award an advantage/”play on” and have it result in a true advantage with a goal scored (eventual game winner so even better as it meant a regulation winner in the flow of play.) It reminded me of the benefit being patient with the whistle if an advantage may be in the offing, especially in the offensive half. But don’t forget if the advantage does not immediately present itself as you thought it might, the call can be brought back to the original foul and restarted with the appropriate direct or indirect kick.
September 12, 2016
I witnessed a situation last week and would like to share it so that we all may learn from it. A player was given a subsequent caution and the corresponding red card disqualification. As the official was preparing to give the card(s), an opposing player started mimicking the act of a card being given. He “pranced around a bit” and applauded as if he was celebrating the opposing player being ejected. This was at a minimum an unsportsmanlike act and very likely was taunting and deserving of a red card. It is important for the official that is not administering the card to watch everyone else while the card is being given to make sure this type of behavior is not happening. Sometimes we can be proactive and get there quick enough to stop it before it gets too far, but if not, we need to be ready to immediately deal with it. Otherwise, not only does the team receiving the disqualification lose a player (for that game and sometimes the next one as well) but they also are subjected to watching the other team’s player celebrating it. I find watching other officials allow me to put myself in situations and realize what might make the game better for the officials and the teams. We can see and learn from situations that we might not otherwise have seen. Game Management is something we all need to continue to work on. Please note taunting is a 2 game suspension so it obviously is something the NHFS and VPA do not take lightly. If safety is our first priority, sportsmanship should be a close second.
On a related note, when a card is being administered, please make sure the “off” official is observing and not writing. There will be time for the other official to record the information after the card has been given and thus there are always eyes on all of the players. Too often both officials take their eyes off the situation to record the infraction at the same time. This can get us into trouble if something happens that everyone else sees and we don’t. This also applies to after a goal is scored. Do not both write at the same time and take your eyes off the players/field.
Additionally please make sure players are not excessively celebrating goals. Anything that appears planned or choreographed should not be allowed or as the book states “any excessive or prolonged act that focuses attention on the player and/or does not allow for a timely restart, shall be cautioned.”
September 7, 2016
Check the goals to make sure they are secured or counterweighted. Do not start the game with goals that are unsecured or not counter weighted. We should never hear “but the previous officials didn’t say anything…” We’ve also had our first issue with a cast being covered with packing foam or multiple ace bandages. The book is very specific about “at least ½ inch slow recovery foam” The corresponding comment of “the other officials said it was ok…” was then voiced. Please do not take their word for it, nor overlook it because someone else allegedly did before you. Two wrongs do not make a right. The player wants to play; the coach wants the player to play, we want everyone to be safe.
Thunder/lightning. “If you hear it or see it, then flee it.” Any sound of thunder or sight of lightning requires the field to be cleared and the teams and officials to seek safe cover. You MUST wait 30 minutes since the last sight or sound of lightning or thunder. Every time you hear or see it, the clock must be reset. If it is looking like the storm will not quickly pass or that you will run out of time (night game during the week and the visitors have a long trip) or light (daytime game with darkness approaching), get with the coaches and/or administrator on site and determine if you are going to try to wait it out or go home. If the game has reached half time it is considered a complete game. If it has not reached half time it will be replayed from when it was stopped. The officials should sign the official scorebook (home team) with the score and time. Do not make any declarations of who wins/loses etc. Let the teams work that out with the VPA.
Restarts-please know which official is responsible for the restart after a foul or to start play after a stoppage. It is usually the lead official, except the start of a period, goal kick or after a throw in (can be either, depending on where the throw in takes place). Make sure you make eye contact with your fellow official to make sure they are ready when you blow your whistle. On a related note, please mirror your partner on indirect kick signals so everyone knows it is an indirect kick. Leave your arm in the air until the 2nd touch, especially on a potential goal scoring opportunity. If you have a card, after the play was stopped for a foul or other stoppage, do not change the restart because of the card. It is still the same restart as prior to the card being issued.
Lastly, please don’t forget that we must ask the head coaches if their players are “properly and legally equipped” prior to the game starting. This is why head coaches are required to attend the pre-game meeting with captains. We also must stress good sportsmanship to the captains and coaches per the NHFS and VPA. My partner and I had a situation in a game last week that was a bit unique. The head coach for one of the teams was temporarily disposed during the pre-game meeting with the captains (she was nursing her baby). We did the pre-game conference and then just prior to the start of the game my partner asked her if her team was “properly and legally equipped.” The purpose of this question is to offload the liability in case of an injury caused by a player not being properly equipped (no shin guards or jewelry). Do not miss this step.
After the game, get together with your partner and leave the field together, unless the game was contentious enough to warrant staying to make sure there are no issues during the post game handshake. Do not visit with the crowd or stay to discuss a situation that occurred during the game with a coach (re-explaining a card that was issued or an odd play that happened). There is typically a lot of emotion involved, especially for the losing side, and thus it is not the best time to be having these types of conversations. On a related note, make sure you are reporting any odd/unusual situations that occur to the assignors as soon as possible so they don’t get blindsided by a coach/AD or the VPA. If you and your partner want to visit about the game make sure you are out of the way or perhaps meet up somewhere away from the field. Conversations can be overheard by fans etc and taken out of context. It is best to avoid this situation.
Knotted kerchief headbands. Anything with a knot is not permitted. It is a safety issue for the person wearing it and others. If there is head to head contact the knot can hurt someone. Please be diligent about this so the next official doesn’t hear “he/she has been wearing all season and nobody has said anything…”
Corner kick management. Try to be verbally present during and prior to corner kicks, especially regarding players being around the keeper. I usually try to remind everyone to “play the ball…” If a player is trying to obstruct the keeper and it not making a play on the ball, call it immediately. It should take care of the issue. On a related note, the keeper cannot push people out of the way to get to the ball. They have no more rights than anyone else that is trying to play the ball. Lastly, do not allow players to “play the keeper” that is in the air catching the ball.
Also regarding corner kicks, please remember that in the unlikely scenario that the ball hits the goal post and rebounds to the kicker, it can not be played by them again until it has been played/touched by another player. This happens more frequently on penalty kicks, but can happen on a corner kick as well.
THE GOALS MUST BE COUNTERWEIGHTED OR ANCHORED!.
Please remember a substitute is allowed for a player receiving a yellow card. A player receiving a red card cannot be replaced. The substitute can come from the bench or from the substitution area.
I’m sure we have all heard “but he/she got the ball…” on a hard tackle. Please keep in mind, it does not matter if the defender “got the ball”, touched the ball, and/or successfully stole the ball, if a foul has occurred. Getting a touch on the ball does not mean that they are free to foul the opponent.
make sure you ask both coaches during the pre-game conference (the head coach must attend for this purpose specifically) “coaches are your players legally and properly equipped?” The reason behind this question and their affirmation is to off-load the liability for an illegally equipped player in case someone gets hurt because he/she is illegally/improperly equipped. Do NOT skip this step. I do it first so as to not get sidetracked or forget. I also typically follow it up with “players this means when you are on the field of play, your shin guards are in and being worn properly and that all jewelry is removed."
On plays where there is a foul against the defense but a shot is going toward the goal, hold your whistle briefly to make sure whether or not the goal is scored. This is especially important when a defensive player, other than the goalie, is attempting to stop the goal by illegal handling. Please remember if the goal is scored (and you haven’t blown the play dead) you count the goal and yellow card the player. If the goal is not scored, then it is a red card and a penalty kick. There may be no worse feeling than blowing your whistle and then seeing the ball go into the net.
August 28, 2015
Rule #1-Safety first
My partner and I showed up to officiate a scrimmage tonight
and the goals were not anchored or counter weighted. The coach thought it was no big deal b/c it was "just a scrimmage..." They literally told us "if you aren't comfortable with it, we can just ref our own..." Do not fall for the "nobody else has had a problem with it..." type of excuses. We made it work by using some benches turned upside down and some heavy gym bags, but I was certainly ready to walk away. It is not worth the chance. A quick google search of "soccer goal post injuries" brings up several articles outlining the number of injuries and the severity of said injuries. Here is a link to just one of the articles if anyone is interested http://www.anchoredforsafety.org/incidents.html
This is crucial during the beginning of the season, but it can happen at any time during the season as well b/c so many schools have multi use fields/facilities and the goals are moved often.
If you run into situations like this, please make sure you notify your assignor so they can contact the school/AD. This is not in the same class of infraction of illegal uniforms or mis-lined fields. This IS a SAFETY issue and is one of the few reasons we should not start a game. Some coaches will look for the easy way out and hope you will ignore it, please don't. Try to find a reasonable solution, but don't take the chance if it cannot be rectified prior to the game starting.
A player or coach is disqualified from a game either because of a subsequent caution or a straight red card. They continue to argue and/or will not leave the field/premises. (a player only needs to retire to the bench, but should not be allowed to continue to be a problem. The coach is required to leave the immediate area “out of sight and sound.”) Is it permissible to give them another card for this behavior? The answer is yes. I would suggest we be as proactive and patient as possible but if they refuse to comply or simply will not let the issue go, we are certainly entitled to giving additional cards. This applies to after the game in the parking lot as well, as awkward as it may feel to give a card at this time. The proper procedure is to report the situation to the assignor and they will report the information to the VPA. It is then up to the VPA to determine the consequences for such actions. The response will most likely be “you can’t card me, I’ve already been ejected/disqualified…” Do your best to calm the situation and not make it any more confrontational than necessary but do not allow someone a “free pass” just because they feel they have already been penalized as much as possible. Ultimately the officials do have the authority to terminate a game if the player refuses to calm down or if an ejected coach will not leave the immediate area. Hopefully if this is explained in a calm manner the player/coach will make the proper decision and it will not come to game termination by the officials. That should be the absolute last resort. On a related note, it is important to review the roster provided during the pre-game to ascertain if there is another coach/bench personnel listed. If there is not another coach/bench person listed the game is automatically terminated if the coach is ejected. It is not permissible to have another parent or bus driver etc to step in after the fact. I always ask the coach if they would like to list anyone else on the roster, just in case.
1. Once the clock is stopped for an injury to ANY player on the field, the player must be removed from the game. I try to get close to the player to quickly assess if they are hurt or just catching their breath. If they don’t respond to “are you ok?” I will stop the clock and either summon the coach/trainer or have the player leave the field if they don’t require help. I had a player say to me “I don’t want to leave, I’m all set…” I simply said, “I’m sorry but once we stop the clock you must leave…that’s why I was asking if you were ok, but you didn’t respond.” I also had a coach say “but I didn’t come on to the field…” I politely explained the same to him.
2. Please err on the side of caution with potential head injuries. I was involved in a game this past week where two girls collided head to head and both went down to the ground and appeared to be “stunned”. One was bleeding from the nose/mouth area. After both were attended to on the field and assisted off, I inquired of the AD on site as to the availability of medical personnel to assess their potential head injuries. Having none, we advised both coaches that the girls would not be allowed to return to action for the day. Related to this situation I later read in the local paper that both girls did not play in the next game due to “concussions from the previous game.” At half time the AD thanked me because he said last year he had an official tell him it was the “coach’s call” if they could return.
3. OT is “golden goal.” After regulation there is a 5 minute break while the coin flip is performed to determine ball possession and which ends will be defended by each team. If neither team scores in the first 10 minute period, there is a 2 minute break and the teams switch ends. If neither team scores in the 2nd period the game is a tie. It is worth noting the OT procedures change for the playoffs but that will be discussed as we get closer to tourney time.
4. Here’s another situation. There is a hard foul where at a minimum a yellow card is appropriate and it may warrant a straight red. The near official immediately gives a yellow. The other official makes his way across the field to ask his partner if a red may be more appropriate. After discussing what each of them saw, it is decided to leave it as a yellow, but it was discussed with each coach. The offending player’s coach decided his player was “done for the day” because he realized his player was very close to receiving a red and did not want to risk it. After the game the officials discussed the play further (quietly, and out of earshot of anyone) and determined that if they had gotten together before giving the yellow card it would have been easier to be completely on the same page and it wouldn’t have looked like one official over ruled the other if the card had been changed to a red. It is also worth noting that the coach of the player that was hurt on the play wanted a red card “because I lost my starting back…” It is not the result of the play/injury that determines the card, but the foul itself.
How do we, as officials, cope with spectator behavior that is unacceptable?
1. Identify the game site administrator prior to the game. Often it is the AD but sometimes the home team coach. Where is the site administrator going to be during the game?
2. By rule, spectators must remain at least 10 feet from touchline and goal line...and no fans behind either goal unless in bleachers. If fans are improperly situated prior to the game, politely request they move to a legal spot (you might build some rapport with the fans with this interaction). If they don't or won't have the site administrator move them.
3. A fan is short for "fanatic" so you can expect a certain amount of behavior to be partisan and vociferous.
4. But when does partisan behavior cross over into unacceptable behavior? Remember the "5 P's"
a) Profanity. Needs to be stopped immediately.
b) Persistent. You have to live with the occasional "Terrible call, Ref!" but if it is persistent, deal with it.
c) Personal. When "That was awful" evolves into "You are awful"
d) Provocative. Language or actions meant to incite or encourage unsporting acts by the players. (Applauding fouls by the fan's team, "Knock 'em down!!", "Take out #27!!" etc.)
e) Players. High school students must never have to listen to abuse from spectators.
When behavior crosses the line:
Stop the game. Stop the clock. Remember the restart. Have the site administrator address the issue/remove the offenders. When the situation is resolved to your satisfaction, then the game will restart. By rule, the home team coach cannot be cautioned for fans' poor behavior.
After the game. If needed, have the site administrator walk with you to your car(s). Do not verbally engage with spectators. Avoid comments to your partner while walking that might be misconstrued by spectators you may pass. Mention any issues in your game report so that your assignor can follow up with the AD.
Please also remember that the penalty for intentionally trying to stop a goal by intentionally handling is a yellow card if the goal is scored and a red card if the goal is stopped. The player may not be replaced in the case of a red card.
A situation was described to me this week regarding a “play on” or a continuation of play with an injury on the field. If the player that is injured is not in immediate danger, due to the play being near to them, or does not appear to need immediate medical attention, it is ok to allow a “play on” (if there has been a foul but you are applying advantage) or if one team has possession and you determine they have an advantage if play continues. That being said, always err on the side of caution. A few years ago I had a situation where a player went down with an apparent ankle/foot injury but was not in excruciating pain. The play went away from her up field with an advantage to her team. I allowed the play to continue away from me (I was the trail official). I stayed near to her to make sure she was ok. Once the play was completed we stopped the clock and she was attended to. In this instance it was in OT and the game winner was scored on the play. I felt we made the correct decision to allow it to play out, but each situation is going to be different. Many teams now are versed in the sportsmanship act of kicking the ball out of play when a player is down. If this happens, we cannot tell a team to give the other team the ball, but hopefully their coach or players are in tune with what is going on and will do so on their own.
One last reminder to check your goals to make sure the nets don’t have holes in them and that the goals themselves are secured or counterweighted. Many fields are multi-use and the goals do not always get re-secured. We had a game this week that one goal was not secured. We helped the coach/AD find the anchors and made sure they were in place before we started play. It only takes a few minutes to make sure you are not putting yourself and your partner in a bad position of liability.
Goalie possession/lost possession/illegal handling.
Once a goalie catches a ball, picks up a ball or pins a ball to the ground it is considered possession. Do not allow an offensive player to knock the ball loose due to contact with the goalie or to kick at the ball while the keeper is in possession. Blow the play dead and play it out with an indirect kick.
Once a goalie has possession, if they lose possession, or voluntarily relinquish possession, and then pick the ball up again it is considered illegal handling and is an indirect kick for the other team. A goalie can toss the ball in the air or “dribble” but if they completely lose possession they need to play the ball out with their feet or wait until an offensive player plays the ball before they can handle it again legally. Sometimes offensive players will “make a run” at a keeper that is gaining possession and bump the keeper. If the contact is slight and seems like it could have been unintentional, speak to the player about making sure they pull up if they can. If the contact is malicious a card can be given. It is also appropriate to verbally warn or card the keeper if they initiate the contact. Lastly, if a defensive player throws the ball in directly to the keeper who plays it with his/her hands it is illegal handling and is an indirect kick at the spot of the infraction.
Please do not allow jewelry or “adornment” of any kind, unless it is religious or medical and it is taped to the body (rule 4-2 art 2-4 pg 26). Tape over earrings or other jewelry is not allowed. You may hear “last game the officials allowed it” or “I just pierced my ears and the hole will close…” Be professional, but be consistent and explain that it is for their safety and the safety of others. When necessary, simply explain to the coach that either the jewelry is removed or the player is not eligible to play. Hair ties are allowable as long as it is not for decorative purposes and poses no safety hazard to anyone. Bandanas tied in a knot at the back of the head are not allowed. Soft head bands with no knot are ok. I usually try to remind the captains after the coaches have been asked if their players “are properly equipped” with the follow up statement…”captains, this means that shinguards will be worn properly and all jewelry is removed…” or something to that effect. My experience is that the players know who their teammates are that may try to get away with this, and by reminding them they will likely remind them to remove the jewelry etc.
Please make sure all bench personnel is listed on the roster when it is presented at pre-game. This insures the coach in case he/she is ejected and allows the game to continue. If there is no other bench personnel (assistant coaches) listed on the roster and the coach is ejected, the game is terminated. The old practice of a parent and/or “bus driver” stepping in after the fact should not be allowed.
Lastly, goalies are required to have a number on the front and back of their uniform. On the front it can be on the shorts or jersey. I have seen several instances of no numbers on goalie’s uniforms. PLAY the game and report it to your respective assignor so they can contact the school as appropriate.
Make sure goals are anchored or counter weighted prior to starting the game. This is a safety issue and a game must not be started without this being taken care of. Incorrect field lining, missing bench area designations etc are not safety issues and the game should be played, but please make sure the goals are secured during your pre-game walk around. Some goals are now designed with a thick piece of metal along the back bottom. These can be considered to be counterweighted if they are solid/heavy enough. If you can easily pick up the back of the goal, then some form of anchor or counterweight must be utilized.
Don’t forget to remind coaches and players during the pre-game that if the clock is stopped due to injury the player must be removed from the game until the next legal substitution opportunity if the player is replaced. If the team elects to play short, the player may return during the next dead ball. Someone must be designated as the goal keeper so if a team decides to play short after a goalie injury and removal, a field player must assume the role of GK.
Please remember that we are there for the kids. It is not about us. Always keep safety in mind and have fun.
First impressions count. Once you are at the game site, please know you are being watched and be careful what you say and do that could be construed the wrong way. Keep your communication with the coaches short and professional. We should not appear to be too friendly with one coach over another for instance.
Be consistent with issues like proper padding for casts, splints etc. If we all apply the rule correctly, we shouldn’t hear “the refs in the last game(s) didn’t have a problem with it…” My response to this statement is “I’m sorry, but during today’s game it is my responsibility to make sure everyone is safe so the proper padding must be in place before the player may participate.”
2014-15 NFHS Soccer Rules Changes Video: http://www.nfhs.org/sports-resource-content/nfhs-nisoa-soccer-rules-changes-video-2014-15/
The NFHS Rules Test will be available on line June 1, 2014-Sept. 1, 2014. VSOA members must take this 100-question test.
got to www.exams.nfhs.org
On that page you will be instructed to either Login using your email that is already in the system or, more commonly for most of you, you will be instructed to Create a New Account. (Even with an email or a username that is already in the system, I have found that I need to reset or get a new password every time. They send it instantly to your email upon request).
Follow the exam instructions.
You may start the test, stop before finishing it, save it for later (hit the button), and then return to it at a later date and continue.
2019 Soccer Rules Test PDF of the test you can print out.