Friday, December 8, 2017

The match that changed everything

As you know, I have said many times that I love doing matches with my daughter (and when my son was doing matches, with him as well). I thought it was a great bonding experience, we had fun and gave us something to do, together, that was akin to what some other people say they feel when they volunteer or do good, etc.

So to have a match that in my eyes ended my daughter's career or desire to referee is something I don't look fondly too. I have always tried to shield her since she wasn't as committed as my son was when he was doing it. And I am not sure if she is using the excuse to say that the match in question caused her to not want to ref anymore rather than just say that she lost the desire a while back. That is something that I am not sure she would admit to.

Anyway, the match in question, and I have to be careful of how I word it because I don't want it to be easily identifiable for the center in question since there is a lot of fallout from this match apparently.

We were not at home, but rather at a tournament elsewhere, where we were put up in a hotel, so we had a bunch of matches on Saturday and the last one was where both my daughter and I were together as ARs for a center that we both knew up in Northern VA.

Anyway, it was a bad situation, we had an issue before kick off that set the tone for a really rough match and at the end the center had to abandon the game due to threats from the sideline. My daughter says that this match, the fact that she felt we had to run for our lives (and we didn't, but it sorta felt that way at the moment) and the complete disaster that it was has given her pause and wants to not recertify.

I hold that center substantially responsible for the fact that my daughter does not want to ref anymore. She did work the Sunday matches with me and I thought she had a good time, but it seems that it wasn't enough to sway her back to reffing. I suspect she didn't really want to ref anymore and found this match as a gift as the excuse to say she didn't but the truth is that this center that I held in such high regard made a series of mistakes and let's just say, I would have handled things differently.

On the bright side, I have a lot more equipment and gear to work with now. And thankfully I had not bought my daughter the new ref shirts since we can use them until the end of 2018.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Boy did I take a hiatus these past 3 months. I always had it in my head that I have to post about this or that and sure enough, life would get in the way (or more games) and as they say, the rest is history. So I apologize for not getting into some of the things I wanted to talk about. At this point, the commentary about being a site coordinator is a mere figment of my memory. I do recall there being an issue with a coach who had been ejected and me having to play interference between the ejected coach and the crew that ejected him. It was nothing too terrible, but it did escalate a bit because they had to call me out to the field and make sure that the crew was able to walk off the field without the coach coming to talk to them since there was nothing that could be said at the moment.

I also will touch on a game I did in Richmond that at the moment I thought would strengthen my daughter's resolve to be a great referee but it did just the opposite. This will be in my next post because I am still quite saddened by it, by the fact that my daughter will not recertify for next year and I hold someone I looked up to fully responsible for botching a match so badly that it lead my daughter to decide that she has had enough. So that will be next time (who knows, my next post could be in 2019 and I won't even remember that I wanted to talk about it).

But I will share something interesting that I calculated today. As I mentioned, I keep a spreadsheet of all my matches. And to this day, I have calculated that I have worked a total of 914 matches since I started in August of 2008. That is a lot of matches. It comes out to 109 matches a year. It is scary to think that I have worked that many matches since starting.

Anyway, I will try to catch up on the following topics in the next couple of weeks:

- World Cup
- The match that led to my daughter's retirement
- My latest recent class

Hope everyone has a great holiday season if I don't get to posting before 2018 starts!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Stuff

So I promised the follow up story on what my daughter did during the tournament weekend and I also have to discuss how the following weekend, I ended up being a Site Coordinator for a tournament instead of reffing games. Quite a different point of view for sure.

Anyway, first things first. The following day, during my center (I had 2 ARs and one Center), we were doing a U13 match between two teams that were clearly disliking each other. They both were from the same club and it turned out that one was an academy team while the other was not. It even started out during the coin flip when the other AR asked the girls if they knew each other and one of the girls replied, "We're XYZ academy trained and they are not."

There was a difference in style for sure but the game was 0-0 through most of the first half. Towards the end of the first half, the academy team gets a free kick close to the 18 and the resulting free kick goes in for a goal. But it was a close match for sure, with a slight edge to the academy team.

For the second half, the game continues and towards the end of the game while still 1-0, there is a play where the non-academy team is shielding the ball and there is a little shove from the defender. I am in decent position as it is in my quadrant but I also look over to AR1 since he is also somewhat close and he gives me no indication that there is anything more than trifling. About 5 seconds later, everyone starts yelling "Look at your AR". I look over and my daughter has her flag up.

Ok, I am thinking I missed an offside call. So I stop play and run over to her. She let's me know that she was calling the push in the back. And I look at her in disbelief. She was confident and I really didn't want to hurt her assertiveness so I call the foul.

The coach from the academy team says "You are going to have to explain that one to me after the game." And I thought, he is kind of right. I was about 10 yards from the play and didn't think much of it. My AR that was 20 yards away didn't do anything to indicate he thought it was a foul. But yet, my daughter from 55-60 yards away thought to raise her flag (for what I can say is probably the first time ever she decides to call a foul).

And I looked at the situation as well. To me it was low risk. The foul was a good 30 yards away from goal, no chance they can score from there directly, right? So I called it, heard the complaints from the coach and wouldn't you know it, the resulting free kick seemed to weave in between the heads and bodies of at least 6 people before kissing the far post and going in. I couldn't believe it.

Now I had a game that had to have a winner, tied 1-1 and with a goal that probably shouldn't have been called because I basically took a calculated risk that the free kick was not going to go in and it sure did.

In the end, the academy team won it in PKs and it was a great teaching moment for my daughter. I told her that we didn't communicate properly on that play. I should have looked over at her as well and she would have given me a nod or something not as obvious as a flag to indicate she wanted a foul. But truth be told, I should have said that she was there to assist and not insist. But again, I do want her feeling comfortable calling fouls, so I cannot really say that the first time she brings up her flag. It was just a bet that I took and lost. A learning and teaching moment for all involved.

I will comment on the Site Coordinator aspect of soccer in my next post. I am out of juice for today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting all teary eyed

There comes a moment in time when, as a parent, you make a realization about your kids. It hits you like a brick on the head. It comes to you and you are so proud, or so amazed or whatever realization happens, it is a rush of emotions. This weekend was like that.

As you know, my daughter has kept the reffing flame going for the next generation. This weekend, we were doing a U14 game that was high level. I am AR1 and in the center, a 6. The play was the ball was rolling towards the keeper and the defender decides to play the keeper the ball ever so faintly to "hurry up" the ball going to the keeper. If there had been a touch, it was faint. The center didn't blow his whistle, though from my angle, it sort of looked like the defender had passed it back slightly to the keeper. When he didn't call it immediately, the coach on my side started talking to his assistant and wondering if that was a passback. At that moment, my daughter's flag shoots up, gives the waggle and direction to indicate that she had seen the passback and wanted it called.

I swear that at that moment, it hit me. She was a "referee". She was interpreting the laws, she saw the play, she gave the center the time to make the call himself and then when she saw that he was not going to make it, she made it for him. At halftime, he stated that he thought there was a touch, but was not sure and was relieved to see her flag go up.

As a father, it was a proud moment for sure. For those of you that are parents, you have these moments where feelings come rushing in when you realize the milestone you have just witnessed. Here was one that I was thrilled to be a part of.

Now the following day, my daughter perhaps got a little too confident. I will tell you about that in the next post.

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.