Wednesday, February 21, 2018

High school vs USSF vs College

For those that don't do comments too much, here is the link to the current differences between the three sets of rules. I have not looked over all of the differences so I won't comment but I did want to thank the 2-3 of you that read my post and sent me an email almost immediately. I did not think I had that level of a following!

Another interesting thing from this weekend was the snow we had on Saturday evening. I had 3 matches and at the start of my center which was kicking off around 2, it was coming down nicely on the turf field. By the end of that match, the field was more white than green and it was coming down hard. To the point that I had to shield my eyes when running down the pitch.

When we were about 10 minutes from kick off for the 4pm match, it looked like there was a good couple of inches of snow and the lines were gone. No 18, no touch lines. We had to put down cones and discs to see where the midfield was and where the top of the box was for each side. I went to talk to the tournament director and said that the fields were unplayable. To which I was told that it was not my call. And yes, to a point, it is not, until it is, you see. Unfortunately the center for that match was more accommodating than I would have been and played the match in full.

The field right next to ours ended their match at halftime of the 4pm kick off. And the field behind us actually played their 6pm match as well (while the other 2 fields's matches were cancelled). Go figure.

Still, not your everyday field conditions. Players were going in hard as it was a showcase tournament but they really couldn't showcase much. I had to send off one player in my match who slid so hard that had he made contact with the person with the ball in earnest, he would have broken a foot or leg (and the perp was already on a yellow).

After the match he came to me and insisted that he got all ball. I didn't agree completely. He did get ball, but got leg in there as well and I did mention that I always want them to control the body and that he played in a manner that could have caused injury given the conditions. But the truth of the matter was that regardless, the game should not have been played, because it was on a field that was already somewhat dangerous, or was getting there quickly. And yes, I could have stopped play at any moment when I felt it was unsafe. It didn't really feel like that until we were ready to kick off the next match when I came to the conclusion that it was ok to finish the match but the field was not ok to start a whole new match. No one got hurt but I did call the assignor and said that in my book the 4pm games were being held on a field that was not playable. He suggested that we talk to the coaches and see if they were ok (and unfortunately, they were).

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Back in school

Conditions on the ground dictated that I could and should return to school to do High School games. This season, I return to the fray. I have taken my test, watched the rules clinic online and attended the on-site meeting that they had for high school referees. I haven't found a good (and updated) list of differences between the rules in USSF soccer, and that of NFHS rules.

The ones that I know of off the top of my head are the throw in, where USSF is a redo should the ball not actually go in play (high school you gave up your chance), the yellow card requirement of coming off in high school and the injury to the keeper where a trainer needs to come out.

There are other differences, like OT PKs but that is more of a procedural thing. If any of you have a good updated list with all the differences, it would be great for someone like me that has exclusively been doing USSF based rules for the last 3-4 years. Thanks in advance if you do find a list out there and I will update this post should a good one be found.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Match that changed everything part 2

I will have to speak in code a bit so as not to offend certain parties, but we had a meeting regarding the issue of the match. And I also talked quite a bit with my daughter about her desire to stay out of the refereeing world.

First, there was a meeting about the match in question. I was asked to provide more detail and to explain my perceptions of what was going on, what I heard and what I didn't hear. Not something that I get to do every day. In the end, the panel is going to decide within a couple of week whether the was enough for referee abuse. If I hear anything regarding that, I will update you.

With regards to my daughter, I dug a little deeper. Because I have mentioned this many times, I enjoy more than almost anything else in my refereeing world the ability to spend time with my kids doing something I love. My daughter was more of a referee-for-money type of person and so she said that while she was genuinely scared at the time of the incident, she also had decided before then to not recertify for 2018. So it was not the match that caused her to end her career altogether but rather a factor in the decision to do something else other than ref during tournament season.

So in the end, there was one. I have a 6 year old that says she wants to referee but that is 6 years in the future, so not sure that will stay like that. But I will say that I am happy that we were able to get to the bottom of what happened, and that there was a meeting to decide whether referee abuse happened.

And then next 4-5 weeks are going to be absolutely crazy. I have tournaments starting next week all the way through the end of March. I guess it will be good money, but I am sure going to be tired as well. Hopefully I will have some time to let you in on what happens if something merits it.

Finally, I am about to purchase a comm system. Full details when I get it and when I try it out. Gotta have that tax deduction!

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.