National Cup

Lulu

BRONZE
I just wanted to give kudos to one of the ref teams we had this weekend. It was a gentleman and two young ladies, the center ref called a very tight game, he didn't let anything go especially the hits after the plays. It was one of the cleanest games I have seen in a long time. The center ref mentioned after the game, that he cares about the safety of the players, which we, as parents, appreciate.
But then we had a ref team of a gentleman and two young men that let everything fly and lost control of the game. Girls were elbowing and literally pushing with both arms fully extended from behind. One even clocked a girl in the face with her elbow and no call. The AR ref mentioned to us, it doesn't matter how you win, just as long as you win, which tells me they didn't care about safety. Yes, I know soccer is a contact sport and players will get hurt. I understand the tripping and the legit body contact. But hits after the play, elbows in faces (no reason for an elbow to come that high especially if you are going after the ball with your feet) and full arm extensions are not soccer plays.
It is very sad that some take reffing seriously while others take it as "it's just a job" and who could give a crap about what happens on the pitch.
 
I had a similar experience at Nationals yesterday. DD's game was pretty clean and it was good soccer to watch. Yes there was take downs(in fact two PK's were awarded appropriately) and the Center ref warned a couple of girls on both sides when he saw behavior that wasn't "typical" but all in all a good game which resulted in positive cheering from parents and no ref bashing or name calling. Conversely, the game before us I watched in the field next to us (so not the same crew) had 3 yellows and 1 red and parents were hurling insults both at the refs and each other. What I witnessed was a passive, "I'm here to make my $20 a game", Center AR who let the game get out of hand early. So yes, if the Center Ref controls the game early and is engaged and watches behavior, then everyone benefits.

There is no place for elbows in the face in GU15 soccer. Sorry Monkey.
 

Monkey

SILVER ELITE
There is no place for elbows in the face in GU15 soccer. Sorry Monkey.
The original post made it sound like the ref let the game get out of hand and said there was an elbow to the face. While I agree that there is no place for an elbow to the face, the description of the game seemed pretty typical. Whether it was right or wrong is a different question.
 

Toch

SILVER ELITE
I had a similar experience at Nationals yesterday. DD's game was pretty clean and it was good soccer to watch. Yes there was take downs(in fact two PK's were awarded appropriately) and the Center ref warned a couple of girls on both sides when he saw behavior that wasn't "typical" but all in all a good game which resulted in positive cheering from parents and no ref bashing or name calling. Conversely, the game before us I watched in the field next to us (so not the same crew) had 3 yellows and 1 red and parents were hurling insults both at the refs and each other. What I witnessed was a passive, "I'm here to make my $20 a game", Center AR who let the game get out of hand early. So yes, if the Center Ref controls the game early and is engaged and watches behavior, then everyone benefits.

There is no place for elbows in the face in GU15 soccer. Sorry Monkey.
the “CENTER AR”????
 

baldref

GOLD
there are good referees and not as good referees, just like coaches and players. but there are very few referees who are just out there to get their $20 and don't care about what they're doing or who might get hurt. i've still never in my long career, seen a referee hurt a player. only other players hurt players. now, as for parents, there are decent parents, and ignorant parents. but there are next to zero "unbiased parents" and just slightly above zero of parents who actually know what they're watching when it comes to making calls in a soccer game.
 

watfly

GOLD
There seems to be a lot of lip service about safety in club soccer but often very little action. One example from a few weeks ago, the boys were playing futsal at a venue that was like a skating rink. All the kids were slip sliding away, they could run in a straight line but couldn't cut or stop without going down. The guy running the league refused to clean the court (even at half or between games) because he said he did his job by cleaning in the morning and that it was the kids' shoes fault. Ironically, the boys had played earlier in the day at a different venue and their shoes worked great. Sometimes ego gets in the way of common sense decisions about safety.
 

outside!

PREMIER
There seems to be a lot of lip service about safety in club soccer but often very little action. One example from a few weeks ago, the boys were playing futsal at a venue that was like a skating rink. All the kids were slip sliding away, they could run in a straight line but couldn't cut or stop without going down. The guy running the league refused to clean the court (even at half or between games) because he said he did his job by cleaning in the morning and that it was the kids' shoes fault. Ironically, the boys had played earlier in the day at a different venue and their shoes worked great. Sometimes ego gets in the way of common sense decisions about safety.
Which facilities?
 

MWN

PREMIER
there are good referees and not as good referees, just like coaches and players. but there are very few referees who are just out there to get their $20 and don't care about what they're doing or who might get hurt. i've still never in my long career, seen a referee hurt a player. only other players hurt players. now, as for parents, there are decent parents, and ignorant parents. but there are next to zero "unbiased parents" and just slightly above zero of parents who actually know what they're watching when it comes to making calls in a soccer game.
Those "slightly above zero" parents are just Grade 8/7/6 Referees in civilian clothes watching their kid.
 
there are good referees and not as good referees, just like coaches and players. but there are very few referees who are just out there to get their $20 and don't care about what they're doing or who might get hurt. i've still never in my long career, seen a referee hurt a player. only other players hurt players. now, as for parents, there are decent parents, and ignorant parents. but there are next to zero "unbiased parents" and just slightly above zero of parents who actually know what they're watching when it comes to making calls in a soccer game.
Really agree with this. I got qualified and refereed (Lower level) a few years ago when my daughters were tiny and found this to be true among my peers (both those in the center of the field trying to make the game possible and those fellow parents in the crowd watching).
 

MWN

PREMIER
IMHO, there if parents/spectators understood a few basics, they would enjoy and understand the game much more:

1) The Laws of the Game require the referee to actually "see" the foul to call the foul. If the referee's vision is blocked or their attention drawn to another area of play, that elbow 20 yards away from the ball and behind the referee will go completely unnoticed by all except the victims parents who's focus is always on their kid. The referee is only permitted to rely on the ARs. Parents and Coaches and Players are excluded from the "review committee."

2) A foul is "careless," "reckless," or "excessive force" play. The corollary is that every player owes a duty of "care" to their opponents. This means that a player can actually get to the ball first, but if that player did so in a careless manner, its a foul. Shouting "she got to the ball first!!!" is evidence of a parent that is uneducated.

3) The Laws of the Game encourage a referee to not call fouls if "trifling" in order to not disrupt the flow of the game. In other words, yes it was careless, but had no impact on the game/play, therefore, we don't call them. What is a trifling foul really depends on a number of factors, but the temperature of the game and skill level of the athletes all play into that consideration. Most of the excitement I hear from the peanut gallery is parents losing their minds at a Referee who isn't calling trifling fouls.

4) The Laws of the Game allow a referee to not call a foul if the fouled team retains possession ... this is called "advantage." A similar concept exists in football, in that a referee throws a flag and allows play to continue, after play is stopped a team can "decline" the penalty. With reckless or excessive force plays, the referee is also empowered to "caution" or "send off" the player minutes after the foul once play stops.

5) "Handling" aka "handball" requires the referee to determine the player "deliberately" acted in a manner to handle the ball. Just because a ball kicked from 10 yards away hits the opponent in the hand does not mean its handling. We look at time to react, skill level, whether the hand was in a natural position, was the player deliberately making themselves bigger, etc.

6) Referees are human and make mistakes. The Laws state "Decisions will be made to the best of the referee`s ability according to the Laws of the Game and the ‘spirit of the game’ and will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game. The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected." The Laws of the Game recognize that the referee is operating with imperfect factual data which forms the Referees opinion. Whatever that decision is/was, is final once play restarts. Soccer is designed to be an imperfect game, its part of the Laws.​
 

watfly

GOLD
5) "Handling" aka "handball" requires the referee to determine the player "deliberately" acted in a manner to handle the ball. Just because a ball kicked from 10 yards away hits the opponent in the hand does not mean its handling. We look at time to react, skill level, whether the hand was in a natural position, was the player deliberately making themselves bigger, etc.​
No question that handling is the most misunderstood rule in soccer across the board by parents, players, coaches and refs. One particular thing that adds to the confusion is the idea that if the ball hits a hand that is in an "unnatural position" that that's handling . It isn't, there is no such rule and there never has been. In fact the current LOTG specifically say "the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence." There was some USSF guidance a decade ago (and I believe no authoritative guidance since...but I could be wrong) about determining whether it was "deliberate" and they mentioned "unnatural position" as just a factor in considering deliberateness and not as having a hand in an "unnatural position"as being a foul in and of itself. A ball touching a hand in an "unnatural position" is not a foul unless the player deliberately placed it there. (The concept works the same in reverse, you could have your hand in a perfectly "natural" position, but if you deliberately put it there to handle the ball, its a foul. So "unnatural" vs. "natural" is really meaningless, it all about whether it was deliberate) Unfortunately, the "unnatural position" claim has been repeated so many times that it has become de facto law for many refs. I've seen plenty of refs claim that just having your arms out to your side, and not tucked to your body, is not natural and called fouls as such. But don't take my word for it, take the word of this USSF ref instructor that explains the false concept of the natural position of the hand the best:

http://www.askasoccerreferee.com/the-handball-violation/

The notion has been around for a long time that an important factor might be where the hand is at the time of contact, often verbalized as a “natural” versus “unnatural” position. Given a player in motion, pumping legs, driving forward, trying to maintain balance, pivoting quickly, trying to get the attention of a teammate, and so forth, we are hard-pressed to conclude that there really is any such thing as a “natural position” for the hands unless we picture such extreme examples as a player standing still with a hand up in the air waving to someone in the crowd at the moment the hand is struck by a ball played in the air. Furthermore, it has been argued that players may protect their balance while in motion by using their arms differently due to gender-based differences in body structure and/or how weight is carried on those structures. This has frequently confused officials and has resulted in their making mistakes through not understanding gender and age differences in players. The IFAB emphasized this concern when they stated in Law 12 that “the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement.”

We have heard of and have ourselves seen players running with arms pumping back and forth being whistled for handling because the ball, struck from behind the player, has hit the hand while it was in motion extending behind the player! We have seen players whistled who have fallen and are in the process of lifting themselves off the ground when the ball rolls into the weight-bearing arm!

The bottom line is that, while extremes in hand positioning might be a factor in deciding whether ball contact should be treated as deliberate based on that fact alone, it is far more important to focus on the totality of the player’s situation and what led to the contact.
 

MWN

PREMIER
No question that handling is the most misunderstood rule in soccer across the board by parents, players, coaches and refs. One particular thing that adds to the confusion is the idea that if the ball hits a hand that is in an "unnatural position" that that's handling.
Agree that there isn't 1 definitive piece of circumstantial evidence used to determine "deliberate." I also agree that referees have different opinions as to how much weight they are going to place on various factors. There is simply no bright line rule that is easily applied. Because a referee can't know for sure whether the player "deliberately" handled the ball because the referee doesn't share the same brain as the player, the referee can only form an opinion based on circumstantial evidence to form a "deliberate" opinion.

It is also a personal pet peeve of mine when referees call handling when its clear the players hands were away from the body as part of a natural balancing motion. (e.g. this photo). This is why the referee needs to take into account the "unnatural position" in the context of "making themselves bigger."

Another article: http://soccerrefereeusa.com/index.php/entry/64-understanding-and-judging-handling-offenses-in-soccer
 

watfly

GOLD
I've read that article before, one of my issues with it is that it kind of gives conflicting advice regarding "benefit". The article refers to ATR which basically says benefiting from a handball doesn't matter and then it goes on to talk about the 2009 directive which says you should consider benefit in determining a handball. I realize I'm paraphrasing, and its more nuanced that, but that's the impression the article leaves.

Any foul that requires intent is difficult to determine for the very reason you stated that you can't get inside someone's head. However, I don't think that USSF does itself any favors by trying to micro-analyze factors that you might consider to define "deliberate". What happens unfortunately is the focus becomes on the factors and not the totality of intent, which in turn has made the factors the deciding element in handling regardless of intent. Not unusual to hear a ref justify a handling call by saying the player benefited. I'm probably in the minority, but I think a handling call should be relatively rare based on the LOTG.
 

MWN

PREMIER
I've read that article before, one of my issues with it is that it kind of gives conflicting advice regarding "benefit". The article refers to ATR which basically says benefiting from a handball doesn't matter and then it goes on to talk about the 2009 directive which says you should consider benefit in determining a handball. I realize I'm paraphrasing, and its more nuanced that, but that's the impression the article leaves.

Any foul that requires intent is difficult to determine for the very reason you stated that you can't get inside someone's head. However, I don't think that USSF does itself any favors by trying to micro-analyze factors that you might consider to define "deliberate". What happens unfortunately is the focus becomes on the factors and not the totality of intent, which in turn has made the factors the deciding element in handling regardless of intent. Not unusual to hear a ref justify a handling call by saying the player benefited. I'm probably in the minority, but I think a handling call should be relatively rare based on the LOTG.
I'm with you, its should be rare, especially with the U-Littles. The olders have less latitude. Whether the player "benefited" can be circumstantial evidence of intent, but is not dispositive. If referee's opinion was not deliberate, the benefiting is inconsequential.
 
IMHO, there if parents/spectators understood a few basics, they would enjoy and understand the game much more:
Even better if coaches did. Referees receive constant updates as to interpretation, and had a big revision recently. I still run into coaches all the time that simply don't know the rules any better than many parents. But they sure think they do.
(Yes I called the laws rules...)
 

Paul Spacey

SILVER ELITE
Even better if coaches did. Referees receive constant updates as to interpretation, and had a big revision recently. I still run into coaches all the time that simply don't know the rules any better than many parents. But they sure think they do.
(Yes I called the laws rules...)
I can testify to this. I’ve been a coach here for 6 years and I’ve been a referee (here and in the UK) for almost 20. In my experience, more than 50% of youth soccer coaches do not know the laws of the game. Even less understand how they are applied. Take this percentage down to around 25% when referring to parents (sorry parents, I know some of you understand the laws and interpretation very well but you are in a minority).

Referees are not immune from this. Too many for my liking either don’t fully understand the LOTG or simply choose to apply them in a way which suits them, not the flow of the game and the quality of the players in front of them. Attitude and communication are the biggest problems; if referees showed a better attitude and communicated more effectively with players, coaches and parents, their job would be a lot easier. How do I know? I’ve experienced it personally for a long time. Be honest, communicate and relate to players and the game is easy to officiate. Yes, easy.

There are many good referees out there though and like anything, there will always be good and bad. I do feel we can do more to all work together (coaches, parents, refs) to make the game more smooth-running and hassle-free for the kids. They should be our priority of course.
 

watfly

GOLD
Thanks for providing, I was familiar with those. Besides IFAB Circular 11, I didn't see any updates to interpretations other than what is already included in the LOTG "Details of all Law Changes". Are these LOTG changes what is being considered as the big revision? Coachrefparent mentioned a big revision recently, maybe he is referring to the 2018-2019 changes? https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OGddOBkMp5Dd4_dNtfPdtiyvft6B1rsB/view. Obviously these aren't applicable for a couple months.
 
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