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August 2008 Archive (II of III)


Is there a procedure that is to be followed? I have heard in the past Spring season:>BR> * Do not bend over to pick up the coin. You shouldn't bow down to "the captains"
* Do not let the coin hit the ground. You will bear your hind quarters to half the stadium.
* Do not catch the coin and flip to the back of your hand. You "reverse the outcome".

Yet, in the recently concluded Euro 2008 Tournament, I witnessed all three of the above examples in various matches.

This is only trivial. You just hear so many different "you should do this and not that" from various referees.

Answer (August 6, 2008):
No, there is no set procedure for the coin toss.



I was recently talking to somebody about offside and they brought up that it is no longer true that the head or body is a deciding factor in determining offside. He said the feet are the only deciding factors, and that if any part of the head is closer to the goal line than both the ball and the second to last defender that the player is not offside. I asked when he heard about this change, and he said in the spring, but I never heard about it. Is this true?

Answer (August 5, 2008):
Ah, those people who do not bother to read the Laws of the Game once they have completed the entry-level course. No, this rumor is not true. The Laws clearly state -- in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees (beginning on p. 55 of the 2008/2009 Law book):
In the context of Law 11 -- Offside, the following definitions apply:
* "nearer to his opponents' goal line" means that any part of a player's head, body or feet is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. The arms are not included in this definition



A recent discussion created much debate about the duty and responsibilities a referee under law 5 had to exercise an opinion on law 12 send off offences when playing 11 aside soccer. The question posed was the failure to show a red card for a send off offence that the referee actually admitted was in fact a send off offence but the referee refused to send off a player because the player was between 9 to 14 years of age a miss-application of law? If a referee was to stop play and award a dfk or pk for a spitting at another or a DOGSO incident where the player CLEARLY denies a goal via the illegal use of the hands but chose not to show a red card due to age is that an opinion on a fact of play or is it a miss application of law? I understand that as an opinion the referee can say there was no criteria for send off and as a fact of play not much can be done but can he say I saw the goal denied point 4 states the player is to be sent off but I do not care? Are not the send off offences more along the lines of if that occurs then this happens not if it does happen I can pretend it didn't because the player might get upset?

Answer (August 5, 2008):
Yes, the Federation suggests that the referee weigh the facts in every case of misconduct, so as to ensure that both the Letter and the Spirit of the Laws are satisfied. But if the referee chooses to excuse a player aged 9-14 for committing an infringement that should be punished by an immediate sending-off simply because he or she is so young, how will such players ever learn right from wrong and how to play soccer properly, not to mention to exist in society?

Furthermore, who would want to be such a referee on the witness stand testifying as to why he let "Davie" stay in the game because he was a cute 11-year-old who had performed a studs-up tackle on "Mark," was let go this time, and then broke "Freddy's" leg two minutes later with the exact same maneuver. Whether the referee shows a red card or not, a violent player must be gotten off the field.



Is it appropriate to take game and situational factors, especially the age of players, when considering sending-off offenses? The ATR "philosophy of cautions" is clear that the referee must consider qualitative factors when determining whether or not to give a caution.

Does the same concept apply to send-offs?

To be more specific, having determined that a sending-off foul occurred, must the referee send off the player regardless of the player's age?

As an example, I would be hard-pressed to send off a U12 player for DGH. The law seems intended to prevent older and more skilled players from trading a sure goal for a PK, by adding the consequence of playing a man down. A U12 player is unlikely to understand this, and more importantly is far more likely to handle the ball in an "oh crap" moment than with malicious premeditation.

If possible, I'd appreciate a general response as well as an answer to the specific example.

Answer (August 5, 2008):
Yes, the Federation suggests that the referee weigh the facts in every case of misconduct, so as to ensure that both the Letter and the Spirit of the Laws are satisfied. But if the referee chooses to excuse a player aged 9-14 for committing an infringement that should be punished by an immediate sending-off simply because he or she is so young, how will such players learn right from wrong and how to play soccer properly, not to mention to exist in society?

There is, of course, the question as to whether an accidental ("Oh crap") handling should be considered at all -- and the answer must be a resounding "NO!"



If the markings of a field are incorrect, in this case, specifically the penalty mark, should the existing mark be used, or should the referee mark off the correct distance? This is on an artificial field, so it cannot be covered or moved easily.

Answer (August 5, 2008):
If the penalty mark is in the wrong place and cannot, for whatever reason, be changed, the referee must ensure that any penalty kicks are taken from the correct distance from the goal line and in the correct location in relation to both goal posts. Possible mismarked lines can be worked with, but the penalty kick occurs so rarely and can be so decisive, that the distance MUST be correct.



What does Send Off mean if the player was on the bench, as a substitute when they received a red card? The match has started, but would it make a difference if the ball had been out of bounds at the time?

My interpretation is that the team must play a man down, even though none of the players committed the Send Off offense and it was a substitute.

As in the ruling, substitutes who receive a red card are treated as if they were players on the field.

Just asking.

Answer (August 5, 2008):
You have confused the process of sending a player or substitute or substituted player off with the consequences of sending that person off.

A player who has been sent off, whether on the field or off at the moment of the misconduct, may not be replaced as a player. The player must leave the field and its environs. In that case, the team plays with one fewer player.

A substitute who has been sent off may not be replaced on the roster by any other person. As this was a substitute and thus not a player, there is no effect on the number of players on the field. The substitute must leave the team area and the environs of the field.

The dismissal of a substituted player, no longer a participant in the game under any circumstances -- except in competitions that allow substitutes to fly in and out of the game -- must simply leave the team area and the environs of the field.

Note: For safety reasons, there are certain exceptions for youth players/substitutes/substituted players, but these individuals must not be allowed to interfere with the further progress of the game. If they do interfere, the referee should terminate the game.



A substitute is warming up behind the goal. His team's keeper makes a mistake playing up field out of the penalty area. The opponent, seeing a wide open goal, kicks the ball directly towards goal, The ball OBVIOUSLY heading in the goal is kicked away by the sub that was warming up who ran onto the field.

What do you do to the sub and what is the restart?

Answer (August 4, 2008):
Law 3 tells us:
Substitute or a substituted player
If a substituted or a substituted player enters the field of play without permission
- the referee must stop play (although not immediately if the player in question does not interfere with play or if the advantage can be applied)
- the referee must caution him for unsporting behavior
- the player shall leave the field of play

If the referee stops play, it must be restarted with an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the position of the ball when play was stopped (see Law 13 -- Position of Free Kick).

In addition to the caution for unsporting behavior for entering the field of play without the referee's permission, the referee could consider cautioning the substitute or unsporting behavior for kicking the ball away, leading directly to a sending-off for a second caution in the same game.



i did a veteran game and a few players of a team is not satisfied with a two decisions against them within minutes.

a while later, i feel that particular player defender is trying to test me. a long ball is send towards him from the opponent, and when he clear the ball, an opponent was trying to block the clearance. i saw no contact or late tackle, so there is no foul. at the same time, he shouted for pain and holding his ankle. i knew that it is fake.

after a second or so, he shouted "good call, referee", which definitely not a praise.

is this unsporting behavior? what should i do if i encounter such acting again? i know that simulation in the penalty area appealing for penalty is a caution, but this is different situation.

Answer (July 30, 2008):
No matter how hard we try, not all players will be satisfied with our decisions. What the player did was to express his dissatisfaction openly. The first act, simulating a foul, with a slight hint of feigning injury by crying out in pain, is a cautionable offense (unsporting behavior). The second act, "Good call, referee," was dissent, also a cautionable offense. How you deal with these situations is a measure of your ability to manage players.

Much of it depends on how confident you are in dealing with such situations. You will find that this varies from game to game, from team to team and from player to player. Caution this player if need be, but if the rest of the players seem satisfied with what you are doing, then simply have a quiet word with the dissenting player. Remind him that he has committed two cautionable offenses and could already have been sent off. Then warn him that further acts like these will not go unpunished. Finally, do not forget to follow through if these or similar acts occur again.

Finally, just to make it clear to other readers, it is not only simulation in the penalty area, but simulation anywhere in the field in an attempt to influence any decision by the referee (is or is not a foul, is or is not misconduct, is or is not a red card instead of a yellow card) is itself misconduct.



Assume the head and torso are behind his feet in all situations (and the ball and the next to the last defender is in Players A's half of the field).

Player A is on his half of the field with: A. His feet not touching the mid-field strip.
B. One foot on the mid-field stripe and one foot in his half of the field.
C. One both feet on the mid-field stripe with toes in the opponent's side of the field.

In A. he is clearly on-side.

Is he on-side in B or C?

Could you direct me to the Law, Rule, Advice or Q&A where this is written?

Answer (July 30, 2008):
Part of your answer lies in Law 1, which tells us that the lines belong to the areas which they demarcate. Ergo, the halfway line belongs to both the player's half of the field and to the opponent's half of the field.

Another part lies in the words of Law 11, which tell us that only those parts of a player's body which can legally play the ball are considered when determining offside position. Therefore, hands are not included in the calculation; only head, legs, and torso are considered.

Player A is in the opponent's end of the field in B and C for purposes of determining offside position. The source for this is Memorandum 2005 (the annual Law change memorandum from USSF) which stated: USSF Advice to Referees: Although it is not specifically stated, this same concept of "nearer to" should be used in determining if an attacker is in his opponents' end of the field (i. e., if any part of his head, body or feet is past the midfield line.)

As explained, the player is "past the midfield line" in B and C because a part of the body that can legally play the ball is on or beyond the midfield line.

The third and final part lies in a paragraph no longer included in the Laws; not included simply because it is something that every person involved in the game should know intuitively: "The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators."

That paragraph was called the "V8" clause because it was formerly International Football Association Board Decision 8 to Law 5 (then called "Law V").



The word TACKLE is used variously in soccer coaching material, in general speaking and in referee laws and instructions.

It's used by TV commentators to describe a player sliding to kick a ball out of bounds without an opponent being in close proximity.

Coaches teach a 'block tackle' which is often no more than a front-to-front confrontation that doesn't touch the ball. Referees say a kick of the ball made by reaching between the legs of an opponent from behind, without touching the opponent, is a 'poke' while a reach in front of a player to drive the ball away is a 'tackle.' In relaxed conversation a tackle has to touch the ball - or not.

It's all a bit confusing. Is there a standard description for the word TACKLE that applies to the Laws of the Game?

(I'm still unsatisfied with the MAKER of a throw-in being the TAKER of the throw-in and not the one taking it on foot, head or chest.)

Answer (July 29, 2008):
In the less-complicated world of the Laws of the Game and refereeing -- in contrast to the complicated and overly-esoteric scientific world of the coach -- a tackle is any play with the foot for a ball under the control of the opponent, whether the player contacts the ball with the foot or not. This includes "pokes," "block tackles" or whatever other term the coach(es) may use. In all events, a "tackle" is not limited to "sliding"; a sliding tackle is simply a tackle performed in a particular way.

In addition, there is something in the Laws for 2008/2009 that applies to both "tackle" and "charge" (Law 12). Both terms refer to actions that occur many times during the game without violating the Law -- they only become an offense if either is performed carelessly, recklessly, or with excessive force.



The final match of an international Girls U17 tournament ends in a 0-0 tie and goes to a shootout to determine the winner. The tournament is governed by U.E.F.A. rules.

One of the kicks taken hits the post and rebounding forward, hits the keeper a foot in front of the goal line and is deflected back into the net.

The referee ruled that once the ball had started moving forward off the post the play was dead and a goal could not be scored.

I believe the rules state that a referee is the final judge of when a play is ended, but I also believe he is supposed to let play continue until it finishes of its own accord. I'm not certain if the rules of play governing a shootout differ from a regular penalty kick.

Did the referee make the correct call? Should the deflection (and resulting goal) have been allowed? My daughter's team was declared the winner of the game, but we're curious whether it was handled properly.

Answer (July 28, 2008):
UEFA rules? Most likely you mean what we normally call "FIFA rules," known to the rest of the world as "The Laws of the Game."

Under the Laws of the Game a penalty kick -- including a kick from the penalty mark to determine a winner -- is completed only when the referee declares it so, and the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that the ball is still in play. In other words: So long as the ball is in motion and contacting any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored.


U.S. Soccer thanks Jim Allen (National Instructor Staff/National Assessor), assisted by Dan Heldman (National Instructor Staff), for their assistance in providing this service. Direction is provided by Alfred Kleinaitis, Manager of Referee Development and Education, with further assistance from Paul Tamberino, Director of Referee Development; David McKee, National Director of Assessment (assessment matters); and Ulrich Strom, National Instructor and National Assessor (matters in general).

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