Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 20056

Character, Attitude and Control 9/24/2008

RE: High School High School

Clark of Saint George, Utah United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 18841

My daughter plays keeper. Against one school over the years she has come home pretty beat up. The referees do nothing to stop dangerous play against the keepers. In the last game my daughter had the ball in both hands after picking up the ball on a poor shot. The attacker that was in the play backed away. The play was obviously over. As my daughters head was coming up from picking up the ball another attacker crashed into my daughter so hard that 'my arm went numb and I heard the keepers neck pop'. My daughter went down and had to be taken to the hospital with a neck injury (neck brace, on a board, in an ambulance). No call was made. No penalty, no card. Further investigation found that the opposing coach coaches his attackers to 'crash on the goalie until she has both hands on the ball'. I don't have access to the high school rules, but to me this is coaching clearing in conflict with 12.2 previously mentioned, not to mention extremely poor and negligent refereeing. What is your take on this.

BTW, my daughter will probably be all right. In the opinion of the PT her months of hard weight training and cross fitness probably provided enough muscle strength to protect her spine.

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

First, I am thankful your daughter is all right. Second, I don't keep up with the crazy high school rules but feel pretty certain that what you described is not just a foul but more likely a send off for violent conduct if someone didn't knock the opponent into your daughter. I cringe every time I hear of coaches instructing their players as you suggest. Why doesn't he just give them baseball bats and tell them to knock the opposing keeper's head off? Being a goalkeeper carries some inherent risk but we as referees have to be aware of their vulnerability and enforce the Laws to protect them. I hope this incident has not ruined the game for your daughter.

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

'crash on the goalie until she has both hands on the ball'

Assuming the coach is not advocating physical violence but rather physical presence, this instruction is pretty much correct. Often this is heard as "crash the net", and no one expects players to hurl themselves against the goal! Until the keeper has control of the ball, it is free for any player to make a fair play for it. But they had better not make contact with the keeper after she has possession of the ball!

High school has it's own set of rules, but they are pretty much in line with FIFA for fouls and misconduct. The Interpretation and Guidelines section of the Laws of the Game has this:

'A goalkeeper is not permitted to keep control of the ball in his hands for more than six seconds. A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball:
? while the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body)
? while holding the ball in his outstretched open hand
? while in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing it into the air
When a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with his hands, he cannot be challenged by an opponent.'

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

It is always a concern for keepers as by the very nature of the position they place themselves in harms way by throwing themselves into the feet of oncoming opponents. I can sympathize as a parent if your child is hurt or placed unnecessarily in harms way by over aggressive attackers in pursuit of the ball without regard for her safety.

The term 'crash the keeper is not a great description as it implies just whack the bejeezus out of her given a chance. That said as a coach my strikers are also told to follow up and place PRESSURE at all times up until the keeper actually has the ball in the hand. The ball is free to be played if it is not in that 6 second window of unchallengeable ball in hand till punt/throw release. I would NEVER condone indiscriminate running over a keeper as OUR keeper would be at equal risk in retaliation never mind its outright unethical approach . Responsible behavior can not condone a physical presence that is not considering the safety of the opponent. Play hard but FAIR means we pursue and we dig and we do not relinquish ball control easily we DO NOT CHEAT or seek to injure an opponent!

Given your description I find it unsettling that the second attacker who if she CHARGED In the manner you stated was not brought to task? Even if this attacker had stumbled and simply could not swerve or avoid the contact the carelessness of any action when keeper has ball possession in her hands is at MINIMUM a dfk foul out. Here it sounds as if the reckless action was more like excessive force. Thus a send off show the red card must be applied

I cannot answer for what others choose to say or do. I can only hope the coach is ethical, that his players are not taking cheap shots that the referee/ARs have integrity, courage and at least reasonable foul recognition.

I as do we all here, hope your daughter is ok and can return to playing in a safer environment. I cannot guarantee that of course only seek to educate and hope the message of FAIR PLAY is not lost on those who fail to grasp that everyone's safety is our concern but just remember not all collisions are unavoidable, deliberate or unfair

I recall a tournament u-12 girls the keeper had a ball bounce up towards her right shoulder as the opponent in pursuit of the ball realizing the keeper was about to grab it made an attempt to slow down but the keeper misplayed the ball and it dropped back onto the ground the pursuing striker reacted to the opportunity and played the ball with her knee into the goal the keeper who in a panic had bent down and took the brunt of that challenge as the striker was still moving forward . My AR was looking DIRECTLY across and I was left sided looking in I had no doubt the striker only legitimately played the ball and the collision was unavoidable because the keeper did not quit on the play. The coach was ballistic claiming his keeper was creamed unfairly. The coach while I granted he was concerned over the fact the keeper was crying and hurt was simply wrong. Yes it was unfortunate but soccer is a physical game and when a ball is there to be contested over sometimes crappy things can happen through no fault only circumstances. Noble virtue to express outrage but the coach implied I was UNCONCERNED his player was hurt and incompetent. I realized he was upset and emotional and refrained from sending him to the parking lot but I told him in no uncertain terms you are NO MORE CONCERNED about her safety than I but I did not put her in goal or not tell her it was the most unsafe position to play because of what happens when you put the face down at foot level. The striker had every right to put the ball in the back of the net she did nothing wrong it was an accident get over it and get back into the technical area or go sit in your car and stew about it.

I am not saying this was the same circumstances in your daughter?s match only that perception and truth are not always the same.

Perhaps the league requires some ongoing monitoring and evaluation with a referee assessor or league officials to watch these matches? Recording and reporting of match events over time paint a clearer picture in a season than a single moment at a single match.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Sometimes high school has a high percentage of less than experienced referees, which can result in the kind of missed call you described. What you described should have resulted in a charging foul, and a sending off because it endangered the safety of a player (the goalkeeper).

What you should do is contact the referee assignor for the high school games at the school in question, and tell her/him what you told us, and ask that the referee be assessed and evaluated, so that no other player has to suffer being injured in a situation like the one described. Make the request in writing, and send it also to the president of the local high school referees association. You might also consider writing to the Athletic Director of the school in question and reveal this coach's tactic and explain how dangerous it is for the HS athletes. Please do follow up, so your daughter might be the last one injured as a result of such tactics.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery for your daughter.

Read other questions answered by Referee Michelle Maloney

View Referee Michelle Maloney profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 20056
Read other Q & A regarding Character, Attitude and Control

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 20074

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.