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Question Number: 28713

Law 17 - Corner Kick 9/8/2014

RE: Rec Under 11

Jay LaFountain of Coldwater, MI USA asks...

I was ARing a game and a player asked a question about a corner kick, but in the process gave a demonstration of what he was talking about - including kicking the ball out of the corner arc. The ball obviously was kicked and moved, but since the players are so young, and nobody reacted as if it was an 'actual' corner kick, I and the ref let him pick it up and reset it.

Given the prevalence in 'trick plays' at the U10 level... I believe I should have had a quick word about it with him, that he shouldn't demonstrate with an actual kick because it could be construed as the actual kick and cause all kinds of problems.

I didn't because I don't have the experience to react in a good way right in the moment, unfortunately - but since there wasn't any problem with it, we just let him take the kick after that.

What do you think? Did we do the right thing? Should I have had a quick, quiet word with him about demonstration kicks? Or is this something that just happens in Ulittles games?

As an aside, my first three matches went great and I managed to keep up with the kids to call offsides, even at the U14 level, and I was surprised at my ability to see an offsides position and get the timing correct. Basically I feel at home with the flag. on the sideline, like I should have been there forever. Anxious to go back and do more next Sat! My wife thinks I'm crazy because I wanted to pick up a fourth match that day, and I won't stop talking/thinking/being about soccer and officiating.

Thanks for the huge answers to my first question, by the way. So much good, instructive, encouraging words. It's amazing that I can have access to professional officials when I'm just a U-littles ref, but thank you - your insight will help me get it right, and when it's my match, my call, my reputation, hopefully I'll develop a good reputation. :D

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jay
This typically would only happen at U Littles due to the innocence of U10s. As the player is looking for advice then a demonstration kick is not really putting the ball in play so the 'best' decision is to go with the actual corner kick as you did.
As regards trick plays I would not allow these in the manner described. Just ask for the kick to be taken again properly and then there is no problem.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jay it is great to view your enthusiasm and I feel confident your reputation will be the respected one your choices make it!
The small sided matches is where fun supersedes everything but safety! lol Often the younger players do not have the kick strength to put balls across the goal mouth so tricky corners are likely an effort to dribble the ball into position. Like my good colleagues say, when we are asked by young players can we do this? in the context of the match be it a slide tackle, a tricky corner , a set play we can say, 'I dunno can you?' Match time is not the best to explain the ins and outs of free kick scenarios or debate the merits of instruction best in the post game or in practises, seminars, lectures and training centers. Still if the association you are involved with is good with an interactive referee and coach system where together they try to do what is best for the kids sounds like a healthy attitude of fair play and respect to me well done

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jay,

The laws allow referees to use common sense - as in, their own interpretation of what's happening - in these situations.

It's like when you blow the whistle for a free kick, the player that has been fouled has the ball at his feet in the correct spot, and he kicks the ball to a teammate to position.

Or, when a player repositions the ball with his foot slightly before taking the free kick.

While, under the strict letter of the law, you could interpret either of these as being a legitimate kick, you 'know' they haven't put the ball into play.

You are correct that a trick scenario could take advantage of this - a player could look like he's just kicking the ball to his mate to position the ball for the kick only to have that player run off with the ball - referees, like players, can also be caught out by these. But these are so rare that the way to mange these isn't to assume that every touch of the ball is a potential trick; rather, use common sense to understand what the player is almost certainly doing, but remain aware enough just in case he has ended up using a trick play to ensure you're not going to be caught out.

There was no harm in what the player did and a word would have been overzealous.

I'm glad to hear you've been enjoying running lines! It is a very different skill to refereeing in the middle for the field, but very enjoyable in its own way. Just be aware that you're the eyes on the back of the referee's head - it's easy for the AR to fall into the trap of ball-watching when play has moved up the field. The referee is watching the ball; while you need to watch play, you also need to watch what's behind play. Extremely unlikely to be an issue at this level though.

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