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Question Number: 35108

High School 9/21/2023

RE: Varsity High School

Chester of Fairfield, CT USA asks...

In a US varsity high school match a penalty kick was awarded in a two man system. My partner proceeded to run it, gave the ball to the kicker to place on the spot, and proceeded to tell the goal keeper to have at least one foot on the line until the ball was struck after the whistle. A coach complained that he shouldn't be saying anything to the keeper (it was his keeper). I told him this was common practice, a standard procedure done in many leagues, and typically taught to referees, but he insisted this wasn't right. Should we not be doing such a thing?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


You are correct. This is standard procedure. Currently an NFHS soccer officials' manual is being developed and instructions to the goalkeeper by the referee is included in the penalty kick process.

This is the first time I have heard a coach make this complaint. This coach may have been upset because a penalty kick was awarded against his team, and he was trying to find a way to unhis frustration.

Keep instructing the goalkeeper and have a successful remainder of the fall season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chester
Nothing wrong with a referee advising / reminding a goalkeeper at a penalty kick or for that matter outfield players about encroachment. Advising a goalkeeper to have one foot on the line at the moment of the kick is perfectly acceptable and as you say it is common practice at all levels and in all codes.
I just think the coach was miffed that a penalty kick was awarded. I have no doubt that if nothing was said to the goalkeeper and the kick was saved after encroachment the same coach would be complaining about that as well.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Some coaches could be the only person in the room and yet still find a way to start an argument.

Talking to the players during the game is a normal - I'd argue, important - part of refereeing.

Talking to the players at a restart like this to set expectations is what we call preventative refereeing. It helps to prevent situations come up.

If the ref hadn't said anything, and the GK encroached and a retake was taken, I'm sure the coach would still have argued.

I strongly advocate for continuing to talk to the kicker, the GK and the other players to set expectations at a PK.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Chester,
just to add another voice of reassurance on the already on board train. There is nothing within the LOTG that give any credit to the coaches concerns.
I would have assumed it was the opposition coach thinking you are relaying tactical information. For the defenders coach, he is likely miffed and just thinks you are distracting his keeper.

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