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Question Number: 13674

The Technical Area 9/5/2006

RE: rec Under 13

Gwen of Lynnwood, Wa USA asks...

I am asst. coach for a girls U13 rec soccer team. The other day at practice the coach said he expects the players that are not active in the game, (on the sideline waiting for opportunity to sub)to practice with a ball and keep active. I said they can't do that, that it would interfere with the play of the game, and balls would end up on the field. He wanted to know if there is a rule that states that a player may not dribble a ball off the field, but near the touchline while the game is being played, reassuring me that our team would always be in control of the ball they were manipulating.

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Well, you and I both know that your kids won't keep control of the ball and balls will end up on the field. This is going to interrupt the game and you'll have an angry referee on your hands. Ask your coach if this is what he wants. Subs should stay on the bench. Do they HAVE to? No. But they do have to stay far enough aff the touch line so as not to confuse the far side AR and referee. This usually means 5-10 yards

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Answer provided by Referee Debbie Hoelscher

There is nothing in the Laws of the Game that specifically addresses equipment requirements off the field of play. Most league by-laws do address them in some way. In Div 1 play (men's and formerly women's --MLS and WUSA) the area around the benches was to be cleaned up and equipment put away, subs and team personnel sitting on the benches prior to the start of the match. It was the responsibility of the 4th official to ensure that the balls were put away (usually in a bag) and that everyone who was in the technical area was supposed to be there.

This is taken out of your local area's Procedures and Rules of Competition:

"NCYSA Procedures and Rules of Competition for Recreational Play 2006:
5. Coaching/Sideline Conduct: [from WSYSA 305.11]
d. No player, coach, substitute player or other bench person is to incite, in any
manner, or engage in any kind of disruptive behavior."

It could easily be the opinion of the referee that "practising" with the ball is a kind of disruptive behavior.

I am not a coach and would not pretend to second guess the decision of your coach. However, I would propose that a game is not the place to practise, but a place to employ what has been practised throughout the week.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Probably not! In youth matches it is usuaully expected players stay in their designated area. It is usually ok to take a jog around the area, but messing around with balls is asking for trouble.

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