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Question Number: 29536

Law 18 - Common Sense 7/14/2015

RE: House Under 11

Kaitlin F of Kitimat, BC Canada asks...

Hi there. I'm a referee in my 3rd year and have a question.. I usually ref an all girls division of girls around 10 years old. Most of them are beginners and are unframiliar with the rules. I've warned the goalies many times that if they are holding the ball and it is not a goal kick and they walk in the net, then it may be a goal next time. Am I handling this the right way? Any suggestions? And what should I call when the goalie puts the ball down (not for a goal kick) then picks it up again?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Kaitlin,
It can be a little difficult for referees at this age and level when players are very unfamiliar with the rules. The referee needs to balance the requirement to administer the laws with acknowledging the level of play.
At this level, the referee takes the approach of a bit of a match leader. This means you will need to explain decisions and rules to players quite often and show leniency where possible, but need to balance stretching the laws against breaking them entirely.

If a player walks the ball into the goal, I would say that the referee has no choice but to award the goal (and bear in mind that breaking the law here may be unfair to the other team). Having said that, I'd only award the goal if I was 100% certain (and I mean, I couldn't possibly argue that it may still have just been on the line!). So personally, at a non-competitive level, I wouldn't go out of my way to be in a position to see any minor breach (eg if it was a competitive level and this was happening, I'd probaby run through to the goal line to spot a goal. I'd be happy to remain 'out of position' at this level).

As for the keeper putting the ball down then picking it up, unfortunately it does have to be a free kick, but see how you can work with the keeper on this. The poor keeper probably doesn't know when they can kick it out of their hands and when they have to put it down for a goal kick, so perhaps you can communicate each time to the keeper. Or let the keeper know to just do the drop kick unless you've told her not to.

In the past when I've had young keepers who didn't understand what to do (one case a keeper repeatedly took an extremely long time taking goal kicks - it was causing a problem), I've gone so far as to raise my concerns to the coach at halftime, and permit somebody to stand near the goals (but still in the spectator area) solely to advise the keeper on these scenarios. Normally we discourage spectators from standing there, but here it was the best solution - and as long as they were a bit away from the goal they didn't risk interfering with the attacker.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

In recreational play below age 10, the referee is as much as teacher as an administrator of the rules.
You are doing very well if you can talk to the players, and explain to them the consequences of actions under the laws. Some things, such as clear goals and fouls, cannot be ignored. But, when things are doubtful or trifling, a warning is far better than ignoring it because it was 'almost' - - it helps to be able to prevent things that might happen again.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi again Kaitlin,
once again I am impressed with your level of concern and awareness. You are indeed doing well by self critiquing and examining your actions in post game reviews and soliciting advice on such matters. At the age you currently officiate at the referee and the coaches should all be working together in a teaching mode and on the same page when it comes to setting examples for the youth under our care. To be able to communicate effectively is a great attribute, to help clarify the LOTG and set the players on the right path with similar encouragement from their coaches is only promoting fair play and an understanding of the ...FUN GAME... for all to enjoy.

The need to explain the consequences and give direct information to do or not to do something will fall away as you referee the older kids. But to reaffirm, to warn to prevent unnecessary stoppages right on through to adult soccer by effective communication is a mark of a good referee.

I also suggest the 100%, in my opinion, theory. Award decisions based on 100% conviction that in my opinion! THAT was a foul, that was a goal, that was offside, that was a cardable offence. If not 100% in my opinion then we continue play! A referee with integrity see what they see no matter others might see it differently. It is likely you are not yet using ARS so a heads up when and if, always communicate with your ARs to help find that 100% recognition. As a referee each decision is simply your opinion, yes or no to stop play based on your current level of understanding and instructions of the LOTG !

The LOTG were made to be flexible and applicable to the skill set and level of understanding. You can bend those laws around ball almost in a circle but be wary of breaking them or disregarding them at your peril. Sometimes the best teaching moment is the one with consequences!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kaitlin
In my opinion referees here have to act as somewhat of an educator in U10 games. Should that education be the harsh way with the award of a goal or a free kick or an admonishment /advice that they have erred? That is your call to make.
BTW the kids will make a decision whereas the adults will have another view. I go with the kids as it is their game and if I had a choice there would be no referee in U10s

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