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Question Number: 31377

Law 5 - The Referee 3/21/2017

Steve of Stockton, CA USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31369

I have been a referee mentor in NorCal for several years, and no, there is no difference in the way NorCal and FIFA interpret and apply advantage. That being said, at U11, you are likely to have players who are still not used to playing through fouls, even if they've been playing comp for a year or so. The normal tendency for a lot of these players when they get fouled is to stop playing. This means that the opportunities to apply advantage are few and far between. Combine that with the fact that referees for this age group typically have relatively limited experience (although not total newbies), and you can see why advantage seldom gets called.

As a mentor, I get really excited and heap tons of praise on a referee who correctly applies advantage in a youth match, but it doesn't happen very often.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
Thanks for your contribution. Your points are well made and are much appreciated.
I think another point can be the constant whistling for trifling fouls that may be best left uncalled.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steve,
thanks for the supportive input. You are spot on the fact the opportunities to apply a decent advantage are few and when it does occur for the referee to recognize it and the team/players having the where all and skill to take advantage of it at the younger ages is rare.

I recall the coach's and the touchlines just screaming for a deliberate handling when the ball had fallen to a young lady wide open just out in front of goal. The fact it was a CLEAR chance to have a shot on goal she was hesitant as the screaming by the touchlines made her stop playing literally almost forcing me to blow the whistle. Since I encouraged her to not pick the ball up but go ahead dribble and shoot , she did, she scored MOM was happy first goal ever and she was happy! Guess who was unhappy the coaches from BOTH teams Opposing coach saying it was unfair as the other team wanted play stopped. Her coach was furious because their main goal scorer would have had a free kick and her thunderbolt leg was a tactical advantage for that age group. He was worried the scorer might have missed. SIGH!
I had to grasp advantage as being different given the team officials did NOT want advantage. THEY wanted a free kick which they could usually count upon thunder leg McGurk to score when in areas close to the goal. So as a referee I now must juggle my own concept of what is best for the match best for the player (s) knowing that continued attacking play is not what they seek. I could see by the young players reactions how they respond to the screaming to stop play and pick up the ball on obvious fouls. . Although I prefer allowing the kids to not be marionette puppets and cutting those well intentioned strings to stop the manipulation. I was irritated by the way they had impacted the match however, it is a reality and one not easily addressed during a heated match. They created a climate of stop and pick up the ball even before a whistle sounds . There is a reason why silent Sundays began limiting the voices from the touchlines to allow the kids to play unfettered by the control gurus screaming non stop instructions rather then let the kids try to figure things out on their own.
I love it when a 11 year old gets tripped sees the ball squirt out ahead, everyone stops, as if a switch was tripped shutting the power down, he jumps up and runs after the ball I signal advantage play on ! The lights go on and away they go!

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