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Question Number: 31532

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 5/14/2017

RE: Under 10

Andy Betten of Greenville, MI United States asks...

Hello, I am a coach of a U10 team. My question is when do my players have to stop attacking the goal? Had a player attacking the net when the goalie put their hand on the ball but didn't control it, it rolled away from her. My player was in position to kick and score. The opposing coach came unglued and screamed at my player singling him out during the game. I am new to coaching and want to teach them the proper way.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andy,
I think your question is not so much about when your team has to stop attacking the goal and more to do with when the goalie has control of the ball and may not be challenged.

According to the law, ''A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms ...''

Once a goalkeeper has control in this way, your players must not challenge for the ball.

If the ball is completely released by the keeper and has rolled free, it is fair game again. However I would say that at younger levels where safety is more of a concern, players should be encouraged not to challenge unless the ball is clearly outside the keeper's range. If the keeper is fumbling slightly for the ball on the ground and is clearly favourite to get there first, I do not like to see opponents swinging wildly at the ball or charging in, in a way that is likely to cause a collision.

Even though the ball might be available for challenge under the law as regards goalkeeper control, there is still the part of the law that says that any challenge must not be careless or reckless (or use excessive force). The law says the following:

''Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution.
Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent ...''

In both cases this is a foul and if it is reckless the player should be cautioned.

Bearing this in mind, I think any coach - but especially at youth level, has to be as very mindful of the safety aspect involved in challenging a goalkeeper (and/or other players) for the ball and should encourage their players to avoid doing anything that would put another player at risk.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Andy.
well first off when teaching the wee ones DO NO COME UNGLUED . The opposing coach who quite likely thinks as himself as standing up for their player in reality deflates ALL who witness the action. Angry adults at kids games generally create far more chaos & confusion no matter their perceived best of intentions.

Keepers, inside their PA, are in a position to get hurt much easier than outfield players BECAUSE keepers will bend down to get a ball exposing their face and hands to the incoming attackers trying to KICK a ball into their goal.

The LOTG recognize how safety is compromised so they included a provision that once a keeper HAS ball possession NO opponent is allowed to challenge.
If you read the provisions it includes a ball trapped on the ground using but a single finger or being bounced or tossed in the air. You CAN NOT fairly charge a keeper when he has HAND possession of the ball .

If you run at a keeper an collide just as he get the ball YOU will held accountable for charging into him. It means that on ANY challenge going in where a keeper CAN legally use their hands on the ball the attacker MUST be aware that the restrictions where a keeper cannot be challenged are enforced immediately when possession occurs so uncontrolled challenges that continue through are illegal & unwarranted. Once the hands are in possession you MUST bale from any challenge and by NOT leaving yourself time to jump over or swing away it is likely any contact is a foul. There are very few 50/50 balls where foot of attacker and hand of keeper occur as hand traps ball against body or ground any kick/challenge is illegal

All that said no good striker shies away from an opportunity to put the ball into the back of the net. Any good goal poacher will be tight in to put pressure on a keeper and not back away from a chance to score they just have to be aware of the LOTG that give a keeper a slight advantage on contentious balls as a safety consideration . I have seen many a youthful keeper in a battle for possession in the ball that touches hands or arm but falls away to be poked home by a close striker and have the keeper get hurt in the process as they try to fall on the ball catching a follow through kick. NO foul good goal upset coach

I have also shown yellow & cautioned as well as shown red card and sent players as young as 12 off for kicking a keeper's fingers when he had hold of the ball. Breaking a finger is a red card u-12 or not! At u10 if not a send off or caution as cards are marginally needed to effect change more so joint condemnation and instructions by coaches and referees to promote safe play with at the least a substitution & warning.

Consider a u-12 boys match a slide tackle lunge into a ball that the keeper was trying to pick up the keeper gets to the ball first but unnerved by the tackler still coming in drops the ball the tackler pokes the ball over the goal line while sliding through into and blowing out the keeper. Attacking coach claims the ball was there to be scored. As referee I saw the attacker slide tackle into the keeper and in point of fact that tackle was always going to contact the keeper with or without possession, it was in this case an unsafe challenge given the keeper did have momentary possession there was absolutely no way the tackler could alter his challenge, he has in effect also affected his release . I did not award the goal I restarted with a DFK out and I cautioned the striker all of 11 years old with a emphasis on the safety aspect of what had occurred.

Similar situation but this time it was a U-12 girls match a striker tried knock a bouncing ball into the goal, keeper had the ball rise up in her chest under her chin, had it in her arms bobbled & dropped it off to her right side the striker moved over to kick the ball as the keeper tried to fall onto top of the ball and took the lower strikers shooting leg into her upper chest and neck area. I awarded the goal called the coach in to treat the keeper he was rude an claimed I was unconcerned with the young lady's safety. While nothing could be further from the truth I realized he was angry his keeper was hurt and felt it was my fault for not blowing the whistle when she dropped the ball because the striker struck her while scoring.

I was very sure that the keeper dropped the ball likely because it was a tough bounce that caught her under the chin & she was unnerved at the striker right in front of her. I consulted with my AR, this was a sanctioned provincial tournament we had been doing matches all day from u-18 then u 16 then u 14 and now our last match a u-12 so I had plenty of confidence in his opinion and asked did she drop the ball due to striker contact? He said no she simply bobbled it and it dropped back onto the ground. The striker stepped over to her left and booted the ball into the goal as the keeper was trying to recover the ball .
Exactly as I saw it except the keeper bent down to try and grab it just as the striker kicked the ball falling essentially on top of the kicker's leg .
Here was a good goal BECAUSE the striker made no threatening challenge, she moved to the side and kicked a free ball lying on the ground BEFORE the keeper who also moved to the side could reach it by performing a reasonable kicking action. This was not an unsafe action designed to injure a keeper this was a kick to score a goal that the keeper tried to stop and got hurt accidently !

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andy
It always irritates me when adults at underage bring adult value to the game. An U 10 player has no intention of deliberately hurting an opponent. Somewhat disappointed that the referee did not step in to deal with the coachs behaviour.
From what you describe the goalkeeper did not have control of the ball and therefore it was available to be played. Control of the ball by the goalkeeper is defined in the Laws and I quote
** A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball when:
# the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds accidentally from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save
# holding the ball in the outstretched open hand
# bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air**
While deemed to be on control of the ball the goalkeeper may not be challenged
So when the goalkeeper in your scenario allowed the ball to roll away then it was in play and available for challenge. Now we can all gave a different opinion if what happened. Coaches should leave that up to the referee to deal with. At ULittles safety is paramount and referees should always err on the side of caution.

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