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Question Number: 31852

League Specific 10/1/2017

RE: Competitive Under 10

Scott Johnson of Beaverton, OR United States asks...

There was an interesting (and controversial) call in my son's U10 game today. The league is 7v7, bans goalie punts, and uses the build-out line.

Team A shot at Team B's goal, and the shot was saved by Team B's keeper, who took possession of the ball in his hands. Team B's coach then instructed him to hold the ball and not put it into play until Team A retreated behind the build-out line. Team A did not do so; and the referee (only a center ref, no linesmen) did not exhort team A's players to retreat behind the build-out line. Instead, after six seconds, he whistled Team B's keeper for holding onto the ball for too long, and awarded Team A an IFK at the top of the box. Fortunately for Team B, Team A did not convert the free kick, and the sequence of play did not affect the final outcome (team A won by a goal). Unfortunately for Team B, loud protests of this incident, along with a few other disputed calls, got their coach sent off.

I suspect that Team B's coach was, however, correct. If the build-out line is to apply when the keeper has the ball in hand (rather than only to goal kicks), it's ridiculous to demand the keeper release the ball within six seconds if the other team does not cooperate in retreating to behind the line. It appears the referee made two errors on this play--first, not enforcing the build-out line, and second, calling the six-second violation. (Calling a six-second rule in a U10 game, unless the keeper is obviously stalling, is itself debatable, even if the call is correct).

But this may be a place where the overlay of the build-out line rule on top of the regular Laws may lead to a misunderstanding.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
Thanks for sharing the scenario.
Lots going on in there on this particular scenario. Whether decisions where right or wrong getting ejected on an Under 10 game should not happen. Also bringing adult value to Underage soccer should not happen. The kids are there to play and to have FUN.
Now like any competition rule many eventualities are not thought through. The build out line is to encourage ball play and for defenders to play the ball out on the ground. You do not mention if Team B was looking for defenders to throw the ball to? The national headline rule means that once the opposing team is behind the build out line, the goalkeeper can pass, throw or roll the ball into play (punts and drop kicks are not allowed). After the ball is put into play by the goalkeeper, the opposing team can cross the build out line and play resumes as normal. The key there is that the ball is only put into play when the build out line condition by the attackers has been met. As a result the 6 second rule does not apply. The rule is mute on the sanction for not adhering to the rule. I suspect the ball back with the goalkeeper is the way to proceed.
Based on that high level rule there is no six second rule and the basis behind the games is player development not winning.
In this scenario I would like to have known if the build out line was being adhered to throughout the game and if it was being properly enforced. Also the referee may have felt that the instruction by the coach was a deliberate attempt to run down time.
So while Team coach B may have been technically correct it is not a free pass at irresponsible behaviour that gets himself ejected. Just allow the kids to play the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Scott.
I hold the very strong opinion that coaches need to shut their pie holes in these situations. It is a FACT that new or inexperienced referees tend to work the 7v7 matches enforcing these new build out line regulations that are more complicated than what their more experienced referees deal with at older age groups. Given the goal kick is different than a free kick and a throw in although the concept could be introduced as the same to do what the conceptual design of the build up line was to allow time for development.
I think the confusion will result in newer referees finding another reason to quit if coaches feel they need to chastise those holding the whistle for failing to get it 100% correct all the time.

There are many well intentions rules within youth soccer however I have noted HUGE confusion on the practical application and implementation of the use & concept of the build out line & the players duties as well as the keepers. At first I thought it quite simple but just like the 11 aside offside this simple concept that just can not resist being easily misunderstood or misapplied.

The idea of trying to prevent the ring of fire ( where they crowd around stopping outgoing kicks), the idea to not promote heading (safety thus no high punts) the idea of allowing time to make decisions (players need to clear Keeper requires time to set up) The idea to try to adapt a tactical use of the field by (passing the ball instead of long ball boom kicks.)
Coaches PLEASE grasp that it is a FUN game experience for kids it is not a cut throat competition as to who is a good or better coach. Referee and coach should be working together to instruct and teach youth not get sent and have the kids wondering what all the fuss is about?

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