Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Refereeing the Hot Areas
by Randy Vogt, May 14th, 2014 1:58AM

TAGS:  referees, youth boys, youth girls


By Randy Vogt

In soccer, most people are actually very logical and realize that referees cannot get all their decisions correct. Yet it’s very important that the officials get the great majority of the calls correct, particularly with the situations in the hot areas.

If I asked Soccer Americans to name the two hot areas of the field where it’s vital to make the right decisions, I think that most would know that one of the hot areas is the penalty area. After all, a decision here often leads to a goal or disallowing a goal. If it’s a penal foul committed by the defense inside the penalty area, it’s a penalty kick, most of which are converted. If it’s a foul or offside committed by the attacking team, the free kick is in the other direction, sometimes after a goal is disallowed.

The other hot area of the field is by the team’s benches as the team’s coaches are there as well as their substitutes (if they are not warming up).

When I started refereeing in 1978, there was a referee and two assistants, who were called linesmen at the time. Pro soccer than added a fourth official and UEFA has added additional assistant referees in the past few years. How interesting that these additional officials were added in the hot areas of the bench (fourth official) and by the goal (additional assistant referees).

It’s a pet peeve of mine but I have seen far too many referees allow much more contact, especially by the defense inside the penalty area, than they allow at midfield. I agree with Soccer America columnist Paul Gardner that too many referees favor the defense. I am still told by a number of refs in pre-game instructions to “make sure that we do not allow an illegal goal” while they do not mention to “make sure that we do not disallow a good goal.”

We have probably all seen refs applaud the AR for raising the flag in making a good offside decision. I try to also applaud the AR when the flag is left down as the player running onto the ball was onside while the player in the offside position is not interfering with play, an opponent or gaining an advantage.

I have never been an additional assistant referee but I have been a goal judge in the old Major Indoor Soccer League. The concept is the same although if I screwed up in the MISL, I did not have millions of people suddenly know my name and that has happened with the AAR who goofed (during the Ukraine-England game). So that he can escape the limelight, I need not put his name here but he was the ref for the Austria-USA friendly last November in which the AR did not see that a USA shot had just gone over the goal line.

I have been a fourth official which I do not enjoy as much as being a referee or an AR as I like to run. But no matter which position I am assigned, I always try to do my best.

Whether the ref has the help of AR’s, a fourth official or additional assistant referees, it’s very important to be vigilant in the hot areas.

(Randy Vogt has officiated over 8,000 games during the past three decades, from professional matches in front of thousands to 6-year-olds being cheered on by very enthusiastic parents. In his book, "Preventive Officiating," he shares his wisdom gleaned from thousands of games and hundreds of clinics to help referees not only survive but thrive on the soccer field. You can visit the book’s website at

1 comment
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: May 14, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.
    Well put. I don't see the wrestling-in-th-18 on free kicks in the youth game like you'd see in a U19, men's league or the professionals, thankfully. It's one of the most difficult situations to deal with: 10-18 players inside the penalty area, all moving at the same time, with incidental and blatant contact, while the ball is in the air. How do you stop 4 or 5 defenders from wrestling with their marks, all at the same time? I've listened to FIFA referees give clinics and they're very zen while at the same time hyper-vigilant--it's like they belong to a religious order, don't know how they do it.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Heel pain known as 'Sever's disease' frequently affects young athletes    
Heel pain is one of the most common complaints in young athletes. This generally occurs during ...
Meet the 21 U.S. U-17 World Cup players    
The 21-player roster U.S. coach Richie Williams named for the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile ...
U.S. under-19 women open fourth camp Saturday    
The U.S. U-19 women's national team, under Coach Jitka Klimkova, will hold its fourth and final ...
Mexico names two U.S. products to its U-17 World Cup squad    
The deadline to name rosters for the 2015 U-17 World Cup that kicks off Oct. 17 ...
Remembering Dettmar Cramer reminds us: It's all about the ball     
The legendary German coach Dettmar Cramer once joked he felt sorry for the ball when he ...
Treating the common 'growing pain' known as Osgood-Schlatter syndrome    
Over the summer a lot of kids came through the office to get "tuned up" for ...
Now What Do We Do? Transitioning to small-sided games and birth-year registration    
Being a former club and state director of coaching, I dreamed of this day! As did ...
Two U.S. U-17s score in Europe as squad prepares for World Cup    
For the U.S. U-17 national team's last gathering before the U-17 World Cup in Chile in ...
The fall season's underway. Is your first-aid kit in order?    
With the fall season underway, you've made sure your team's first-aid kit is in order, right?
Kevin Hartman: 'Player growth has to be timed properly'    
Kevin Hartman, an MLS goalkeeper from 1997 to 2013, holds the MLS record for most games ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives