Among the feedback we got from last week’s column on referee abuse (“Blaming the ref doesn't work”) were those who pointed out that sometimes coaches do feel a legitimate need to communicate with the referee -- especially when the coaches believe their players’ safety is at risk.
I have over the years asked experienced refs: What’s a reasonable way for coaches to express their grievances to refs?
"It's basically down to approach and attitude. All referees are happy to talk about the game at any convenient moment. A friendly approach and polite comment or question will draw a similar response."
That came from Stanley Lover, the renowned international referee, instructor, and author of several officiating books, who died in 2013.
I had given Lover the following scenario: What to do if their No. 6 is throwing elbows at your No. 10?
Lover suggested the coach say, “A nice match, referee, but that young Blue No. 10 is near to tears because of the rough play of the Red No. 6, particularly her flying elbows." Enough said, the ref has got the point.
Lover stressed that coaches be aware of their body language: "An aggressive movement; a menacing stance; a thrusting scowling face; a sharp accusing question, will put the official on the defensive and not invite an answer which satisfies either party."
Mark Butler of the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association told me:
"If there is a genuine concern, especially in the area of protecting a player, it is acceptable to speak to the referee. It's all about the approach. It's not screaming, or getting personal. … The approach should not be confrontational, boisterous, demonstrative -- and the discussion should not be prolonged."
Brian Hall, former World Cup ref and four-time MLS Referee of the Year, warned of a halftime talk when I queried him in a 2010 article:
"If a coach talks to the ref at halftime," Halls says, "what will the other coach or the spectators think?"
Hall suggested a quiet word with the assistant referee on the near side. A coach could say, in a positive manner, "Maybe you guys can discuss that at halftime ..."
Also acceptable, said Hall, is if the referee comes near the coach during the game -- perhaps at a throw-in or a free kick near the sideline -- and the coach asks the referee to keep her eye out on something, "in a professional, controlled, positive manner."
(Hall also strongly advocated coaches providing feedback on referees to the league's assignors -- and not just when it's a complaint.)
Randy Vogt, the author of "Preventive Officiating" and Youth Soccer Insider ref columnist, does believe halftime can be an appropriate time for a coach to approach the referee at the youth level:
“The coach should then tell the opposing coach what was said so the opposing coach does not believe his/her team is being accused of anything. If both coaches believe the ref needs to call more fouls, they can both approach the ref at halftime.”
Everyone agrees coaches must not approach in anger.
“The coach needs to be calm throughout the conversation,” says Vogt. “Coach could say something like, ‘I realize that you are trying your best but there have been fouls that have not been whistled, the challenges have become more robust because of this and I'm fearful that somebody is about to get hurt. Could you please start calling more fouls on both teams? I believe that would serve this game well.'
“The important thing is to ask for more fouls being whistled on both teams. Otherwise, the ref could think that the coach is more interested in winning the game than the safety of the players especially if the coach says something like, ‘Call more fouls on the other team as they are a bunch of dirty players who are coached that way!’ That's definitely the wrong thing to say and only exacerbates the situation.”
If the situation occurs in the second half or early in the game, Vogt suggests that in the older youth groups, the coach should ask the captain to communicate the coach's concerns with the same civility he recommends for the coaches.
If the kids are young and the coach cannot rely on a captain for communication, Vogt aggrees with Hall that when play is near the bench the coach can attempt to convey a message to the ref -- in a calm, concise manner.
“The important thing is for the coach or captain to be pleasant and the ref to receive the impression that he/she is more concerned about the safety of all the players than simply winning the game,” says Vogt.
(Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, coaches youth soccer for Bay Oaks/East Bay United SC in Oakland, Calif and is a Grade 8 referee. He is the co-author, with Tim Mulqueen, of The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper. Woitalla's youth soccer articles are archived at YouthSoccerFun.com.)
The bottomline is referees need to understand that, including themselves, no one is infallible. Their main job is to protect the players and ensure fair play throughout the match. As I have often stated, there are too many referees who love to be the center of attention, with their constant and oftentimes unnecessary blowing of their whistles to disrupt the flow of the game.
They are obviously needed, but so too are the players and coaches, otherwise there would be no matches.
Winston, I am wondering how the conclusion gets drawn that "there are too many referees who love to be the center of attention"? Can the same be said that there are too many coaches who want the referee to always side with their view of things, or that the referee shouldn't use his discretion and experience as tools to determine what is a foul or not, regardless of how the coach perceives the flow of the game? I don't think there is a conscientious referee out there who doesn't critique his own performance upon immediately leaving the field, and hopes to always improve his/her craft as the number of games called adds up.
I've never seen a referee's performance improve because players and coaches were berating them. Weak refs will withdraw and stop calling anything (which generally benefits the less skillful team, since additional fouls can negate the skill advantage, so if you're team is not as talented, this may be a winning strategy). Or they will be swayed by whichever coach yells at them louder (or last), which is never pretty. Jaded, tired, "I can't take this anymore" refs will strike back, and call everything against the coaches/players yelling at them ("how you like them apples?"). Good refs will ignore the dissent and not let it affect their calls. The best refs deal with the dissent and get back to the game. So berating refs is almost without exception going to make a game worse. But the largely unrecognized aspect of referee abuse is how it affects the players (and not just their dissent). When coaches yell at refs, so do players. When players yell at refs, they focus on the refs instead of how they're playing. Unfocused players don't play well.
The biggest issue in USA soccer is lack of knowledge of simple rules of the game and respect for them. Only in USA do we see refs not hand out obvious yellow or red cards in travel and elite soccer. A trip from behind as last man is straight red. No different from 2 tecnicals in a basketball game. I had a player break his arm on such a play. No card. Ref said " Coach, I gave you a PK!! Thats enough!!" They were U8 Division 1. That kid knew exactly what he was doing and knew he got away with it. So no real positive outcome of that play or game and a broken arm to a very skilled player that beat that defender on the dribble. Hey, but lets be nice to the poor refs, right!!
Kent I think you have spot on comments.
But don't forget about the parents and I'm referring to younger teams. You have to gage what level of physical contact they are comfortable with soccer is a contact sport.
Contact between players don't mean it's a foul, you will have players that are almost double in size than others and have much higher body strength than the short skinny one.
Do I call a foul every time on the bigger player even though it's a fair challenge, of course not.
But you will have parents that think it's foul every time one of their player get knocked off the ball.
And you have inexperienced parents that think any body contact is a foul. So you have to be mindful of the parents on what they can tolerate but at same time make sure you allow contact that is allowed. And blow the whistle to calm down a player that is to aggressive. It's a fine balancing act and not that easy at times when teams play at different levels of skills.
I vividly remember a U10 game with a player that have autism and scared to death of the ball, but he wanted to play and kudos to him, but I sure as hell had to protect him at all times during the game and not let anyone tackle him.
If you read the first comment you see why it's so hard to referee, let the game flow and not whistle to much, well I can speak I think for most referees that could spell disaster and game gets out of hands.
What u told us that would be a denying of obvious goal scoring opportunit,y dogso.
And straight red card. But does not mean all of us don't know that rule, or not handing out cards.
We all hand out yellow cards but they mean nothing unless they are 2 in the same games.
They don't keep track of yellows during the season a player can have multiple cards during a season and no suspension only red cards will suspend you.
I'm sorry about your player and no red card was handed out. But I think most of us would have issued that red card, but reality a 1 or 2 game suspension don't repair his arm.
But I also think the kid who tackle him didn't feel that good. That is a loose loose situation for everyone involved.
@ref evaluator(?), in your scenario, you may want to check with your referee association/coordinator whether they refrain from (by policy) administering send-offs until a certain age is reached . And as you probably know, the skill level and the three D's are also to be considered in DOGSO. BTW, you shot most of your credibility with your first sentence, which I understand is your opinion, misguided or not.
Chris has a good point, it's a U 8 game and they don't think like us. A good coach would take that player out himself and have good long talk and if that does not sink in, keep the player on the bench for a game or two. I think if a coach benches a player that will do way more in making sure it wont happen again then league suspension.
That way it comes from the person in charge of the kid and team.
I think this is what mike tried to perway in the first article. That coaches need to take responsibility of their action and how that translate to players and parents.
Uffe, you're right, my comments were addressing competitive U14 and up games. Chris, good comments. Ref evaluator, your comments seem a bit harsh toward referees, especially if you're actually involved in evaluating them (as your moniker implies). I've also never seen a U8 commit anything close to a red card foul, so a kid committing a professional foul at that level should probably be seeing a psychiatrist (or if they are following instructions of the coach, then the coach should). Most fouls in the youngest age groups are either accidental or because the kids don't know the rules, so at that level, referees (if there are any) should be educators more than enforcers. And of course, the most inexperienced refs will be doing those games, so they may not yet know the rules, because they have to start somewhere. And you can only be in the classroom so long, at some point refs have to try things out on the field to realize what they don't yet know. And as Chris said, most refs trying to do a good job critique their performance after every game.
uffe, my point is that if that player gets the red card with 20 minutes left in the game when we were losing 5-2 then everyone understands the consequence of that play. Players, coaches, parents. Thats alot of people. Word gets around and that single call influenced many people in a positive way. A better understanding of the game and perhaps much less injuries. More goals scored, better defenders, more reward for tecnical players which is what this country desperatly needs. In Illinois in Chicago we have the worst refs. We have a big soccer community but terrible refs.
Chris, I did. Its a hidden rule. In ref school they tell you to use your judgement in using red cards and that you shouldnt be so quick to send out a U8 because "remeber they are there to have fun". I agree they are to have fun. But a player taken down only because he beat the degfender and he wanted him to stop him from scoring at any means is not having the fun he should be. good tecnical skill should be rewarded over lack of skill of defenders or lack of good coaching or ref feeling bad for unskilled defender. I am talking about travel soccer where players are there to play at next level and to learn the rules of the game as they stand. Not as refs want to enforce them. I may have shot my credibility with you but it is my strong opinion as I have been all over the country and seen similirly bad reffing everywhere at the highest youth levekls wich is USSDA. The best reffing I have seen have been in local Hispanic non US sanctioned leagues.
uff, if you have reffed enough games you would know that there are as few good coaches as there are few good refs that would make adequate call. Its not about who likes you. Its about enforcing the principles of the game for higher education. So by your excuse then coaches will keep them in so they dont hate them as well. Too sensitive in this country when it comes to soccer. Dont call it Travel then. Dont call it USSDA. Call it Rec A or Rec A+. At this U8 game I would have red carded the player but not sat him out for next game. I would let them game be played with a man less. this way this player learns a valubale lesson as his teammates and all that is lost are 20 minutes of play for him. You cant leave it to the coach to do the right thing when it is your job as a ref to enforce it. Why not let the coaches just ref the game then if they are always trusted to do the right thing? You see what I mean?
Kent, I am a coach and ref. You have never seen a U8 last man take out a U8 from behind?? really?? Or do you think that action alone does not merit a red card if you are a U8?? What exactly do you mean by a "proffessional foul" A last amn foul is a red card. Thats the rule. You can question wether it was proffessional foul or not but in either situation it merits a red card. If a U8 understands this in simple terms he will avoid the foul or play better defense to avoid that situation. position himself better. So a well given red carded is a positive in more than one way. I am harsh because I have coached many games and see that the reffing is getting worse in my state every year to the point that most of the 200+ games i coach a year are badly reffed and 1/2 of those are racist refs. So pardon me if I seem alittle frustrated. I was at USSDA showcase and wasnt surprised on how bad the reffing was there. In 3 games I saw 3 PK's that should have been called and 10 yellow cards that should have been issued that were not. Maybe they werent proffessional fouls?
Well then, I guess we should just have local Hispanic non US sanctioned leagues. That certainly isn't racist is it?...... Parents cause and have enough trouble when unnecessary and useless athletic expectations are placed on children. My point was, there has to be a consideration that the maturity level, and understanding of a send-off situation by a child even up to 12 years old may not be what you think it should be. There could also be social repercussions for the kid as well. Bottom line, be careful what you wish for, cause even the highly skilled kids can check-out of wanting to be part of the game, and develop a perception about soccer that it's all adult Bullsh*t.
Ref evaluator, I've been coaching for 25 yrs (and reffed for almost 20), and I never saw a U8 commit a foul that a red card was needed to address (though I've not been around the youngest ages for a while, but I doubt they've changed that much). U8 kids should be playing small sided games where the score doesn't matter; we always had coaches supervise those games (no refs), and while some kids inevitably misbehave (usually pushing or shoving), the coaches would take them aside and talk to them, and have them sit down until they were able to control their behavior. At those ages, the issue is usually more child-development than soccer-related. Red cards exist to punish malicious or game-changing fouls, to discourage players from committing such fouls. If you have a 7 yr old committing such fouls, I think there are more than soccer issues involved (especially if he had no regrets about his role in breaking the kid's arm). Maybe the league structure creates a hyper-competitive atmosphere that puts too much pressure on winning a U8 game. As an experienced soccer person, I'd hope you'd agree that winning a U8 game is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things...
Chris, I dont get why thats racist. Can you explain? The better effed leagues that I have seen happen to be Hispanic. Thats a fact. Why is this racist?? If a U8 is skilled enough to beat another U8 off the dribble then he should not be punished by allowing a last defender to simply take him out without enforcing "the laws of the game". No matter the maturity level, players can learn to think and understand that a challenge from behind, if done wrong can result in their exection from the game. Simple. The ever so "trusted to do the right thing" coach can easily yell at his player to be careful right before the challenge from behind as the coach will know that the ref will issue a red as he should, in the case that we had refs that were there to ref. Not to evaluate wether he will have people hate him or not. There could be social repercussionsfor a kid as well?? LOL. You see hwat I mean?? Too sensitive but only when it comes to soccer. That just simply makes no sense. By your theory, could there not be social repercussion as well for the player getting fouled and missing the clear chance to score a goal?? You guys crack me up. A red card for fouling a player as last man is not Adult bullshit. Its the God Damn Law of the God Damn Game. But you guys are making my point. Our reffing sucks.
Kent, I agree with you on that u8's should play where score doesnt matter 100% but the fact is they do. So my argument is not against that. My argument is for all the leagues that do have U8 playing to win. For all the clubs that charge $1500 for U8's to play a year and fool the parents thinking they are learning and getting better when getting wins over be overly aggressive. Red cards are not exclusive to punish "malicious' fouls. IS a foul from behind as last man (malicoius or not) not a game changing foul? Kent everything goes together. Winning at U16 is meaningless to me. My point is that we need to protect the skillfull players. Too many refs are worried about players having a bad experience in a game and therefore make silly excuses for not handing out red cards as they should. "oh, he is only U8, he doesnt know any better" or "A Pk is enough, no need for a card as well, He learned his lesson". Who is the ref to fully know if player learned his lesson?? Who is he to know if U8 didnt know any better?? A ref is there for that game to enforce the laws of the game. Thats it. he doesnt see that same group of kids many more times that same year. Not his job to try and guess positiviely. the problem is that by trying to be the nice guy, refs are protecting the wrong batch of kids and hurting the skilled ones. You cant have it both ways. If a last man is not red carded on a foul, he will not be careful with his challenges the next time and the time after that. Thats a reward. The skilled player that beat him off the dribble and should have had a shot on goal is therefore punished as he did not witness the correct reprucussion that should have been enforced by the ref. That confuses the skilled player and maybe he will not see the benefit of beating someone and the dribble and just pass it to someone else so he doesnt get fouled and get his arm potentially broken. Now that is a huge negative that this country "specifically" can not afford. We desperatly need those players. We dont need to make the brutes feel ok. We have plenty of those. You cant have it both ways. Coaches at U8 are as crazy about winning as they are at U16. Parents are as dumb about results at that age as well. So if a ref rewards the brutes then what he is doing is rewarding bad coaching. He is sending wrong message out to parents who dont know any better. He is helping bad and irresponsable coaching. The team with the skill is therefore jeopordized. The coach doing the right thing risks losing his players to the winning team for wrong reasons. The skilled players see little benefit of playing with skill as consequence. This is same at U10 and even at U14. From my experience good refs (whcih are few) do a good job from U8-U16 and bad ones suck everywhere. The only issue I have had with the good ones is their sensitvity when it comes to issuing the proper red. Like i said before, if you dont want to enforce the laws of the game as you should then do not call it Competitive Soccer.
Ref, I have never said refs should not give cards, I was only questioning the necessity of red-carding a U8 player. I would suggest that at that age, it would be more appropriate for a coach to take the player off the field and correct the behavior. If a coach is applauding such behavior instead of correcting it, the coach is not fit to coach young players. If you think more red cards need to be given to U8 players, I'd have to see the games you're witnessing to know if I agree with you. Where I disagree with you (and the subject of the column) is that yelling at refs who don't issue the cards you think are deserved is the right course of action. Even if a ref is not giving a card that is deserved, yelling at him won't help the situation. Talk to the ref at halftime or after the game (if you can do so in a calm manner), or the AR during the game (briefly), or take it to the assigner. Yelling at refs doesn't weed out the bad ones, it just discourages lots of people from doing it (especially young people), and inevitably, some who would have been good refs quit. In many places, refs are in short supply, so a lot of bad ones are put on games (because they're seen as better than none, which may or may not be true in some cases). By the way, I do agree that at most levels, referees hesitate to give cards (in adult leagues, many refs just talk to the first guy who commits a yellow card infraction instead of giving the card, as if somehow, if the ref tells the player it's not acceptable, he won't do it again, when in reality, it just shows what you can get away with and still not get a yellow card). And of course, a player who deserves to be ejected should be. So I"m all for protecting skillful players (and even unskillful ones!) and encouraging refs to crack down on foul play, but context matters; cards are used differently at a U12 rec league than they are at a competitive U18 game. Referees have some discretion in how the laws are applied (see how often the laws say "in the opinion of the referee").
Kent, are we talking about what refs should do or what coaches should do?? It is not the ref's job to leave up to good coaching. You should know this. Why do you need see my specific games to understand what cards should be given. A last defender foul is straight red. No matter what. You can choose to ignore that Fifa rule and obvious call if you want but the right call is only one. Any other call or non call is a complete disregard for the rule. I never said yelling at the refs was right course of action. What i said was that if you are to understand why a ref will start calling a game one sided when getting yelled at then you must also understand why a coach will yell if ref sucks. Both are wrong. Yelling at refs wont help the situation as much as ref retaliating and calling it one sided. I hear alot of talk about refs being discouraged to ref again but I dont see too many looking to improve their knowledge of the game to avoid getting yelled at. Reason why refs are short supply is beacuase they dont make enough. pay them more and you will see refs inporve. that simple. I agree that one should try to talk to players first but by 2nd foul its obvious who the dirty players are. My only point is obvious red cards like last man foul shouldalways be reds, no matter what. It is as part of the game as tecnical fouls are for basketball. Only in soccer you dont get 2 chances to foul as last man. But you certainly get more than 5 "non malicious" fouls to give. It is hard enough to score for Americans so why not enforce a FIFA rule to the full extent to make sure our skilled attacking players dont get discouraged from attacking?? If you have been around that long you certainly of heard many coaches at U14+ scream about a PK call against them even though it was clearly obvious to everyone watching. The biggest reason that coach yeels is because he is under pressure to win. Its his job which he gets paid to do. This coach probably coach's at some point at U8 level as well. Same concept.
The game I was at where my player broke his arm, the parents on other side were mostly Hispanic. I could hear them telling their players in Spanish to challenge hard and to slide tackle. Ref did not speak Spanish. Is it his job to speak Spanish as well or to understand it?? No, just like its not his job to coach players or feeling bad for their lack of knowledge of the game. his only job is to enforce Fifa laws. thats it. If a ref hands out a red card on that play he follows FIFA rules. The only reason that parents would yell is because they dont want those rules applied to their son. Coach will yell only becuase it will possibly cost him the win. neither are good reasons to not make that call.
If I am the parent of kid who broke his arm I sue the league for that play and for ignoring Fifa rules that they must abide by. Why wait until that happens?
The reason I inferred it as "racist" is to show everyone who reads this how ridiculous you are. Secondly, I WAS referring to the kid who is sent-off dealing with social repercussions,(not the ref) including not wanting to play the game any further because what people may do to him or say about him. guys like you for instance) These are kids, you know?? Lastly, you sound like a small, self-pitying man and you should realize by now you are in such the minority on this you don't even register as a blip on the radar. Have a nice life. BTW, your "last defender" interpretation has never been a stand-alone criteria as I stated before. If you are so knowledgeable, tell me the four/sometimes five considerations before sending off a player for DOGSO. Yawn.......
Oh ok, thats a good reason to call it "racist". great job. I was referring to that kid as well. So you as a ref are worried about a kid that should have gotten a red card but did not because of what other people will think of him or because he might decide to quit. Got it. Thats certainly better than actually learning that a last man foul merits a straight red. Keep them playing no matter how bad they do it or if they continue to disregard basic rules. you got it. What a great ref!!!
Chris, how about the player that has a clear chance to score but is taken down on a reckless foul from behind. Are you not worried about him?? Thats one of the most dangerous plays in soccer, in case you didnt know. What if that player decides to not play anymore after getting fouled like that?? What if he does continue playing but does not attack the goal as much because he scared of getting blind sided?? Do you not see how dumb your argument is?? A last man foul on a goal scoring opportunity is a straight red. thats the rule. 5 considerations?? You crack me up
What do you do when a forward kicks a goalie in trying to get the ball?? Do you protect the goalie?? Why?? They are only kids who cant control their bodies as much, right??
You should enlighten yourself by reading publications such as "advice to referees on the laws of the game" as well as others on the subject, and since you couldn't name any of the four/five considerations, you've just proven your ignorance. You could "what if" til your blue in the face and 'til you feel your argument warrants validation........bottom-line is at some point there has to be adults in the room (at the field) and understand and weigh what the greater good of an action can or cannot come from what you suggest is "basic laws". I would have absolutely no problem dealing with a coach or parent like you, and by the time I was done authorizing you, you would crawl away wondering what the hell happened to your manhood. And again your piss-poor last scenario....next your gonna' tell me you have a crystal ball and know intent of all players as well. None of your points in that scenario are committed in a vacuum my friend, and the job of the ref is to determine, with his discretion and experience if there was a foul at all, if there existed incidental contact during a fair challenge etc.......I thought you were a ref?????? Duh.......blurb blurb blurb, swim towards the light...hurry
Chris, there is no need to name 5 considerations in the scenario/play I described. Are you saying a last man foul on a player going to goal only merits a red card in certain situations?? Please explain.
I do not suggest what basic laws are. they are in writing. check them out at fifa.com. The intent does not matter when you are the last man fouling an attacking player. Its a straight red. Its either you make the right call or you dont. You are iether a proffessional ref or you are not. That simple. A last man foul does not have to be incidental to merit a red card. But thankyou very much. you more than proved my point. You are a great example of the reffing in USA.
You were quick to say how you are worried about the player committing the foul getting a red card for not being able to control his body but yet have no worries about the player getting fouled from behind. In making the call you either help one U8's feelings or the other. Cant help both. The problem with refs like you is you think its your job to "help" kids with your calls or non calls. Thats not your job. By helping one you are hurting the other. A challenge from behind that misses the ball but takes the man down is a foul and a red card for being the last man. that simple. What you guys should do is make your own version of the game and start a new sport thats more sensitive to the clumsy kids.
Ref, paying a U8 coach and only letting him keep his job if he wins is the bigger problem than refs not giving out red cards at U8. Less focus on what's written in the laws, more focus on the big picture. U8 should be fun, lots of ball touches, lack of pressure to win. They are young kids at play. Adults need only interfere when they don't play nicely, and should give the game back to the kids as much as possible. If the atmosphere is so hyper-competitive that coach's feel more pressure to win than play good soccer, it's not the fault of the refs and the kids, the blame lies with the parents running the league.
"A trip from behind as last man is straight red." Since Ref Evaluator has posted this on two separate articles, clarification is needed. USSoccer: https://ussoccer.app.box.com/s/xx3byxqgodqtl1h15865/1/629027965/18682301318/1
"Denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity (DOGSO):
Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:• the distance between the offence and the goal• the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball• the direction of the play• the location and number of defenders• the offence which denies an opponent an obvious goalscoring opportunity may be an offence that incurs a direct free kick or an indirect free kick." So there are mitigating circumstances that might lead a referee to conclude NOT to give a red in some cases. Ref Evaluator is also conflating DOGSO and a tackle from behind. A tackle from behind usually leads to a card, often red but not necessarily. So as in many instances, it depends.
Kent, again I agree with you. A U8 coach needing to win is the bigger problem but again the ref has the power over that. It is not the ref's job to leave it to the coach to do the right thing. It's the ref's job to make the right call. Thats it. A ref isnt there to comfort a player playing at a competitive level which in most leagues starts at U8 and in some cases U7. The ref is to blame if he allows a push from behind to go unpunished as he will contribute to that bad coach's agenda.
R2, number of defenders?? If it is a clear gola scoring opportunity and it is the last defender to take down a player from behind this is always a red card. When a player is going on goal and has passed a last defender and this same defender takes him down from behind it is always a red card foul. When it is not a player on goal and it is not a last man a foul from behind is always at least a yellow but could be a red if there was no intent to play the ball. Most of the argument here is about a deseerved red card is too jharsh for a U8. My point is if it is too harsh then dont play competitive.
The problem with the notion that refs should be lenient wityh younger players is when is it right to red card a player ?? At U10? U12? I dont know where you guys get the notion that a U8 cant control his body from fouling another player. I have seen U14 low division players that are clumsier than my U8's, in many cases. I am sure there will be different opinions as to at what age is ok to red card a last defender who fouls a player on goal. My point is that should not be up to the ref. Competitive means competitive. Its not a progession of the aplying the rules. If you are ready to compete at U8 then you should be ready to have laws of game applied to you to the full extent. If you are not ready for this dont play competitively. Coaches dont tell your parents their kids are ready to compete if there is a concern of their kids wanting to quit after a red card. If they are that soft then they should wait. There is nothing wrong with playing rec or AYSO for those kids.
The other thing I take from this conversation is that there was an overwhelming concern for the defender getting discouraged if basic rule applied to him but no concern whatsoever for the attacking skilled player getting discouraged after getting fouled from behind. For a country that lacks skilled goal scorers can we all see the pattern?? The people wanting to protect the clumsy defender over the skilled forward is overwhelming here. You cant favor both in that situation. We all learned something here
You really need to quit with your diatribe. Since you have so much time to rant: #1 I never referred to being "lenient" towards anyone, that is your conclusion, #2 I never said intent matters, I was referring to you because you infer that you know why a "last defender" foul, as you call it, took place. Refs gave up the concept of considering intent a couple decades ago btw #3 Nowhere did I say I was "worried" about anyone or player, again your conclusion #4 No where did I say anything about any age group or their relative "body control" . You need serious remedial English, or at least a conversational reading/writing comprehension course. Maybe a Debate Club or Toastmasters International.
I think ref coordinater needed to went his frustrations and I can understand that.
But to say half of the refs sucks is just plain wrong.
I have to say bad refs are in minority but to those games stick in your mind, yes they do.
And remember at those young ages you will have new refs and especially teens doing the games, rec or class 1. So I think it's important that coaches behave and take responsibility for his or her players.
And I also understand why he is upset it was his kid that got hurt. But really how many injuries like that do we see in the big sceme of things.
The hundreds of games I done never once have I had a kid get badly hurt. Unfortunate things happens but really do any of us think the U8 boy meant to hurt anyone, don't think so.
But back to my early point, parents that was screaming like he told us either learn from the coach or coach never put a stop on those behaviors. So to blame the ref is sad comments.
Coaches need to create an environment that those behavior are not acceptable.
Nothing is worse than coming to the field with coaches screaming and parents yelling instructions to the players and if you are new to refereeing it's a tall order to handle.
And I have seen this so many times in the travel teams U8-U12 parents are so excited and their little messi is the next wonder kid and all about winning, to hell with learning sportsman ship and have fun. It's all about winning.
I recommend a movie called stand tall.
It's the high school football team from concord ca.
They had a winning streak of over 150 games.
Check out the dad of the star player how many of those have we seen on the side line, oh many of em especially in the younger ages.
But the coach that is a man I would like on the side line at every game I referee.
Uffe, when saying bad refs are a minority who are you comparing to? Yes, 1/2 the games I coached this year were badly reffed. I can understand a young teen wanting to make some money and even an older guy that can hardly move do the same. What I cant stand are refs that dont know the basic rules of the game and to top it off they want to be compassionate on the very few obvious calls they do know like they are running a daycare center.
One broken arm is too much. How many do you need to see before you understand that you need to pull a red card. In my situation is was my player who beat a defender that caught up to him to push him from behind without playing the ball inside the 18. He wasnt expecting the push as he was well ahead of this defender. Why is a red card such an argument in this case in this conversation amongst all these great refs?? "oh, because he was a u8". Come on guys. The player that broke his arm is also a U8!! The way you guys try to bring up the 5 blah blah blah to make a case for not red carding such a play only because he is a U8. It is just plain dumb to not red card a player in this situation. this situation is a perfect example of an overall problem. The ref at this game is a top ref in the league. Thgis league is one of the biggest in our state.
Uffe, the U8 did not mean to break the kid's arm, and that really is beside the point. He meant to stop my forward from scoring. He achieved exactly what he meant to do with that push and that is a much more bigger problem in general overall in this country. We lack goal scorers and at the same time we dont red card a play like this because we feel bad for the kid that fouled the kid with skill. Am i drinking crazy pills??
Uffe, the coach is British. The club is the biggest and an MLS franchise. You along with the others further prove my point. Its not the refs job to leave it up to coaches. Its not his job to understand different languages. Its not his job to make players feel good or bad. Its his job to follow the laws of the game. Its his job to not care who likes him or hates him. he is not to blame for the parents , players or coach's. He is to blame for further injuries on such plays and lack of skilled players wanting to play again or attacking on goal for not following procedure. That defender was probably told the same thing. "Don't worry about it. you didnt mean to break his arm." I directly blame this ref for not doing his job. If I were parent I would sue his organization. And that gentlemen is what it is going to take for refs to do their job as reasoning does not help.
Ref, I don't think any of us that have responded to you are in favor of referees allowing defenders to brutalize players without punishment. And I'm sure we would agree that there are a lot of bad referees out there. While I personally have never seen a U8 player do anything that would justify a red card, I will concede that it is possible (it's a big world). But a lack of red cards at U8 is not what is preventing the US from developing skillful players. And even in the case you cite, unless the ref let previous fouls that deserved red cards go, giving a red card to the kid who broke the kid's arm wouldn't have prevented the injury. If the kid is a normal 8 yr old, knowing he broke another kid's arm will be a more severe punishment than any card would be. My concern with your focus on the actions of the referee is that the bigger problem is an atmosphere that stifles creativity. A program that is so competitive at U8 that its players need refs to give them red cards so they won't commit such fouls has much bigger problems than lenient referees.
Kent, for you to say that you have never seen a U8 do anything to justify a red card, means 1 of 2 things. You either have no reffed or seen many U8 games or you feel a ref should not red card a U8 on a play like I just mentioned, brutel or not, broken arm or not. If a lack of red cards is not preventing skilfull players from developing it certainly doesnt help. And the red card situation I speak of is just an example on our naive view of soccer and its rules and of course that has alot to do with the developemnt of skillfull players. Its a big part. How can we develop top players when red cards are such taboo at U8-U12?? Like a deliberate handball inside the 18? I see this all the time and hardly ever see a red card handed. I can go on and on with so many situations that merit immediate yellows and straight reds. Like I said, I have been around the USA and it is bad everywhere. Even at the prestigious USSDA events. Just plain bad.
Kent, Kent, Kent, Giving a red card to the kid that broke the other kid's arm wouldnt have prevented the injury?? The broken arm is beside the point but lets entertain this. As far as injuries go, that red card would in fact prevent "future" injuries to other players and, whats more important to all of you, future red cards to other players that witnessed penalty in that game. The positive outcome of this particular red card would be better knowledge of the game in a realistic situation. The most sever punishment of a broken arm is to the player with the broken arm who is out for 3 months and to add salt to that wound is the fact that the ref did not do his freaking job!!
Its not the ref's job to try and figure out if the U8 is a "normal" U8 or if "the other" kids borken arm is enough punichment for him (I am laughung at this while I am typing it). A ref is not a 3rd coach on the field. He is not a soccer game counselor or social worker. He is a ref. How is a player refrained by commiting fouls at any age?? By the ref doing his job. Thats how!!! Why are we talking about the program now or how competitive the U8 division is?? Thats not the argument!! I didnt start that league or estabish the U8 division as competitive. The fact it is there and it is country wide. Thats a seperate debate. My point is if they exist and are competitive, then the y must follow the laws of the game to the full extent and refs should be there to enforce. if coaches, parents, players think laws of the game are too harsh they should either find another sport to play or start playing "competitively" at an older age. That has nothing to do with the ref making the right call. Its not his responsability ot evaluate what is too harsh for a U8 or even consider it. What age do you start red carding players then?? U9? U10? U12? U14? Thats another debate where fewer of us will agree on same. SOme players in some parts of the country are more advanced than others but still not up to ref to evaluate and act on his opinions of what age appropriate calls to make. Competitive is compettive. Rec is rec. Ref accordingly. Stop treating kids that want to learn and play competitively like they are dumb.
I'm not treating kids as dumb, I'm treating them as kids, instead of little professionals. This is the basis for the curriculum of the National Youth License (developed by Sam Snow), which I highly recommend; it is truly an eye-opening experience. I developed and ran a skills program for kids U6-U10 for 10 years, so I've seen my share of U8 games, and I've never seen anything close something that warranted a red card. We have had kids with behavior issues, who we made leave the game and sit down when they acted out, but we didn't "eject them"; when they settled down, they were able to play again. We did not use refs for our small-sided games, and things went quite well, which is why I suggested that the competitive format is probably a bigger impediment than lenient referees. Around here, intense competition starts at U10, and those games are actually some of the most intense around because the parents still all think their kids is the next Messi, and many are getting involved with competitive soccer for the first time and cannot restrain their enthusiasm, which is often only match by their lack of soccer knowledge. I've also refereed for almost 20 yrs, and noticed that most players do not consciously cheat until around U12, so that is where you start to see cards becoming a bigger factor. That is not to say there aren't a few U10 players who do that, so I'm not saying a card is never warranted , but such behavior is unusual, and I'd give kids the benefit of the doubt at that age when I wouldn't at U16. If players deserve to be carded, by all means, let 'em have it. But if you want to help develop skillful soccer players, I'd suggest putting your efforts into getting your local club to create an atmosphere that encourages skill, rather than trying to get referees to correct the deficiencies of the club development programs by giving out more cards. At the higher levels, I do think a lack of cards is a big problem (especially in the adult amateur leagues). Way too many refs talk to players instead of carding them, or give players cards for dissent instead of for the fouls that create the dissent, or give yellow cards instead of red cards. Leniency is a problem, just not so much at U8. I am not encouraging leniency, just perspective.
What does that even mean?? Little proffessionals?? look man you keep missing the point. The competitive leagues exist!! Many of them at U8!!! They are treating them like little proffessionals!! Parents sign them up as little proffessionals !! Coaches are paid to coach them as little proffessionals !!! So why are you reffing them differently?? If you really want to take the high road on this matter then why dont you refuse to ref U8 games?? Or why dont you tell the leagues and clubs you ref for that they are crazy to have U8's compete for wins?? by reffing those games you agree to the terms they compete by. You did the right thing when you ran your own skills session. that was not the argument.
So we agree that U8's shouldnt compete for wins. Around me all the leagues compete at U8. Some at U6 or U7. I would rather have your progrm here but we dont. You havent run into a red card situation because your program was no designed to play to win. Certainly with your group of kids had the format been to compete and their mindset was to compete and their parents mindset was to compete and yell on sidelines you can imagine a few red card and yellow card situations. Most because they didnt know better. Benefit of the doubt?? An accidental take down from behind on a player going on goal is a straight red. Where is benefit of doubt there?? Problem is you guys think that a red card should be with full intention. That worries me. I have seen accidental fouls like that at U16. Straight red. Its not about behavioral issues. Its a simple call that is part of the game.
I run my club and we have the most skilled players in our city at every age. We do things completely differently from others around us. Skill is #1 and #2 on our list. Very hard to coach vs the nonsense that refs do and the nonsense that other club coaches and players get away with especially when they win thinking they were the better team. Thats why its a shame that refs cant do their job in the only leagues available to us. They are scared to pull a red like in the situation I gave you. My skilled player saw that his efforts and skill were not taken into consideration over the age of the kid that took him down "intentionally". I have the video of that play. The league did nothing about it as well. Its a shame that you think that at U8's they should get "special consideration" in handling a red card situation. If the reffing doesnt improve or make the right calls then what is the point of having a U8 division?? Or teaching our players how to play?? No wonder USA is far behind. All they have to do is read this column. If Brazilains Argentinians could read this they would laugh at us. No doubt.
Ref, I only reffed U8 when I was just starting out, many years ago when I was just learning the trade, so I don't actively go out and not apply the LOG to such games. And since U8 is where young referees go to learn (not many other places to get such practical experience), coaches at that level should expect mistakes. But as a referee, I would think you would agree that the LOG are applied differently in different contexts (World Cup is different than U8). I would hope that you are not advocating "by the book" refereeing where referees mechanically apply the laws regardless of the circumstances (field conditions, fatigue factors, importance of the game, history of the teams, attitudes of the players, etc.). While referees can't just make up stuff as they go along, they are supposed to interpret things; refereeing is an art, not a science. Since you run your club, why enter your U8s in a competitive league (especially if your players are being hacked and referees are lousy)? Why not do an in-house program, and invite other clubs to send representatives to play with/against your kids to keep it interesting? Maybe just invite one of the U8 teams in the competitive league to practice with your team and have a scrimmage at the end. You could demonstrate how much better a non-competitive format could be.
A mistake is one thing and a complete reluctance to pull a red because of other factors that have nothing to do with laws of game is other. Like giving a U8 special consideration. Again you miss my point. Here is me being a ref and using my common sense. I didnt sign those kids up to play competitively for points and win 1st place to move up a division. I didnt hire the coach to win this game and get "results". I was only hired to ref a "competitive" game. If a coach or parent were to challenge a red card call i would simply tell them "if you think that ur son should not get the laws of the game applied to him then you should strongly consider playing rec until he is emotianally, physically, etc ready for it."
field conditions, fatigue factors, importance of the game, history of the teams, attitudes of the players, etc. HAVE absolutely nothing to do when a last man takes down an attacking player going on goal. If you think otherwise you are not a good ref. You can be Picasso if you want but the LOG are in writing. you either follow them or you dont. You are either a good ref or you are not. I sign them up because if I didnt I wouldnt have U8's to coach. They would go to the next club that does sign U8's up to competitive leagues. The clubs around me are all desperate for u8's since those are potential 6-8 year paying customers. you must not be that involved if I have to explain all this to you. Everything that you say is what makes sense in a perfect world. We are the opposite of a perfect world when it comes to soccer in USA.
So I have to comply with the nonsense of playing U8 competitively so that i can help those players and parents understand skill is more important than wins. i have to do parent/coach meetings 2-3 times a month. So the U8 competitive play is the norm around me. The only solution is for refs and league to treat those U8's for what they signed up for. Competitve play. then if all think is too harsh then your solution can be considered collectively. But if kids are being treated unrealistically when signing them up for "top level" play then when does this notion stop?? I have coached top division U14's where obvious reds were not given on last man fouls on goal. But dont piss off the Ref with your words!! Thats an easy red card to get!!
Didnt the USSF "reccomend" small side play for U8-U14's to all of its own sponsored USSDA clubs?? Did they all comply?? Hell no!! Why?? Because it was only a suggestion. Now it will be mandatory. Why?? because the suggestion didnt work !!! Your suggestions for coaches to use their common sense in a competitive league for U8's are laughable. Not by me. Money talks. Parents pay to have the best u8 team in the state but they dont want to deal with the reality of playing competitively. Your type of reffing is helping them continue with fanatsy. This hurts no one more than the players. Refs have the power to change this behavior. Only good can come from refs doing their job. The coaching will have to improve and players will have to learn the LOG to the full extent at an ealry age or more and more parents will avoid signing them up for competive play and just focus on skill for another 1-2 years. Why dont you get that??
Ref, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. You will never convince me that the problem with player development in the US is that referees don't give out enough red cards at U8. I think there are many issues that have much more importance.
Thats because you are a ref and are comfortable with ur current situation. not because it makes sense. You want to think that adequate reffing has little to do with player development overall and you are wrong. There are more advanced U8's in some parts of USA than others that understand the game. My U8's are some of those. A ref can not realy on a coach to use his common sense. in my experience, very few refs have any common sense at any age, when taking all those factors you m,entioned into consideration. This is why I suggest all refs keep it simple and just follow LOG regardless of who it is they reffing for. Not good enough or smart enough to try and evaluate little things yet, in general. My U8 game was to establish best team in top[ division. Something i care nothing for . Other team and most of my parents were exited about that game. All my kids learned from that game was that an intentional foul from behind helps you win and that you run a great risk of getting injured if you beat a defender going to goal. We can directly thank all this to that ref and apparently you too.
Ref, I guess you see what you want to see in what I say. I am all for helping refs get better, but I don't think it's unreasonable to put your weakest refs at the youngest age groups, so while I agree refs certainly have a role to play in player development, at U8, other things are much more important. I take offense at you blaming me for your player being fouled. Nothing I have said has advocated letting players get away with violent play, and I didn't even say that in the case you cited there should not have been a red card, just that the need for a red card at U8 is quite unusual. So please don't blame me for problems you face in your competitive U8 league.
Kent, its not unreasonable at all. Thats not the problem. The problem is not even the most experienced ref round us would red card that player. The problem is how as a country we view these calls when it comes to reffing soccer. In basketball at any age you foul out of a game and this is common. Its part of the game. it is why you have 5-7 subs. In soccer we have yellows and reds. Part of the game. If a coach sees that his player is playing too dirty but he is good player the only way you make sure he pulls him out to cool off is if he knows that he will be red carded or yellow carded twice without hesitation from the ref. Otherwise you rely on the coach to do the "right thing".
It is not a ref's job to rely on good coaching for the game to be played following the LOG. You along with others here tried to come up with so many scenarios to not red card the example I gave you only because he was a U8. thats bthe problem. Of course it is your fault. Its every ref's fault who thinks that such a play should not merit a red card only because he was a U8. It is also your fault that the player with a broken arm will not attack with confidence now and be scared to get blind sided knowing that the next ref will not red card the player. A potentially great forward could very possibly be shut down only because a ref didnt do his job. It would not surprise me if that defender had done the same many many times before and never even saw a yellow card. i am sure had he run into one good unbias ref my player would not have been hurt. But this goody goody shit prevails helping no one. Your style of reffing hurts development. Double guessing a red card in that situation hurts development overall of all player watching that game a;long with coaches seeing what they can get away with. You said that you have never seen a U8 merit a red card. If you have either reffed or coached at least 10 games I highly doubt that unless they are god awful by you.
If there is an incident that requires a red card in every 10 games in your U8 league, that league has problems no ref can solve.
Of course ref can solve. Actually he is only one that can. For league to solve the only thing they can do is instruct the refs to start red carding and yellow carding U8 players. What else can the league do other than dissolve 10 U8 divisions and tell 60-80 teams that they will not run U8 competitively?? Come on man. No ref can solve these problems?? So why ref then?? Thats like saying "a coach cant teach his team to play better as a team because players wont listen". Absolutely ridiculous.
If the pressure to win is encouraging kids to consciously cheat at U8 (and make no mistakes, red cards are generally not given for "accidents"), then yes, maybe the league should dissolve the competitive division. Such pressures are what make it difficult to develop skills, because athleticism (or lucky bounces) can help teams win (which is why winning at that age as little importance). Coaches focused on winning are encouraged to use a direct, physical approach, because it is successful more often than not (get the biggest, fastest kids on your team and get them to play hard). And that is not a problem referees issuing red cards can solve.
Yes they should dissolve the division. You keep saying the right things but are unrealistic. In your many eyars around the game you must have noticed that what drives soccer in USA is the money parents pay. Alot of it. You seem to be in fairyland. The league will not turn back so many players money. Thats never happening. So why do you suggest a coach do the right thing and not try to win games in a competitve U8 division if you as a ref are not willing to enforce the full DOGSO?? WHat you are saying is its not your problem if the league does not acknowledge the problem. Thats pretty weak dude. For a person that can take full cntrol of how clean a game can be played and control how the coaches manages the game, your view is pretty weak. Sorry.
If you want to chase the money, that's your decision. Just don't claim that your priority is skill development, and blame it on the referees when it doesn't happen.
Ref Evaluator is the reason I have left this forum. Not interested in his comments and views of youth soccer, same old broken record and he is jamming down our throats every time he posts.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I really enjoyed Kent, R2, Mike and Randy...I can not hear/see the intelligence over the loud squeaky, nonsensical drivel....I will try back next year.
Very scary that he is a coach or even involved with the education of children.
Personal attack, maybe...look how he treats some great folks that are too nice to ask him to find another forum to troll. I will say it again, maybe HIS evaluator needs to take a long look at his style and games.