Grabbing the interest and attention of our students is crucial to their success as competent soccer officials. What are your opening comments at a clinic? How do you maintain the interest and attention levels? AYSO lesson plans offer a multitude of scenarios that generate interest, questions, and yes, sometimes controversy. What about unique situations that you -the instructor- have experienced on the pitch? One of those, Ah-Hah! moments, that can really generate some thought-provoking discussion…discussion that leads referees to a new way of looking at their unique power on the field. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite scenarios that involved shielding, ball within playing distance, a keeper, and legal charging:
HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE THIS SITUATION?
You are the Center Referee in an aggressively played Boys U-14 tournament semi-final match. The multitude of fans for each team have been loud and supportive of their teams. With under 5 minutes to play, and the score 2-1 in favor of RED, a shot deflected off of a RED defender rolls towards the goal line, about 6 yards to the right of the RED goal. The RED keeper pursues and is shielding the ball from a distance of less than a yard, apparently hoping the ball will go out of play. A BLUE attacker is directly behind the keeper and is vigorously bumping the keeper in the rear shoulder area. As the ball stops on the goal line, the RED keeper leans forward to possess the ball with his hands and is again vigorously bumped in the rear shoulder area by the attacker causing the keeper to fall to his knees but he now possesses the ball. The RED keeper looks back at you, throws his right hand up, and yells, “What are you going to do about that?!”
Well, Ref…what are YOU going to do about this?