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Welcome Coaches!
The Coaches Club is designed to help us achieve a better level of consistency. When you
pose a question to an Official or Staff, there's a good chance that others may have a
similar question or concern. Instead of relying on word of mouth to "hopefully" get that
information to all Coaches, we'll share it here for all Coaches to review. 
Of course, we can only post about issues we're aware of, so please, feel free share with
us, so we can share it with others. We'll even try to make it entertaining ... when possible! 
This Weeks Articles
Referees are NOT Equalizers
Referees are there to enforce the rules, ensure safety, and manage the game.
They are not there to level the playing field!!!!!

We often see the expectations of Coaches and Parental Units, for Referees to
compensate for imbalances in age and/or skill levels. Not only is that not their job, it
would be irresponsible for them to do so.

Now, that's not to say that Referees shouldn't Referee the game according to the age
and skill level. In fact, we do just that. If we didn't, the game would be loaded with
game choking, excessive calls, that would turn games into a PE class .... boring!!!!!

We want to let the kids play, but we are not going to award fouls, just because Nemo
collided with Bruce the shark, and fell down. (Yes, I watched it ... and I liked it!!!)

Soccer is a contact sport, and the divisions are pretty well defined and consistent.
Some kids are bigger and stronger. There are going to be respective mismatches.
It's a part of the game, and quite frankly, part of life. This is where they learn to
cope with and overcome it, in a safe environment. To take away this lesson, would
take away valuable character building experience, that prepares children for Real Life.

Referees will call the calls that need to be called, but they're not going to make calls
that punish kids for being bigger, stronger, or more skillful. That would be wrong.

Besides, you'll feel quite differently, when your kid is bigger, stronger, and posses
a higher skill level.
Hand Shake - Games not over, until hands are shook
One of, if not the most important thing a Coach teaches kids is; Good Sportsmanship!
They'll take that with them for the rest of their life. Any Coach that does not build that
Good Sportsmanship attitude into their kids, has done them a critical disservice.

Remember, they are watching ... they are imitating, and you are helping to form a
foundation for how to be a responsible and successful adult. That's the long term
power a Coach has in the life of a child.

We had a couple Coaches refuse to shake hands after their game. Worse yet,
they instructed their players to NOT shake hands. This is the most blatant exercise in
poor sportspersonlike conduct, and it is not the example we want set for our kids. In
fact, it is grounds for a forfeit, but it's usually the losing team that refuses, so the
forfeit becomes a moot point. Any Coach that encourages this unacceptable practice,
especially with kids, is certainly deserving of a suspension.         
Sports are supposed to be competitive on the field, and it's understandable if there's
no love lost on the battle field, but it should never go beyond that. Once the game has
concluded, win, lose or draw, we must congratulate the efforts of both sides, void of
any nasty jabs. Remember, off the field, we're friends, neighbors, etc. We don't need
to foster negative attitudes, that will carry beyond the game.

In the end, it's a game, and if you don't like the end result, then prepare
yourselves better, or try harder for the next competition. Don't demean yourselves
with sour grapes temper tantrums. 

Good sportsmanship is more important than any game, and Good Sportsmanship is
the minimum requirement for everybody, Coaches, Players, and Spectators alike.
Without it, nobody would want to play.
Handshake & Referees Presence
At the end of the game, we all shake hands and say "Good Game!". It's more that just
a ritual. It teaches kids respect and Good Sportsmanship. 

A Coach was under the impression that; the Referee was required be present  for the
After Game Hand Shake. He was upset that; after a very intense, conflict rich game,
the Official left the field ... immediately! (wouldn't you?) In this case, the Referee was
absolutely, 100% correct in his decision to vacate, due to the tension throughout the

While I do like to be present during the Hand Shake, to monitor& insure that it is done
in the "spirit" intended, this is my personal preference, and I happen to be very, very
comfortable doing it. In fact, I find it an excellent opportunity to address concerns that
may linger at the conclusion of the game. That's me though, and though I encourage
our Officials to participate in the same manner, it's not mandatory. 

The truth be known, Referees at all levels, are trained to leave immediately after the
match, as a proactive safety measure, to avoid unnecessary conflict and/or never
ending, heated opinion exchanges. 

We live in a crazy world, and Soccer is notorious for over the top passion insanity,
often with the Referees as the target of unbridled emotions. Referees don't need to
invite or encourage such ... passionate exchanges. If the Referee is comfortable
staying, cool. If not, it's actually proper protocol, and in most cases ... just plain wise.
Red Cards
When a Player is issued a Red Card, that Player is to leave the field. They are expelled.
That means "Out of Sight & Earshot" of the game, not on the bench, in the stands, or
behind the field coaching or berating. They are to take no further part in the game, in
any way, shape or form. They are also suspended from the next game.         
As a general rule, Red Cards are issued as a result of utterly disrespectful or violent 
behavior. The consequence of receiving a card, is designed to discourage such
behavior. In most cases, a Card recipient is not happy with the consequence they've
earned, and are highly prone to retaliation. For this reason, again, being proactive,
Red Card recipients and/or any Ejected Participants are to leave the premises within
2 minutes, or forfeit the game.

Remember ... Cards are not given ... they are earned, and they have consequences.
It's best not to earn one.
Previous Articles
Spectator Coaching is Prohibited
This is a Rule in every sport, that unfortunately is often ignored, primarily to avoid conflict.
It is also specifically covered in your league rules. It is deemed Spectator Interference which
can and should result in a Penalty against the offending team. Remember, Coaches are
responsible for their team & spectator behavior.

Now, we're not talking about cheering or even the occasional excited outburst of passion,
or that quick motivational "get your butt in gear". That'd be an unrealistic expectation.

What we are talking about is perpetual coaching, instructing, positioning of Players, and
alerting them to play situations they'd not be aware of, such as "Man On", or "cover #7.
That is the Coaches job. It's challenging enough for Coaches to keep the kids focused on the
game plan, without Parental Units rewriting the play book, with their own personally motivated
game plan.

As a Courtesy, I asked a couple Coaches to remind theirs Parental Units that they weren't to
be Coaching from the sidelines ... before I had to go over and do it. One Coach explained that
he has asked, but they ignore him, and he's told his Players to ignore them. Well, it's kinda
hard for a kid to ignore his Dad barking orders ... he has to go home with him! Another Coach
exclaimed "it's hard! I used to do the same thing. It's hard to control", which I absolutely get!
The problem is, it interferes with the game, confuses the kids, counters the Coaches
instructions, and Parental Units Coaching is at the top of the list in causes of excessive conflicts
and violent reactionary behavior. We need to be united in keeping it under control. We had our
time, and this is theirs. Let's not get that confused. Of course, a little nostalgic reminder of just
how much you hated it when your Dad did it to you, might help. Let's let the kids play their
game and have FUN!
Soccer is a Contact Sport
We're seeing an awful lot of flair-ups over normal Soccer play contact. Soccer is a contact
sport. You've got two or more players trying to occupy the same space, as they struggle for
the ball. Of course there is going to be contact, and the Referees aren't going to call fouls,
just because you feel your opponent invaded your space, or you got beat. Don't stop until
you hear the whistle, expecting the Referee to make a call because someone bumped into
you. All you'll accomplish, is to give your opponent an advantage.
Players have the right to challenge for possession of the ball, and it can and should be
intense. Otherwise it's boring. If a Player is shoving, holding or striking an opponent, that's
unfair, that's a foul, and the Officials will call it. If a player gets beat and retaliates, you can
bet that'll get called too, plus, you should expect and respect a colorful card. 
Don't get mad ... Get Better!!!

The Referees aren't there to prevent contact. This ain't ballet! They are there to ensure a fair
game, and the safety of players, without interfering with the game flow, with fruit loop fouls.
Cursing --- There is no excuse
While it appears acceptable to tolerate foul language in rap songs, foul language has no place
in sports. It causes me to raise an eyebrow, when I hear "my kids would never curse", when
I personally sat there and suggested, seven times, that they say "poop" instead of ... well
you can guess. By the way, that was the "nicest word" I had alternate suggestions for.

We were kids too, and most of us displayed a bit of potty mouth from time to time. It made
us feel all growed up! The difference was, we knew it was unacceptable, and found the bar
of soap flavor to be quite undesirable. Somehow this "respect" has decayed, but on the
Soccer field, we won't be using a bar of soap, but we will be issuing yellow and/or red cards,
and remember, if you receive a red card, you are out of the game and should expect to be
out for the next game or two. Is it worth it? 
No Matter How Mad You Get, it ain't worth JAIL
In twenty years on the field, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a
Player in such a dangerous situation, that it required a Parental Unit to come onto the field
and defend their child from any real harm. We see it all too often now, and it's usually just
an excuse to retaliate. In every case, it does nothing more that cause the situation to
escalate, with absolutely no benefit.

Stay off the field, and don't risk crazy fines and jail time by putting your hands on someone,
especially a child!!!!! The fines range from $1,000 to $10,000, plus court costs & damages.
The jail time ranges between 1-10 years, and you risk winding up on some web site for
assaulting a child.

You may feel that you are "defending your rights", but all you'll accomplish is, setting a
terrible example for all the kids, and earning the rights to a bright & shiny new pair of
gaudy bracelets. It's not worth it. Stay off the field ... stay out of jail.

Jewelry & Safety Equipment Check Players In Properly ... Every Game!!!!! The new &

Cool fashion seems to be these brass barrel hair clips, crimped into braids. They're pretty snazzy, but they cannot be allowed. They are jewelry and have sharp edges. Glasses MUST be secured with a lanyard. When I caught this at a game (or two or three), the response was that "the other Referees let 'em play". While I find it hard to believe that any DO IT NOW Pros, Referee would allow such a thing, the fact that I caught it (a few times), indicates that we're not checking them in as well as we should. Let's give these types of Safety Issues a much higher priority level. That goes for Coaches & Referees!!!

Jewelry & Safety Equipment
Check Players In Properly ... Every Game!!!!!

The new & Cool fashion seems to be these brass barrel hair clips, crimped into braids.
They're pretty snazzy, but they cannot be allowed. They are jewelry and have sharp edges. 

Glasses MUST be secured with a lanyard. When I caught this at a game (or two or three),
the response was that "the other Referees let 'em play". While I find it hard to believe that
any DO IT NOW Pros, Referee would allow such a thing, the fact that I caught it 
(a few times), indicates that we're not checking them in as well as we should. Let's give
these types of Safety Issues a much higher priority level. 
That goes for Coaches & Referees!!!
Hangin Out in the Back of the Field & Behind Goals
Many Parental Units seem to treat "Rec Ball" games like a picnic, chillin with their kids. They
interfere with the game, and then get insulted, even angry, when informed that their actions
are not appropriate. They need to understand that; while it is a more friendly competition, it
is still organized sports, and the same rules apply. The Rules are there for a reason.

One such Rule, which is true of every sport, in every league ... nobody is allowed behind the
field/court, unless there is a designated Spectator Area there, and it is allowed by the league.

Parental Units like to wander over behind the field to get away from the crowd, and in most
cases, they want to be there to Coach their kids. NO! NO! NO! Being behind the field,
practicing, chillin out, Coaching your kids, is not appropriate. It is a distraction and should be
deemed interference. That interference can be penalized.

Now, are there Parental Units that sit back there and do nothing to interfere? Yes there are,
but it quickly becomes a problem, because when one does it, others think its ok and wander
into the restricted zone(s) too. Then they start interfering and we wind up with a chaotic
mess to clean up. The bottom line preventative solution ... nobody behind the fields or goals.
Injuries & Drop Balls
We had a couple situations with injuries, where Parental Units and/or Coaches came onto the
field and interupted/stopped the game ... unneccessarily!!! This is flat out game interference
and should be treated as such.

We all know that the game is not stopped for injuries, unless they are "in the Referees
Opinion" serious injuries. We also know that stoppages for injuries require a Drop Ball to
restart play. 

Unfortunately, Parental Units and even Coaches, often deem any injury, or even if a kid just
falls down, justification to stop the game, in the middle of play. The question is, what is the
proper procedure for an incident where a Coach or Parental Unit forced the stoppage of play,
by running onto the field? Do we just do a Drop Ball?

The answer is NO! If the Referee is forced to stop the game, because someone came onto
the field, without the Referees permission, that is  interference and deserving of a penalty. 

What's the procedure?
First, remember that Players are not to be treated on the field, and must be removed from
the field of play immediately. A Player with blood on themselves, or their clothes, must be
removed and may not return until all blood is gone. If someone has to come onto the field
to treat a Player, that Player MUST immediately be removed from the field of play, and may
not return until the Referee clears Him/Her. There's no dusting off and miraculously becoming
ready to play! Any time a Spectator/Coach forces a stoppage of the game, by coming onto the
field without the Referees permission, that is interference and requires a Free Kick to the
opposing team, as opposed to a Drop Ball. 

While in most cases, it would just result in an Indirect Free Kick from the point where the ball
was when play was stopped, the Referee must look at the circumstances, to determine
whether stricter enforcement is in order. If the incident interfered with a drive on goal, or a
goal scoring opportunity, the Referee may issue a Yellow or Red Card to the Captain or
another Player (Never a Coach or Spectator). The Referee may award a Direct Free kick, if the
circumstance warrants it.

Don't just award a Drop Ball when people intentionally force a stopage of play, especially if
its just a player falling down. Penalize the interference, and maybe they'll start thinking twice,
before unnecessarily interfering with the game(s). Also take into consideration the severity of
an injury in making your decision. If a Player is seriously injured and someone forced the
stoppage of the game, don't punish the offense, as it's justified. Just proceed to a Drop Ball.
More Details on Drop Balls
A Drop Ball is a method of restarting play, for interference or circumstances not covered in
the Laws of the Game. Here's the scoop on implementing Drop Balls.

A Drop Ball becomes a live ball as soon as it hits the field. Unlike Free Kicks, the first
Player to touch the ball, can touch it again, and even dribble or shoot it, without being
penalized for a double touch. They cannot however, score a goal directly from the first kick
or touch. It must be kicked a second time, by any player (including the original initial kicker), before
entering the goal. If it goes in the goal directly from the initial kick, a Goal Kick or Corner
Kick is awarded, in the same manner as any ordinary Goal or Corner Kick is awarded.
Tighten Up on Calls - Especially - Throw-Ins
We had a little meeting in one of our leagues, and the question came up; "Can we call the
game like FIFA?" While I explained the downside, I did empathise with the thinking. I 
explained that it wasn't appropriate for us to "Over Officiate", otherwise we'd just choke
the game. I did agree to tighten the calls up and raise our expectations from the Players,
particularly with Throw-Ins. It is pretty bad, and this will also tighten up the expectation of
Coaches, to teach their Players the proper procedure. In fact, we should hold all Players to
a higher standard. They don't bother to do Throw-Ins right, either because they weren't 
taught or because we don't enforce it as strictly as we should. Heck, I've done Mens &
Womens Leagues where half the Players don't know how to or do proper Throw-Ins.

While it is taught in official training, to not make a big deal of Throw-Ins, that doesn't mean
we simply allow atrocious Throw-Ins to slide. A Throw-In is nothing more than a means of
restarting play. It should not allow any advantage from the use of hands. 

A proper Throw-In requires the ball to be thrown in one continuous motion, from directly
behind the head. That means NO SPIKING. Both hands should be on the opposing sides of
the ball. Players should never be allowed to get a hand underneath the ball to throw it like a
basketball. They cannot twist their bodies to get additional leverage underneath either. That
gives them a power advantage, which is negated by having both hands on opposing sides of
the ball. The ball is to be thrown directly onto the field. Both feet MUST be on the ground at
the release of the ball, and the Thrower must be facing the field, not the corner flag.  

One of the telltale signs of an illegal Throw-In, is excessive spin on the ball. Now don't go
banannas on ball spin! Years ago, we had a Referee that called every single ball that had
even the slightest spin on it, an Illegal Throw-In. Talk about CHOKING Games!!!! Well, the
Coaches asked for it, but didn't like it one bit. They immediately called me, apologized, and
asked that I never send that Ref again. They asked me to put it back where it was. 

If you see excessive spin on the ball, twisting, spiking, or any of the other thisngs we've
covered, call it. If it's just a case of them not knowing, and you want to be a good sport and
give them a do-over, I don't have a problem with that, as long as you show them how to do
it right. If after you've shown them, they continue to do it wrong ... sorry Charlie ... balls
turned over.

Maybe if we help them learn it right as youth Players, we won't have to teach them in the
Adult Leagues, and maybe when they become Coaches ... they'll teach the young 
whipersnappers correctly. I said Maybe!!!!
Checking - This is Soccer ... Not Hockey
There's a BIG Difference between viaing for the ball and checking. In Hockey, your expected
to truck your opponent out of nowhere ...AKA Checking. That's why you have 800lbs of
padding and safety equipment on, and an excellent dental plan. In Soccer, there's gonna be
contact, and it's ok, even if it's aggressive contact on the ball. That's the game. It is not ok
to knock your opponent around off ball or to shove them around cause you can't get the
fricken ball away from 'em. If they're going for the ball and banging into each other, because
they're literally trying to occupy the same space, that's Soccer. If they're not even going for
the ball, but banging on their opponent ... just to annoy the bejeebers out of them, that's
a foul that needs to be called. Otherwise ... somebodies going to get clubbed! Oh yeah, and
it gives an unfair advantage.
Previous Articles


NO HAPPY Articles Yet ... As we haven't gotten Started!!!!

Let's have a FUN & AWESOME Season!!!!
Past Articles