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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
Hand Ball Confusion
There were two notable Hand Ball questions/misconceptions.

All hand balls are Direct Kicks ... PERIOD! There are no exceptions 
(except league divisions stipulating that all kicks are indirect). 
What often gets confused is; when calls are made on the Goal Keeper, for using
their hands inappropriately, within the Penalty Box. If the Goal Keeper picks up
the ball outside the Penalty Box, he becomes a normal fielder, and the Hand Ball
Rule applies, as it would for any other Player.

Clarification: A Goal Keeper may not use their hands to Directly Receive a Throw-In,
                 play a ball intentionally kicked to him/her by a Teammate, or to retrieve
                 a punt that didn't go as planned, or to Control the Ball with Hands for
                 more than 6 Seconds. These are not Handballs. They are a Double Touch,
                 or a procedural infraction, which calls for an Indirect Kick, from the spot
                 of infraction. If it's in the Goal Box, the kick is taken from the Goal Box
                 line, nearest to the spot of infraction. It is Indirect, and even though it
                 is less that 10 yards, the Defending team may set up a wall, but they
                 must all be ON THE GOAL LINE!

Another question/misunderstanding, came from a Coach, who felt that the Referee
miscalled a Hand Ball. As he demonstrated the play(s) to me, he actually showed
me a classic example of a hand ball. He held his hand at his waste, with his hand
and arm against his body but, with his hand open, perpendicular to his body. This
is a trapping tactic to increase the coverage area, and allow the Player to manipulate
the ball. Unfortunately, my Spanish was nowhere near as good as his English, and 
unfortunately, I was unable to effectively communicate this with him.

The bottom line, that composure will almost certainly get a Hand Ball call, because
the hand was in an unnatural, advantageous position, that would allow for trapping
and manipulating the ball. The Ref made the right call(s)
Throw-In goes Directly into the Goal
Although this one doesn't get a lot of attention in training, because it happens so rarely,
I'm thinking it should be addressed more throughly.

No Goal can be scored with the use of hands. A Throw-In is simply a means of restarting
play, and should never be allowed to gain any advantage, through the use of hands.
Whoever threw the ball Directly into the Goal, it should be treated in the same manner
as it would be when it crosses the Goal Line, outside the Goal. It will NOT be a Goal.
It will be, respectively, a Goal Kick, or a Corner Kick.

Here's a mind blower: If a Direct, or Indirect Free Kick goes into the Team's Own Goal,
                              it is NOT a Goal ... A Corner Kick is awarded. Wrap your mind
                              around that!
Agitated Spectator Unit goes a bit Postal
The City of Oakland Park has always had a good, solid, community centric Rec Program.
That's awesome, however, some of the well intentioned, customary Rules, that were
very Rec friendly, taught the kids contrary to the actual Rules. This is common with
many Cities, however, it unintentionally puts kids at a disadvantage, as they progress
to higher level leagues, such as High School, Travel, and hopefully College (Scholarship)
opportunities. The kids enter into these competitions with expectations that reflect what
they've learned, only to be labeled as not knowing the game. We have worked closely
with the City Staff to correct this, with Rule changes that more accurately mirror the
actual Rules/Procedures, to give the kids a better chance of excelling in more
competitive arenas, hopefully giving them a better chance for scholarships.

We had a woman, who got quite angry and vocal in regards to the 2 Goal Rule. She
was angry because; she was under the impression that; the Referee didn't enforce the
Rule. Well, the Referee is not responsible for enforcing the Rule, unless the Coach brings
it to the Referees attention, at which time, the Referee would enforce it. In this
particular case, the Coach, who was behind, didn't feel it appropriate to request
enforcement. He knows that; nowhere else in serious competition, would this Rule ever
apply. He wanted his Players to step up their game, and meet the challenge head on, as
it would in any other competition. Kudos! He didn't want to gain an unfair advantage!
She deemed that inappropriate, and blamed it on the Referee. It was the Coaches choice,
arguably in the kids best interest.

As addressed in a previous article, whiles she chose to blame it on, and attack the
Referees, she should have immediately been informed that; she was not to address
the Referees. Only the Head Coach is permitted to address the Referees. She should
not have been allowed to chastise the Referee(s) and should have been directed to
the Coach, or DO IT NOW Dave. Spectators do not have the authority or permission
to try and enforce their will on Referees. Don't allow it to start, thereby preventing
emotional field escalation. Remember, you are the target of their frustration. You are
at a serious disadvantage in resolving the issue. Be courteous, and helpful, as long as
they are being respectful. When the conversation becomes disrespectful, bow out and
refer it to the Coach, City and/or DO IT NOW Dave. We'll politely work to inject the
reality of the situation, and quell the frustration.

As it turned out, the Coach spoke with her, and it ended in a great big hug.
Don't you just love a HAPPY Ending?!?!?!?

People generally aren't mean ... they're just passionate in what they believe they understand.
Past Articles
We have Game Sheets (Oakland Park) Prefill before start of game
We now have game sheets for the City of Oakland Park. We need to sign them at the
end of each game.

Coaches need to fill out their Roster, at the start of the game, and turn their Game 
Sheets in to a City Official on the way out. It's new to them, so be patient, and let's
remind them, while they're warming up, to fill it in. We're getting a little too much delay
in starting the second games, as we have to wait for to sign, until the Coaches get their
Roster filled in.
Spectator Coaching - Address this in Pre-Game meeting
Spectator Coaching is a problem for the Players & Coaches. The Coaches that were at the
Coaches Meeting, prior to the start of the season, were asked to inform their Parental Units,
that Spectator Coaching was prohibited. Some did, some forgot, and some Coaches came in
after the start of the season, and didn't know.

Reminding Coaches at the start of each game, in the PreGame meeting, will help them get
the message across, and at least allow Parental Units to be held accountable. Spectator
Coaching distracts and confuses Players and really annoys Coaches, as it frustrated their
efforts in trying to get their Players to follow their strategic instructions.

I was doing a 8-10U Girls game, and there were two gentlemen, FULL OUT Coaching from
the sidelines. This tells me that we've been allowing it to occur, unchecked. 
When I addressed it with them, they looked at me like I had four heads. They were
genuinely surprised at my "No Coaching" statement, and didn't see it as a big deal.
They were definitely interfering with the game. I mean, these guys basically took the
coaching to the max, instructing the kids every move. They completely usurped the
Coaches authority. When it was obvious that I wouldn't just let it slide, they tried to
convince me that they were not coaching. REALLY!!!!! Eventually, one sat down, and tried
to be the sneaky sideline coach, and the other just continued his coaching, unashamedly.
I finally got it under control, but if it had been addressed from the start of the season,
they would not have felt so comfortable doing it. We have to set the expectation,
consistantly, at all times.

A little reactive Sideline Coaching is instinctive and hard to resist. It's a natural part of the
game. I get that, and that's not what I'm addressing. I'm talking about the persistant
coaching. I've found that; in most cases, Spectator Coaches, that do it excessively, do it
because they don't respect their Coach(s). They think they can do it better, and/or they
want it done the way they think it should be done. Of course, they want the Coaches
Privileges, but not the responsibility of becoming a Coach, or often have been denied the
opportunity, because they couldn't pass a background check, or there were no coaching
positions available.

I know that; to keep your sanity and focus, we tend to ignore the sideline buzz, but we
need to address this problem. Every game we allow excessive Spectator Coaching, gives
the impression that it's ok ... and it's not! Just remember, ignoring it and allowing it to
escalate, means the next Ref in, will have to deal with it, which may be you. If we all
do it consistantly, everybody will understane the expectations.

All of us need to do a better job of limiting this behavior. Let the Coaches know in your
Pre-Game meeting, that we may stop the game to have them address it. 
Parental Units Reprimanding Referees
DO IT NOW Pros (Referees) takes great pride in being better than we have to be.
As we all know, all Referees are NOT created equal. There are good Referees, Bad
Referees, and everything in between. As we've seen, every time we come into a new
league, we run into various issues and expectations from participants. They've become
accustomed to Referees that are not at our level of knowledge and skill, 
(or they're just there for a paycheck) and it takes a little getting used to Referees that really
know the game, actually care, and make the appropriate calls, or no calls. In the
beginning, we run into some backlash, as they adjust, but it's worth it for the kids, 
and participants soon come to appreciate the job we do. It's definitely worth the
effort, especially knowing that the kids we have the privilege of working with, learn
the game properly, and have a better chance of taking it to the next level. We will
never compromise. 

We're getting Parental Units boldly giving Referees a piece of their mind. Although I do
encourage conversation to educate Parental Units, Players & Coaches, so they better
understand the game, Rules, and Calls, this should only be implemented with those that
inquire respectfully. If they choose to become argumentative or disrespectful, simply
inform them that; we are only allowed to discuss game matters with the Head Coach,
and politely excuse yourself. If it's the Head Coach that's being disrespectful, refer them
to DO IT NOW Dave, and politely excuse yourself. Getting into it with an aggrivated
Coach or Parental Unit, or even a player, is like peeing in a fan. It just comes back at
you in a less than pleasant fashion.
Always be respectful, and helpful, but don't let yourself get caught up in a peeing match.
Nobody wins in that situation.
Injuries and Stopping Play
The rules in soccer, regarding injuries, are very clear. Play is only to be stopped for
serious injuries, and if play is stopped for an injury, the injured party MUST be removed
from the field of play. Play is restarted with a Drop Ball, at the point of the ball, when
the whistle was blown.

We had a situation, where a Player got overpowered on a legal 1 on 1 play for the ball.
The overpowered Player's leg locked up form the impact, and down he went. It was
only a quick cramp, but everyone went nuts, expecting the play to stop, with the winner
of the 1 on 1 on his way to the goal. That would have been an incorrect call, especially
as the Player was not so much injured, as knocked out of play. It wouldn't have been
fair for the winner of the 1 to 1 match to be lose his well earned advantage ... because
his opponent fell down.

The play was ultimately stopped, due to all the fuss inspired interference, but only
because the Coach of the Player who won the ball, was fussin as well. That didn't make
it right.

Referees aren't going to let play continue, if a Player is seriously injured. They know
what to look for, and what to let go, especially the Official on that game, as he is an
experienced Emergency Flight Paramedic.

Be aware, slight injuries do not stop play. The extra minute or two it takes for play
to stop naturally, won't have any impact on a Players injury. Good Referees know this
and won't blow the whistle, just because somebody fell down, but a bad one will.
Who caused the Foul, and did it impact the Play?
So many Referees blow their whistle, just because a Player fell down, or got the worse
end of a legal play, that resulted in contact. DO IT NOW Referees don't do that, unless
they actually saw a foul. Why? A) Because they're trained that way, and B) Becauce they
don't want to endure my hour and a half lecture if I catch 'em. Soccer is a contact sport,
and if Players are Playing the ball properly, contact is expected, and it can be pretty fierce.
Now, if they shove a Player off, hold a Player, trip 'em, poke 'em in the eye, etc., that's a
foul and they'll book 'em. Otherwise ... Play on!

I was doing a game the other evening. The Coach was freaking out, because his players
were getting beat at plays on the ball. His opponents were faster. His Players were getting
aggrivated, and when they couldn't beat their opponent to the ball, they got overly
aggressive on their opponent. His Players kept winding up on the short end of the stick,
and getting knocked around. I'm not going to call that. In reality, a foul should have been
called on his Players (many times) but the opponents weren't impacted by the play, as they
either saw it coming and avoided them, or simply overpowered them, and retained
possession and momentum. The Coach wanted me to make calls in his favor. Well, that's
not going to happen. If there was any call to be made, it would have been on his Players,
but that would have stopped his opponents momentum, and penalized the wrong party.

Your Officials are extremely well trained, and are watching all aspects of play. Are they
perfect? We would never make such a claim, but you can bet your soccer balls, that they
are on top of play, and make the right call, in almost every case. You can take it to the
bank, whther you agree or disagree.
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.
Past Articles
First Week ... Awesome!
This being our first week working with Oakland Park, we didn't really know
what to expect, on any level. Would it be FUN & CRAZY, or just plain CRAZY?
(Trust me. We do games all over the county, and some can be pretty bizarre)
We were pleasantly surprised with the positive, supportive atmosphere and 
sportsmanship we experienced. The games were played well and fun to
Officiate. Kudos!!!!! The City Staff has also been very accommodating, and we're
HAPPPY to be working with you. Hopefully you're just as HAPPY with us, as that
is our goal. Of course, we want you to be HAPPY, but that doesn't change the
calls we'll make.
Special Rules
>Headers are allowed in all divisions
>Referees can allow a quick water break in the middle of halves
>If a team is short of "Fielded Players", the opposing team must reduce their
  Fielded Players to match. There must be an equal number of Fielded Players
  for both teams. 

We're always observing and looking for ways to provide a better experience.
One thing we noticed, is the kids getting a bit pooped out towards the end of
the half, especially if they are short Players. This observation led us to ask for
permission to give a QUICK Water Break, when we see the need, in the middle
of the halves. Permission granted.

We also had a couple of issues, unique to Oakland Park, that we're not
accustomed to, but will be corrected moving forward. We do apologize for any
resulting delays or impact on your games. The good news, both teams were
under the same ruling(s), so it was at least fair.

One such issue was the new Intentional Header Rule, instituted by USSF, the
primary Soccer authority in the US, prohibiting players under 14 years old from
intentionally heading the ball. This rule is heavily debated and considered silly by
us soccer freaks, but it was added with honorable intentions. While we discussed
this in the Coaches Meeting and the decision was made to allow Headers in all
divisions, I somehow failed to get that exclusion to my Referees, and for that,
I apologize. Some of our Officials enforced it in some of your games, because
they are so used to it. Even I had to "catch myself", as I instinctively was
inclined to call it. We will not be enforcing this rule going forward, however, we
may accidentally make this call from time to time. Please be understanding if we
do, remind the Official, and we'll restart play with a drop ball.

Another such rule that we are unaccustomed to is; the Reduce & Equate
courtesy Rule, which is exclusive to Oakland Park. Ordinarily, this procedure is
only implemented for OverTime play, so it is a little awkward for us. In Oakland
Park, it's from the start of the game, even during regulation play.

The rule simply states that; each team must have an equal number of Players
on the field. Should one have insufficient Players to field a full team, their
opponents shall reduce their number of Fielded Players to match. I spoke to
a couple of Coaches that thought it wasn't fair or appropriate, but the majority
support it, as does the City, to allow for a better kids experience.
Players generally 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 Men's &
Women's 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 or baseball. 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, we don't
want to go bananas 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 things 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 ... ball's
turned over.

If you have questions or wish to have us demonstrate the proper Throw-In Procedure,
please feel free to call me. We're happy to help.

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!!!!
Spectators are NOT allowed in Player Area
Coaches must be on Opposite Side of Spectators

I moseyed on over to remind a gentleman that Spectator Coaching was prohibited.
He informed me, and it was confirmed that he was a Coach, but he was on the Spectators
side. I explained that he needed to be on the other side. He cordially complied.

There are a number of really good reasons why this is not allowed. As a Coach, Before I
knew that it was prohibited, I actually had a Parental Units everywhere, coaching the kids.
We were all on the same page, and each one had their game strategy duties. It was a
powerful and effective strategy, the result of which was ... WE WERE UNSTOPPABLE!!!!!
It's just so happens that it is also completely unfair. Oooops! My Bad! Of course, once it
was passionately brought to my attention ... we quit cheating.

In the majority of cases, Spectator Coaching is not to the teams advantage, as the Parental
Units instruction, inevitably interferes with or opposes the Coaches instructions. Either way,
it's no good.

Another very important reason Players & Coaches need to be on opposing sides from the
Spectators, is the Jessica Lumsford Act regulations. Coaches are required to pass a
background check before they can "interact" with kids. Parental Units have not passed
an official background check, and must be segregated from the Players. If Parental Units
wander over into the Team Area, please remind them that it is a restricted area, and ask
them to return to their appropriate area.
We're kicking off the new season on Monday.
No articles yet, as we haven't started, and I've received no requests.
We're excited about the opportunity to work with you, and look forward
to a great season.
Good Luck to All!!!!!!!!!