Just Because You Played

Discussion in 'Referee' started by jacathcart, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. jacathcart

    jacathcart New Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    Tacoma WA
    I have suffered under the handicap of never having played the game (when I was a kid I never even heard of soccer much less got any opportunity to play it.) My daughters took up the game about at the start of the wildfire growth of the kids soccer boom.

    I realize that I don't have the visceral understanding of some of the gamesmanship that goes on so I have to try to make up with hard work and study. On the other hand I have watched soccer from club to HS to ODP to college at the highest level for 10 years following #2 daughter so I'm not exactly a robot with a laws book.

    One of the things that people like me have to do is because we don't have the inbred knowledge that comes from playing for years we work very hard to know and understand the laws and the proper procedures - we know that looking and acting professional goes a long way towards having control of the pitch.

    I was reminded of that today. Center in a GU-18 state league game was hispanic and had grown up playing. He was a very nice guy. The other AR had just finished centering his 2d game ever just before this game (alone) so he was looking for mentoring.

    First the center didn't check the player cards against the rosters - just counted the number of cards and the number of roster players and so long as they came out even that was good to go. No equipment check either. "If they cheat, they cheat" he said although the most important reason for doing this is so if you have to issue a card you know the name of the offender because you know that the number and the name match.

    Second, his substitution practice was even more informal than usual - which resulted in playing a minute or two with 12 players on one side. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the proper procedures for subbing - come in at the center line and no one goes on the pitch before everyone is off. Easy to count those who leave and come on. Most coaches think you have a pole up your butt if you enforce this but even so you have to maintain some procedure. Not one coach in 10 understands why this procedure is supposed to be followed (other than minimizing confusion).

    Third, the first half was played under Jungle Rules, including three complete no calls on a takedown by a keeper from the ground, a jump by the keeper over the top of the attacker, and a mugging by a defender that would have qualified as a felony.

    Then in the second half 2 yellows - one (which properly was a yellow) which was not as egregious as the three in the first half, and one for dissent which was a girl sort of constantly providing a low-grade muttering about the calls. Needless to say there was a lot of hooting and hollering.

    The center knew a lot about soccer (far more than me certainly) but he projected sort of a "what the hell, its only a girls game" manner and his failure to follow proper procedures didn't send the right message to the teams or coaches.

    When I arrive for an assignment and find that I have a center who has a great soccer history and who gives a good pregame, speaks to the kids with pleasant authority, and expects himself, his crew, and the teams to be professional and obedient to the Laws, I really enjoy the game.

    So when you are a center and you have ARs - remember that many of them are looking to you to set the standard for professionalism - and even the old salts among them will appreciate a center who runs a taut ship.

  2. jc508

    jc508 New Member

    Jan 3, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio area
    On the other hand, I have seen referees with significant soccer backgrounds be over officious and seemingly obsessed with technicalities. I don't think that you were implying that the taute ship needs to go to the extremes of the HMS Bounty.

    I agree that being lax about what needs to be done spells trouble. However, I believe that the best route is that elusive road called moderation that lies between the two extremes.

    Perhaps one level of moderation could be described as tactful but firm control. It's a road that is hard to find, but once you get there, the drive is great.
  3. XYZ

    XYZ New Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Big Cat Country
    Even though you played, you may still be an a-hole

    Because you played, you may know some things, but you don't know everything.

    A ref may know some things, but refs don't know everything. And not all players, fans and even coaches are as stupid as some refs think they are. (although coaches are marginal ;))
    I have see referees who projected that attitude, and my response to them is "screw you!!" With that type of attitude, you shouldn't be reffing any games, period. Give it up! You're an a-hole. If you aren't going to give a game your full attention, do everybody a favor and don't accept the assignment. Get your stupid butt off the field.

    BTW, it's been my observation that good refs are good regardless of gender, and the refs that don't give women's game the respect they deserve pretty much suck in all games they ref.

    End of rant. :D
  4. Malaga CF fan

    Malaga CF fan Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think having played does help not having to belabor a lot of the rules, or really study them hard. We know offsides from the get go, etc... That said, being a good referee has much less to do with a good soccer playing history than understanding player management, professionalism, and how to call a good game. It takes work, just a little less of a learning curve for those of us who have played before. I admit my own lack of motivation when it comes to reffing a u-12 girls game, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be a little lax about it just because they don't run as fast or kick as hard as a 17 year old boy.

    One thing I will say about having played the game prior to reffing. You knew who the good refs were and you made note of them. I still remember some of the good referees that I had during my early playing career, and I know I learned something from them. If anything, you have an idea in your head of what a good referee does before you actually attempt to go and do it yourself. Shoot, I still play and I take notes on good referees, guys I know are good and do a good job of managing the game. I use what I learn when I ref. That is probably the most important thing about playing (or having played the game before).
  5. kevbrunton

    kevbrunton New Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Edwardsburg, MI
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In my opinion, there are two areas that guys who have played the game are at an advantage when they are first starting out as a referee...

    1) Foul recognition -- having played the game, they have a much better feel for when contact is a foul and when it is not.

    2) Anticipation of play -- having played the game, they are probably better at reading when and where the play is going. If they are interested in getting there (not always the case with new referees of any background), then that can be an advantage for them.

    Having said that, I believe it is only an advantage earlier in their refereeing career. Both of these skills can be learned and learned well. It's just that it is probably something that the players pick up very quickly vs. the non-players.

    One thing that I definitely disagree with is that the players know the laws better (than non-players). There is a LOT to learn about the subtle points of the laws and how to apply them that the player (at any level) never thinks about.
  6. Crowdie

    Crowdie New Member

    Jan 23, 2003
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Dear Jim,

    Just to prove that you don't have to had played to become a FIFA level referee you just have to look at Derek Rugg (http://www.fifa.com/en/development/refereeing/mens/single,m,nzl.html). Derek has never played soccer (other than the odd social game) but is a FIFA referee, is ranked as the best referee in New Zealand and is up for the New Zealand Soccer Best Referee award in November (yet again).

    Fantastic referee and has never played the game.

    Ignore what some people say and just go out there and enjoy your refereeing.


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