Ask the Ref
Q: Regarding goal kicks, when may the attackers cross the buildout line? After the ball leaves the penalty box? Or after the first touch by defender?
A: For goal kicks, there was a revision to the build-out line rule for 2018. On a goal kick, the opponents may cross back from the build-out line when the ball is in play. With the 2019 law changes, this means as soon as the ball is kicked and clearly moves. (For goal keeper possession, the opponents may come back from the build out line as soon as the goal keeper releases the ball from her hands. An excellent video on the AYSO build-out line, including the 2018 revisions can be found on the Section 1 website at:https://ayso1ref.com/mp4/BOL-2019-v31.mp4 Answered 9.17.18 Revised 9.6.19
Q: I understand that the best way to detect offside offenses is to keep track of a snapshot that's taken every time a teammate touches the ball. My question is: when do you throw out the snapshot? Law 11 does not explicitly discuss the snapshot, but I see that the snapshot approach is compatible with the law.
A: It is true that a "snapshot" is not in Law 11 expressly, but is the concept in the Law. This is the language in Law 11 that suggest the snapshot as a way to think of tracking offside: "A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by . . ." There are three ways that we get rid of a snapshot:
- If a teammate touches or plays the ball, we throw out the old snapshot and replace it with a new one.
- If play is stopped (the ball leaves the field or the referee stops play for a foul or any other reason), we throw out the snap shot--there will not be a new snapshot until a player on that team touches the ball again.
- If an opponent deliberately plays the ball, then the offside snap shot is thrown out and not replaced.
Q: Regarding 10U Boys: an attacker kicks the ball toward the goal, the goalie attempts to pick up the ball but fails to gain possession. May the attacker continue play and kick the ball while the goalie is attempting to gain possession (pick up the ball)?
A: An opponent may not kick or attempt to kick the ball when the goalkeeper has possession. Possession includes the goalkeeper having a hand (or body) on the ball pinning the ball to the ground. But if the goalkeeper fumbles the ball so that the ball is loose, opponents are free to challenge for the ball as long as they do so with appropriate care. If an opponent trying to get the ball kicks the goalkeeper, that is a kicking foul. But if the attacker can kick the ball without kicking the goalkeeper and without pushing the goalkeeper off the ball, that is not a foul. There is no special rule at 10U—this is simply application of Law 12. At 10U, referees should err on the side of protecting the goalkeeper—but that does not mean a referee should call a foul on an opponent who is fairly and safely challenging for the ball. answered 9/29/18
Q: Regarding 10U, is tackling allowed? If not, what is the penalty for tackling?
A: In soccer, the Laws of the Game define a tackle as "A challenge for the ball with the foot (on the ground or in the air)." (Page 175.) So the simple answer would be that, yes, of course, tackling is allowed. But I don't think that would really answer your question. Law 12 tells us that one of the direct free kick fouls is tackling when it is careless, reckless, or with excessive force. (Page 101.) Put another way, a challenge for the ball with the foot must be done with care so that it is not dangerous to the opponent. That generally means there should not be significant contact with the opponent who had the ball, and that any contact should come only after the contact on the ball. If the tackle is simply the defender stopping the ball with his foot, and the opponent then trips over the ball, that is not a foul. If what you really meant was are slide tackles allowed in 10U games, the answer is that they are only permitted if done with adequate care. But most 10U players lack the skill to execute a fair slide tackle, so attempts at slide tackles at that age are very likely to be careless tackles, which means it is a direct free kick foul. Keep in mind the referee mantra: Safe, Fair & Fun. And if what you meant was an American-football type tackle, of course that would be a foul. And whether the referee sees it as a holding foul, charging foul, or pushing foul, it doesn't really matter--any of those would be direct free kick fouls.
Q: At what age should AYSO referees begin using yellow and red cards?
A: Yellow and red cards are a communication too used by referees to indicate that a player has been formally cautioned or has been sent off for misconduct. (They were first imagined in 1966 by Ken Aston (who later became a great friend of AYSO) to overcome language barriers in international matches.) As a matter of philosophy, AYSO avoids them at younger ages, not because misconduct is acceptable, but to avoid the public nature of showing the card. That means that referees can still caution or send off players for misconduct, but they would do so by the less public process of speaking to the player and the coach. (Any such cautions or send offs should be noted on the game card.) Fortunately, in the younger ages misconduct is unusual, so the issue rarely arises. As a general matter in AYSO, the cards are not used as a communication tool until 12U. (At 12U and even 14U, referees are encouraged to be kind and low key when using the cards, and to explain what is happening to the player and why the player is being sent off.) In the unlikely event a younger player is sent off for misconduct during a game, in addition to noting it on the game card, referees should promptly contact the Division Referee Administrator.
Q: Another team's goalkeeper controlled the ball with hands in her own penalty area for more than six seconds on multiple occasions which would normally result in an indirect free kick offense. Unlike other calls where perception and judgement is involved, counting 6 seconds requires less judgement.
While the 6 second rule sounds like it is a simple black and white rule, that is not how the Game applies the rule. The rule is intended as one of judgment--and it carries a very harsh penalty, as it creates a significant scoring opportunity for the opponent. Accordingly, referees are not trained to count off the seconds the way a basketball referee would and catch the goalkeeper with the ball. (Indeed, watch a professional match and goalkeepers routinely hold the ball for more than 6 seconds. Yet I only know of only one example of the rule being infraction being called in a professional game--in the women's world cup between the US and Canada, which created a bit of a fire storm even though the goalkeeper had been consistently holding the ball for more than 10 seconds.) The rule (which replaced a "four step" rule for goalkeepers) is simply intended to be applied with judgment so that game moves forward without excessive delays. So despite the way the the rule is written, it is ultimately a rule for referee judgment. When in the opinion of the referee it is necessary, referees should encourage goal keepers to release the ball more quickly. Only when a goalkeeper continues to delay after being warned should a referee consider calling the infraction. (As an aside, it often seems the goalkeeper has the ball longer than she does as nothing is happening. And even from a technical perspective, the 6 seconds does not start until the goalkeeper has clear possession and, if necessary, time to get to her feet.) Note for 10U: the 6 seconds would not start until all opponents have retreated beyond the build out line.
Q: There was one goal which we thought was scored. The ball was blocked by the goalkeeper, but while in the goalkeeper's possession, went across the goal line into the goal. It was not recognized as a goal by the AR. My question is: If the ball is touching and on the goal line (ie not completely over it) could that be a reason the goal was not recognized by the AR?
A: Exactly! For a goal to score (and indeed any time the ball leaves play) the whole ball must cross over the whole line. That is true whether the ball is in the air or on the ground--the line shoots straight up. On close plays, one has to be very close to the goal line to know for sure whether the whole ball crossed the whole line, or whether than last smidgen of the ball is hanging over a smidgen of the line. Assistant Referees should be trying very hard to be standing on the goal line when these events arise so they can make the close call. One trick that Assistant Referees use is to see the goal posts, which should have their back edges on the back portion of the goal line. If the Assistant Referee is on the goal line so that the goal posts line up, she can tell if the whole ball crossed the whole line by seeing if the ball passes the post.
Q: My son's 10U coach just told me about some rule changes for this age group, including an addition filed marking between the halfway line and the penalty area, changes to how a goalkeeper may restart play, and changes to offside. Where can I get details about these changes?
A: At the bottom of both the coach page and the referee page on the Region 13 website you can find two relevant documents: AYSO Region 13's Guidance, Interpretation & Modifications for 10U Referees on the Laws of the Game (revised July 2017) and FAQ Regarding the Build Out Line in 10U (revised July 2017). (These topics will also be covered at the Region 13 Coach and Referee meetings on Tuesday September 5 and Thursday September 7.)
Q: When a goal keeper catches ball along the penalty side line and steps across it with ball in hands what is the penalty?
A: Short answer: Direct free kick. A bit more information: When the goalkeeper is outside of the penalty area, the goalkeeper has no special rights or privileges. Since deliberate handling is one of the direct fee kick offenses in Law 12, that means that if the goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball outside the penalty area, the offense results in a direct free kick. Outside of the penalty area refers to the position of the ball. If any part of the ball is on or above even a smidgen of the line, the goalkeeper is still able to touch any part of the ball. On punts, referees need to keep in mind a couple of things. What matters is where the ball is when the goalkeeper lets go of the ball -- not where the ball is when it is kicked. Many goalkeepers will release the ball inside the penalty area, but kick the ball well outside, which is perfectly legal. If referees or assistant referees suspect minor violations on punts, it is advisable to warn the goal keeper before calling the infraction. (Many wise coaches teach goalkeepers not to get right on the line to avoid an inadvertent violation.) 5.29.17
Q: This was the original question.
A: Here is the new answer which should show up in the database.
Q: After a stoppage of play due to injury, what are the restart protocols?
A: Short Answer: Either the restart that was already supposed to take place or a dropped ball. A bit more information: If the game is already stopped when the referee becomes aware of an injury, such as if the referee had called a foul or the ball had left the field of play, the injury does not change the restart: it remains a free kick, throw in, goal kick, or corner kick. If the referee needs to stop the game because of the injury, then the referee will restart play with a dropped ball at the location of the ball when play was stopped (but not within the goal area). If one team had clear possession of the ball when play stopped, the referee may encourage a "fair play" restart by either dropping the ball to a player on the team that had the ball or asking the opposing team if they will pass it back to the team that had it or kick the ball over the touchline so that team can have a throw in. The referee should always blow the whistle before play starts after an injury to make sure that all players are aware the game is about to restart. (Note that if the refere stopped play just for the injury or if the coach is called onto the field, the player must leave the game, at least momentarily. If the coach does not elect to put in a substitute, the player must receive the referee's permission to come back onto the field -- but the referee may give that permission by waving the player back onto the field immediately after play has restarted.) Answered 10.1.2015
Q: What can we do to make sure that coaches and parents leave enough space between the sidelines and their chairs so the assistant referee can move along. Sometimes the chairs are placed too close to the lines.
- Short Answer
Q: What's the rule if the goalie has his hand on the ball but doesn't really have full control? May a player kick it out of his hand and then score? The head ref waved off the goal, and the lines person overruled after consultation. So this may be a two part question: 1) the rule re the hand; 2) the lines person overruling.
A Bit More Explanation:
Q: An attacking player is in an offside position but returns to an onside position before the ball is directed to him or to another teammate. Is it OK for him to participate in the play?
- Short Answer
- A bit more explanation
Q: Are goalkeepers allowed to bounce the ball like a basketball before they kick it?
A bit more explanation:
The official Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees (second part of the Laws booklet) provides in its discussion of Law 12 that a goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball "while in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing in into the air." That means that when the goalkeeper bounces the ball, an opponent is not permitted to try to kick the ball away.
While a goalkeeper is permitted to bounce the ball, it may not be a good idea. If, for example, the ball hits an odd clump of grass and bounces away, an opponent is free to challenge for the ball. And since the goalkeeper released the ball, the goalkeeper would not be permitted to use her hands to get the ball back unless the attacker touched the ball first. (If she used her hands it would be an indirect free kick for the other team as she touched the ball with her hands after releasing the ball from her possession before it touched another player.) Of course, it is up to coaches, nor referees, to instruct their goalkeepers regarding bouncing the ball, as the bouncing is perfectly permissible under the Laws of the Game.
(Historical aside: Once upon a time, goalkeepers were limited to taking four steps rather than limited to six seconds with the ball. During part of the four-step era, a bounce counted as a single step even if the goalkeeper took several steps during the bounce. So, back then, bouncing the ball made sense, as it allowed the goalkeeper to move farther up the penalty area before punting.)