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Jim Law

Jim Law's

Ask The Ref!


Jim Law is a South Jersey soccer referee with over 21 years of USSF, high school, and indoor experience.

Do you have a soccer question for Jim? Click here to Ask the Ref!

Ref's Tip:

The new rules for the 2003 high school season have been released. Nothing really shocking or of major significance in the changes. The following is an overview:

  • Padded goalpost are now permitted only if the padding is specifically designed for soccer goal posts. The padding is to be white in color but probably will be other colors since white is not a big seller. What does it matter what color the padding is?
  • Field conditions are the responsibility of the home school administration, both coaches and the referee. All three are expected to work together to make the playing conditions safe. The specific area of concern here is lightning and thunder storms. The referee should note any other problems during the pregame walk around the field.
  • The new style padded head ban is acceptable. This is a device more commonly used in the professional womens matches.
  • Shin guards must be age appropriate. Very simply adults should wear adult shin pads and kids wear kids shin pads. The newest rule of thumb would have the shin pads bottom no higher than two inches from the anklebone. I have found coaches who do not check this nor do they care about this.
  • Player's socks may have logos or manufacturer names on both sides of the sock. What is the big deal here? Socks will not become billboards for advertisement.
  • Coaches are responsible for his/her players being properly equipped before the games start. This is a responsibility taken too lightly by some coaches.
  • Referees are expected to be dressed alike for every game. Why must this be addressed here? Why would a referee want to be different?
  • Players should be reminded about the need for sportsmanship before each game. This is high school - why must the referee be the messenger of this?
  • The act of holding or grabbing a shirt could be viewed as a holding penalty. This can lead to more yellow cards.
  • Both simulations of a fake injury or taking a dive on a play are can lead to a caution. A yellow card is warranted here.
  • Zero tolerance for profanity should be enforced. Profanity should include the use of insulting words, offensive language and abusive language. Need anyone say any more about this?

Paul Mayovitch addressed the soccer officials on two areas. One was what a coach expects from an official and the other is what an official can expect for a coach. Paul is the JV Girls coach at Paul IV as he has been for the past eight years. He is also a soccer official with fourteen years experience. Paul knows what he is talking about from both sides of the fence. Thanks Paul.

What are the referee's expectations of a high school coach?

  • Respect as an official.
  • The field of play is ready at game time.
  • Coach control of his/her players.
  • Players properly equipped to play.
  • Have vouchers ready for the officials.
  • Coaches should not question every call.

What are some of the expectations a coach has of an official?

  • The referee should always be on time for a game.
  • Call ahead to confirm the game.
  • Look and act professional.
  • Have a good knowledge of the game - use common sense.
  • Do not let coaches intimidate you.
  • Be in position to make the proper call.
  • Do NOT demand a voucher the minute you arrive at the field.
  • Work with your partner - you are a team.
  • Make the pregame speech quick and simple. This is not a place for rules review.
  • Forget the nit picky stuff. So what if a shirt is out of the pants?
  • Be pro active in the game. Will a casual conversation with a player prevent potential problems later in the game?
  • Be consistent on your calls.
  • Always be aware of game control and how it affects the player's safety.
  • Have respect for the game - the kids are doing their best to play the game.
  • Leave the "this is only a girls game attitude" at home. WE should not be selling the girls short.
  • Remember a sub varsity game is no less a soccer than the varsity - give them your best.
  • Leave the varsity attitude of "I am a varsity official" when refereeing sub varsity games. A great many teams of the sub varsity nature really enjoy having a varsity official doing their games. Freshman teams think it is really great having a ref show up with the varsity patch on the uniform shirt.

So how did high school soccer do with disqualification's last season? The ladies did very well with only 11 player ejections and 2 coach ejections. The men were not as good but not all that bad either. 152 men ejected along with 13 coach ejections. What happens to the offenders? More to come on that subject in my next article....

Good luck and have a good season....

Ref's Tip:


Washington Township (South)

August 16th, 23rd & 27th, 2003

This announcement is going out to all interested referee candidates.  If you are aware of someone who is interested in becoming certified, please contact them and give them this information, especially if you are not sure if they have received this e-mail. The following class schedule is open to everyone!! Please bring a friend! (just register them by the appropriate deadline)
PLEASE NOTE: You must register by the deadline indicated.  To register, please see the instructions at the end of this e-mail. Please be sure to mail your application & check with sufficient time for the registrar to receive it prior to the deadline. Also, you must take a class in its entirety.  You can NOT "mix and match" between different class dates. 
USSF Certification Class Schedule   (USSF is needed for youth weekend travel league)
  Date Location Contact Fee
Sat.: 8/16/03
Washington Twp.
Time/Place: TBA
Brian Wright
(856) 863-0232
Sat.:         8/23/03
Wed.: 8/27/03
PLEASE NOTE:  For all USSF classes the state organization requires that we must have a minimum of 25 participants by the registration deadline to conduct the class.  Should we not have 25 participants, the class will be rescheduled to another date and you will be notified accordingly.
Lastly, for a listing of other USSF classes being offered in Central and North Jersey, please visit the NJ Youth Soccer website at Go to the bottom of the website and click on the Referee Entry Level Classes
  1. Clearly print the following information on a 8.5" X 11" sheet of paper:
    1. Full Name
    2. Current Age and Date of Birth
    3. Email Address
    4. Home USPS Address
    5. Home Phone #
    6. Cell Phone #
    7. Social Security #
  2. Clearly indicate for which class you are registering.
  3. Write your check for the proper amount ($35 for the USSF course) made payable to "NJREF".
  4. Mail your completed 8.5" x 11" sheet and check to:
    54 Appletree Lane
    Sewell, NJ 08080
  5. Registration Deadlines: You must mail your check & registration information with sufficient time so NJREF can receive your info by the noted deadline.
  6. You will be notified by email of acceptance & exact classroom location.
Thank you for your interest!

Ref's Tip:



High School Certification Class Schedule










Gloucester County Community College
The Gym Building
Rm. 301

Walt Klein
Registrar, SJSOA*








* South Jersey Soccer Officials Association
** $90 covers Course Materials and Instructor's fee, 1 Year Membership in SJSOA, NJSIAA Required Insurance, Rule Book, and an on-field assessment/observation during the fall.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION is Required--Contact Walt Klein, Registrar, SJSOA BY Monday, August 11, 2003
UPON COURSE COMPLETION you will be able to referee JV and Freshman games this Fall, and earn $42/game.  Games are played 6 days a week, so you can work EVERY DAY that you want.  Games will be assigned to you by The Games Assignor.  On August 16th, you will need to make a $40 deposit into the Games Assignor escrow account, which goes towards paying the Games Assignor for his extensive work in organizing all the game assignments and getting them to you.
TO ALL EXISTING SJSOA MEMBERS AND OTHER INTERESTED REFS----WE ARE VERY SHORT HANDED this Fall so please get this information to anyone and everyone you can think of and ENCOURAGE them to sign up.  THANKS FOR YOUR HELP IN GETTING THE WORD OUT!!!!!!!!     WE NEED REFS SO THE KIDS CAN PLAY.
  1. Clearly print the following information on a 8.5" X 11" sheet of paper:
    1. Full Name
    2. Current Age and Date of Birth
    3. Email Address
    4. Home USPS Address
    5. Home Phone #
    6. Cell Phone #  
    7. Social Security #
  2. Clearly indicate for which class you are registering.
  3. Write your check for the proper amount ($90) made payable to "SJSOA".
  4. Mail your completed 8.5" x 11" sheet and check to:
    Registrar, SJSOA
    8208 Normandy Drive
    Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054
  5. Registration Deadlines: You must mail your check & registration information with sufficient time so the Registrar can receive your info by the noted deadline.
Thank you for your interest!

Ref's Tip:

Have you ever noticed how people react to the strangest things? Soccer people worldwide are very fanatical about their teams. Their reactions are equally fanatical.

Take this incident in Brazil: We all get frustrated when our team is not living up to our expectations (sounds like Philly sports fans). Some of us like to kick inanimate objects at inanimate players, while some take our frustrations out on small pieces of red plastic. One Brazilian soccer fan seems to have taken things a little too far, and is living in a tree in protest at his team's poor performance. A gentleman known as Roberto has tied himself to a tree outside the grounds of his team Corinthians, and insists that he will stay there until things improve. He did speak to journalists from the tree, while eating a banana and throwing the skin at the stadium. He is demanding changes to the teams line-up and tactics before he comes down.

Or how about this incident in England: Romark FC and Czech Club were taking part in a five-a-side game in North London when the referee decided that he needed some help exercising his authority on this game. "All hell broke loose. The referee was like Conan the Barbarian," said one of the spectators. He was getting abuse from the Romark players and he abandoned the game. One of the players then referred to the referee as a "fairy". The referee went completely berserk. He ran off the field and returned moments later stripped to the waist and waving a long axe around his head. I guess he was fed up with the constant cheating, diving, moaning and groaning of the players.

Leeds United and Manchester United have shown their distaste for each other over the years but now it is getting very serious. The world famous McDonalds food chain had to change the famous red and yellow arches at the store nears the Leeds United field. It seems the color scheme was too Manchester United in color - they were changed to a more Leeds United friendly color. It gets worse. A local fish and chip shop at Leeds had to remove the normal red plastic forks given to customers. Leeds fans would not buy the fish and chips that came with red forks - again, too Manchester United in color.

How about a recent incident at a local indoor soccer complex? The "keeper" was so frustrated after a goal he ran after the official and threw the ball at the official. Luckily there was no contact but the incident almost got out of control. What the "keeper" did not know was the local deck hockey team saw the whole thing and was going to the aid of the soccer official. One of the hockey players happened to be related to the soccer official. Oh, the "keeper" was awarded a life suspension buy the indoor soccer complex. It is great to see the support the complex gave this official.

And how is your season going?

Ref's Tip:

Just last week the South Jersey Soccer League presented its annual "Sportsmanship Awards" for coaches. The program is for coaches in the Under 8, Under 9 and Under 10 age brackets. The purpose of the program is to recognize and reward a coach in each conference for exhibiting sportsmanship on and off the field. The recipient of the award is to exhibit the following:

  • Fairness
  • Courtesy
  • A positive attitude
  • Being a role model
  • Abiding by the rules
Coaches in each conference vote for one of their peers and cannot vote for themselves. Congratulations to the following for earning this years distinction as South Jersey Soccer League's SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD winners:

Under 8: Nour Obiessy - Highland, Art Cowan - Cape Express, and Steve Pirollo - Highland.

Under 9: Jim Donnelly - Mt. Laurel, Brian Beatty - Cherry Hill, David Lamb - Princeton, Jeff Lowinger - Maple Shade, Joe Oveliette - Highland, Jim Dugan - Haddonfield, Gregg Toci - Haddonfield, Victor Guerra - Deptford, Paul Cray - Maple Shade, Lynne Denny - Delran, and Rich Jennings - EPAA.

Under 10: Barry Gleissner - Cohansey, Mark Bryan - Medford, Reynolds Dowd - Mainland, Mike Horlacher - Washington Twp., Brian Law - Berlin Township, Scott Cooper - Westmont, Pat Connelly - Haddon Heights, Paul Wallowich - West Deptford, Maugerite Walker - Pemberton, Mike Hartey - Runnemede, and Mickey Powers - Millville.


Members of the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association will be conducting both USSF and High School referee classes. The deadline for registering is 3-10-03 for USSF and 3-17-03 for High School. Please contact Walt Klein via E-mail at There is a nominal fee for each class. Good luck and welcome to our refereeing ranks.


Chuck Fleischer, State Emeritus Referee, tells the story of his most interesting game experiences. An Under 6 coed game played on a ground in North Carolina in '77 is typical of beginning soccer careers. Some players picked flowers that grew near the pitch, others stood next to a fence and watched pigs, and still others stopped to watch the airplanes landing at the airport on the other side of the fence. Really a high-pressure match. Youth are still youth and should enjoy the simple pleasures of life even during a game situation.

Victor Matheson, USSF National Referee, tells of the time that he officiated a youth match. The ball struck and killed a low flying bird. What's the restart for this?


Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and columnist, recently did an article about the amount of yellow and red cards issued to players from New Jersey High Schools this past season. The NJSIAA is alarmed about the high number of players and coaches who were disqualified during the boys' soccer season. This article generated quite a few readers' responses. Here are a few followed by my personal comments:

"Some ideas to improve high school boys' soccer - of course they will never happen:"

  1. Let the players play on real size fields. Most play on fields that are too small. This leads to physical play. Every field should be 70 yards wide.
    Comment: Not every school has the physical capacity to make their fields any bigger. Most all school, public schools have fields that are ample. There are a few exceptions. The game is to be played on what is available. Not much that can be done here.
  2. Having only two ref's means players can be murdered in the middle of the field. Have a three-man system. That's what colleges, clubs and the rest of the world have.
    Comment: First we must ask why the two-man system is used-there are not enough referees available to man a three-man system. "Murder in the middle of the field?" A reputable two-man system will prevent this through good positioning and game Control.
  3. There are too many high school coaches who lack the ability to teach the game.
    Comment: This is very true at the less talented school programs. It also might have to do with the lack of talented players at some schools. Teaching the game is more than strategy. Rules or as we prefer, the Laws of the Game, are not taught. Simple things such as the kind of kick that is awarded after a foul are still not known by the players and some coaches. Why are players asking the ref for the answer?
It is my opinion that the responsibility lies within the coaching ranks. Coaches, many, blame the ref for their losses. In an eighty minute game that is a lot of blaming to put on a neutral party. In my 18 years of high school soccer I have only issued 3 red cards. One for a player violently attacking another player, one for a player threatening my safety, and one to a coach for abusive language to me.

When are high school coaches going to focus their team on the game itself? I'd like to see the mouth piece/teeth guard made mandatory, less chance of excessive talking to officials.

Have you ever noticed the better performing high schools have the better coaches? This is not accidental. These people know the game, know how to work with their players and know how to coach.

QUESTION: Why do High Schools use a totally separate set of laws to govern their game. Are not FIFA's laws good enough? What do you think? Let me know.

Ref's Tip:

Another year has come to an end and we begin 2003 with plenty of soccer excitement. South Jersey All Star teams have been announced, Manchester United is coming to the US on a four game tour this summer, NJSIAA has published its report on the state of scholastic soccer in New Jersey, and my personal thanks to those who have helped me this past year.

First, the thanks:

  • Two gentlemen from the Republic of Ireland contacted me. They will be working in the shore area this summer and want to play a bit of soccer. Through a few E-mails I was able to get in contact with the MacFarland family in the Ocean City area. Although there is no organized summer league at the shore, the MacFarlands do set up weekly games and tournament fixtures during the summer. By now the boys from Ireland should have been in contact with the MacFarlands for some summer soccer action.
  • A young man from Ghana has contacted me about playing soccer in the US. He is interested in both the men's leagues and college play. His stumbling block is finding a place to live, what school to attend and how does one go about getting to the United States legally. Good luck.

South Jersey High School Special Honors:

  • Offensive Players of the Year are Lauren Hartman (Delsea) and Jamie Franks (Shawnee).
  • Defensive Players of the Year are Jill McKeever (Washington Twp.) and Andrew Milne (St. Augustine).
  • Jamie Weist (Lenape) and Stephen King (Shawnee) are the Midfielders of the Year.
  • GoalKeepers of the Year went to Melissa Stuhler (Williamstown) and Lubos Ancin (Burlington Twp.).
  • The Jim Black, Sr. Sportsmanship Award honors the players of Maple Shade and Cinnaminson.
  • Jamie McGroarty (Delsea) and Brian Gibney (Shawnee) earned Coaches of the Year Award.
  • The Referee of the Year honor goes to Jim Harvey.

Manchester United, the world's most popular soccer club, will bring its stars and its style to the United States this summer for a four game tour. The tour opens in Seattle where Man U will face Scotland's Glasgow Celtic. Then it is off to Los Angeles to meet Club America of Mexico. The excitement will switch to the East with a game against Italy's Juventus before concluding its tour on August 3rd in Philadelphia versus Spain's Barcelona Soccer Club. (As a side note to this great exhibition I found it interesting that the game in Philadelphia will be the first function at the new Lincoln Financial Field.)

NJSIAA has recently released its fall sport report. Of course soccer took a beating again this year. Disqualifications were the main concern.

  • Boy's soccer accounted for 150 disqualifications while girl's accounted for only 11. More concerning was the 13 coaches who were disqualified.
  • The report offered many theories why soccer has this problem. Considering the amount of games played by the boy's teams this number does not alarm me at all.
  • What alarms me is how coaches tolerate their players dictating to them how they are going to play.
  • What alarms me is how coaches let their teams mouth off to referees during the game.
  • What alarms me is the amount of coaches (boys) that were disqualified. Something needs to be done here. More than a few coaches need to discipline themselves.

U. S. Soccer's Best of 2002 Awards Announced:

  • Best Soccer Bar -    Summers (Arlington, VA.)
  • Best Soccer Store -    Soccer Unlimited (Indianapolis)
  • Best Soccer Fans -    Fans who traveled to Korea
  • Best Soccer Game Promotion -    "Buck-a-Brat-Night" (Columbus Crew)

Ref's Tip:

Rutgers-Camden Community Park

We are most fortunate to have this facility within South Jersey. The home of the Scarlet Raptors is becoming the number one site for soccer in our area. The NexsTurf Field has received accolades from the soccer community. Rutgers-Camden must be commended for opening their facility whenever asked.

Rutgers has hosted the Coaches Tournament as well as numerous other showcase games. Local area youth teams have had the opportunity to share in the fun at this facility. Thank you Rutgers.

Ref's Tip:

South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame

The South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame recently held its 14th annual induction ceremony. The class of 2002 includes Jim Black, Jr., Steve Cicall, Mike Edwards, Dennis Guida, Tony Procopio, Mike Timken, Wendy Young and Marc Narducci. Congratulations to each of you and this well deserved recognition.

Does anyone know where we can find out more about the South Jersey Soccer Hall of Fame? Do they have a web site?


I recently watched a semi final game of high school soccer where the ref called cards on one team and gave the other team open reins to do what they wanted. Why in a state play off game, is there not an offical to be a line judge so children don't get cheated? It's ok to lose to a better team, BUT WE WILL NEVER KNOW !!! And yes injuries occured to the team that got the cards (funny in a sick sort of way isn't it). P.S. The game was St. Rose vs. Wildwood Catholic.   (Dave from North Cape May, NJ)


Dave, I have had your question for over a week just so I could think through it more thoroughly. I believe this is the game where St. Rose beat Wildwood Catholic by a 5-0 score. Obviously you were there to watch Wildwood. Your question is filled with emotion not objectivity.

The referees of this level game are NOT the normal run of the mill referees. Most, if not all, are college certified and/or a "State" level USSF designation. To be assigned these games these officials most likely had to be on the list of ten preferred referees submitted by each high school. You can be sure the officials were not on the "do not assign" list submitted by each school. Your game was officiated by very well qualified officials.

By no means are the men playing at this level children. They are men - big, strong and fast men.

Dave, what were the players comments after the game? What did the coaches say after the game? How can you say we will never know who the better team was? A five goal to zero goal score tells me who the better team was. That is a very big score in a semi-final game.


George M. McPaul

February 10, 1923
November 8, 2002

On November 8, 2002, the South Jersey soccer community lost one of its own: George M. McPaul. George was born in Port Glasgow, Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1969 with his wife Sadie and two children, Ann and Russell.

Shortly after his arrival in South Jersey he founded the Interboro United Soccer Club. This is a club for the youth in the Magnolia area and a feeder program for Sterling High School. Following that he was one of the originators of the South Jersey Men's Amateur League.

George was a mainstay at the soccer field. His banter along the sidelines was always entertaining. Typical of George's comments was him shouting to the referee, "Come on Mr. Referee, they are only wee boys, let them have some fun."

Our prayers and condolences go out to the McPaul family. George will be sadly missed.

Ref's Tip:

The New Jersey high school season is almost over and what a season it was. I was fortunate to have been involved in 31 games to date. Of the 122 goals in my games, the home teams scored 77 and the remainder of 45 were by the visitors. That is a lot of goals. There is an abundance of talent in our high schools.

I would like to share some highlights of this past season in both USSF and high school games I have either been a referee or spectator:

  • The four men routing for Cherry Hill East, all with their shirts off bearing the letters E-A-S-T. That was a frigid day and they toughed it out for the whole game.
  • Same game with a different twist. The gentleman who chose to express his displeasure by shouting uncomplimentary comments at the referee. He was escorted away from the game.
  • The Coaches Tournament final at Rutgers-Camden was a class affair again this year.
  • Berlin Township's U-6 commitment to instructional soccer. The players learn and have fun during their games. The coaching staff has been great. Great job by Keith McCaulley, soccer coordinator for Berlin Township.
  • Who can forget the referee in Medford? For a full sixty minutes she never ran a step, could call off sides from 40 yards away but chews a mean piece of gum the whole time. It was obvious she was only there to collect her pay. This is not one of the youth referees being used in SJSL.
  • In the eight games refereed by the youth refs of the SJSL so far this season I could not be more pleased. They have a good grasp of the game and seem to enjoy what they are doing.

So you want to be a referee? Sure you do, but are hesitant about it. Why? Relief is here. If you want to know more about becoming a soccer referee why not ask our recruiter Will Merriken via email at OK, so this is not good enough. How about trying our South Jersey Soccer Officials Association site: The Association site is extremely well constructed to answer almost any questions. Good Luck and join us soon.

Until the next letter...


I'm currently a freshman in high school and I have a question about a call made during a game my team played a few weeks ago. We were in a heated match against Gloucester Cath. and right at the end of the game their player came in and decked our goalie when he went out for a ball. They wound up scoring because our keeper was down and couldn't make the save. So we went into overtime and lost the game. I was just wondering if this should have been a foul.   (Andrew from Deptford, NJ)


Andrew, your question is not a simple question. Without being there to see the events happening I cannot offer a valued opinion. There are things I would have to consider such as was the goalie really playing the ball with full intensity, was the offensive player playing the ball, what were the other players doing at this time, did the official have a clear view of the whole event and what were the field conditions at the time of the event?


I was wondering how to become certified to become a ref in Ocean County? and how much it will cost?   (Tony from Lacey Twp., NJ)


Using the links associated with the site I was able to access New Jersey Youth Soccer. They have a complete listing of locations and contacts for the entry level referee school. Associated costs are also part of the information on their site. Another way to get this information is to access their site directly: Another source of great information is to email Good luck and thanks for using our site.

Ref's Tip:

We have all heard the saying "it is not over until it is over". This summer I experienced a situation that fits this phrase very well. My young nephew was playing a championship soccer game in Scotland this summer. For the week before, all we were told how easy this game would be. In fact, it was so easy he was preparing himself for a victory celebration after scoring a goal. Would he do a flip? Would he run around with his shirt over his head? Would he just taunt the other team in a display of arrogance? As fate would have it, his team lost. Lost big time by a five-goal margin. My poor nephew was shattered by the experience. The game was not over until it was over. Hopefully he learned a lesson in humility.

"Sports rage" has been a hot topic for the past year here in America. We have all read about the ugly scenes at youth sporting events. Adults have attacked youth referees. Adults have attacked adults. Adults have attacked coaches. In New Jersey, the state has legislated additional protection for such incidents. Bill number S1198 on is very comprehensive and worth reviewing. It addresses these situations in very specific terms.

Ref's Tip:

Last month I wrote about the expenses a referee would incur with the purchasing of uniform shirts. There was some misinformation in that column. For USSF the black shirt is no longer in use. The primary shirt is yellow with black pin strips - not to be confused by the yellow with the swirls used in college. For back up purposes a red with black pin stripes, black with white pin stripes or the blue with black pin stripes are acceptable. The fuchsia shirts are no longer in use. The solid black shirt is now used only in high school games. Thanks to Barry Towbin and Marc Block for getting this information to me. No matter how you look at it there is need for a standard in uniforms between college, high school and USSF. There is no need for all these differences.

Congratulations to one of our fellow referees: Kenneth Andres. Ken has recently been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York. He is believed to be the only person to participate in state high school and NCAA Championship Finals as both a player and a referee. Ken has been a national referee since 1984 and next year will become the president of the 4,500-member National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association. He has refereed more than 10 college tournament playoff matches and currently is an official for the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big Ten and Ivy League.

Have you seen the confusion at an 8 v 8 game when it came to placing the ball for a penalty shot? Where do you place the ball? The 8 v 8 field is much smaller that the regulation field thus the measurements for the penalty area are reduced. Well, they are supposed to be reduced for the 18-yard box but in reality this box measures whatever a club decides it should be. There is no written standard. What is standard is the 6-yard box. The actual placement of the ball should be half way between the 6-yard box and whatever they use as an 18. Hopefully the referees for SJSL will be informed of this. Last year it caused so much confusion for a referee he walked off the field and abandoned the game. He had no idea what to do. Of course, this led to many questions from coaches and players. No wonder he quit.

NEW HIGH SCHOOL RULES: Nothing significant to report. The use of referee hand signals has come back after a couple of years. Uniform shirts must have sleeves. That's all.

High school season begins its scrimmage schedule starting Tuesday. Just seems like last week we finished last season. USSF will start the weekend after Labor Day. Here we go again. Good luck to the players, coaches and parents. Remember, bring your parents and grand parents to a game. Let them all enjoy our great sport. Until next month....


I finished the ref course today and after taking the test hope to be certified to ref recreational games in the township. I have no desire to ref travel soccer games. Do I still need to spend $25 a year to register with NJYS or USSF?   (Mike from Millstone Twp., NJ)


I would check with your local organization about their requirements for refereeing. Many places require USSF certification and membership. Also, do not be short sighted in referee aspirations. If you change your mind in a year or so you probably would have to re-take the course to be recertified. Welcome to the ref ranks and best of wishes for a good season.


I'm a new ref and would like to start some games in my area. Who should I contact?   (Richard from Delran, NJ)


Another ref, welcome. Richard I tried to E-mail this answer to you but the address you gave is invalid. There are two main contacts. John Barna assigns high school and some tournaments, 856-848-0006. For USSF and some tournaments call Gary Nichols at 856-829-8362.


How many minutes is in a complete soccer game without overtime or extra innings?   (Sherry from Ripley)


Sherry, I tried to get a better clarification from you by E-mail but the address you gave me is invalid. This is a question with many answers. A normal game is 90 minutes long. The high school game is 80 minutes long. For weekend USSF ball the time can go from 50 minutes to 80 minutes depending on ages playing.


My son is U10 on a team in Jackson. For the fall season...are they using the throw-in rule that says both teams can sub on a throw in unless the team that has the ball doesn't want to sub...then no one subs? Thanks.   (Shelly from Toms River, NJ)


Most U-10 teams are using USSF Laws of the Game, which allows only the team in possession to sub on a throw-in. What you are asking is correct for high school ball in New Jersey. Maybe, this U-10 team is playing in a recreation league or an in-town league and the rules have been modified by the local organization. Best bet is to ask your sons coach for a clarification.

Ref's Tip:

Here it is August already. Only another six weeks before both the fall and Scholastic soccer seasons begin. Hope the heat dissipates for enjoyment of the coming games.

Last month I mentioned the use of electronic signaling between the Assistant Referee and the Head Referee during the World Cup Games. Did you know they premiered at the Olympics in Atlanta? They have been use in the MSL for several years.

Get ready... Gazza is coming to DC United. Paul Gascoigne, aka Gazza, was once one of the premier players in Scotland and England. He is now 35 years old, overweight and out of shape. Do we really need to have this to help our leagues? Reminds me of the old Cosmos teams.

So you want to be a referee? Be ready to spend some money on uniforms if you decide to do scholastic and USSF ball. The standard of the black shirt has been changed for some reason or another. A basic kit would include a short and long sleeve black shirt for normal games both USSF and Scholastic. For USSF you need an alternate shirt in case of a black conflict with either team playing that day. So, get yourself the long and short sleeve yellow with black stripes shirts. If it is a Scholastic game you need an alternate yellow with fish net look in both long and short sleeve. Yes, this is different than the USSF shirt. What happens if you have a Scholastic game out of the local region? The state requires you to wear the old black and white stripe shirts. Yes, both long and short sleeve versions. Why has it gotten to this point? Beats me, but eight shirts is a bit much.

Earlier this month Diya from Egypt asked about the six-second rule used in the World Cup as the first time it was used. He asked for a simple yes or no answer. No. The six-second rule is the time allowed to the goalkeeper for the release of the ball after gaining control. This rule was initiated a few years ago. Its purpose was to eliminate the four-step rule and speed up the game. Personally, I like this change and it works very well.

Boog from West Berlin, NJ is testing me with four questions. My reply is just my opinion.

  1. Is #9 Ronaldo the best ever to play the game or is Pele still the best ever? How could you ask such a question? PELE-PELE-PELE! He is the best ever. Not only is he the best ever player, he is also a great person. Remember his retirement game in October 1977? What you did not see was all the pre-game activity. Youth teams who had their captains present Pele with a gift circled the field. One captain could not find the way up onto the stage. Pele left the stage to greet the captain of the Special Olympic Team and bring him on stage for the world to see. When this young man returned to his team it was as if they had won the World Cup, their excitement was unbelievable. And who was the coach of that team? Stan Startzell of the old Philadelphia Atoms.

  2. Did Ronaldo commit a foul (from behind) on the first goal? Do you think it was a make-up for the foul against him right before at the top of the box? That is a tough one to answer. Watching replays make the judgments easier but that is not the way we do soccer. Hugh Dallas was the man in the middle for this game. Mr. Dallas, head international referee from Scotland, is one of the top five officials in the world. If he calls a foul or does not call a foul I have to believe in his opinion. He is there in the heat of the game and has a better grip on things than you or I.

  3. Do you think the WUSA is good for soccer in the USA? I have given this question an awful lot of thought. How do I answer it? The WUSA is outstanding for the young ladies of the USA. They now have role models of success. The hopes of getting to this level will be enhanced by scholarships to college - this is exciting. More and more young ladies are involved in the game because of the WUSA - this is exciting. The WUSA is marketing their product extremely well. Autograph sessions before and after games - this is exciting. As for the game of soccer itself - no, I do not think it is all that good. The ladies just do not have what the men have in the skill area. It is coming but is way behind. All too often the games look like schoolyard games, kick and hope someone is there to do something.

  4. Do you think FIFA will alter the rule, or should they, on the mandatory retirement of International Officials at age 45? Yes, FIFA will change its policy. Two of the best referees at the World Cup will be over the 45-year mark at the next World Cup. I believe referees over 45 will be subjected to a very rigid physical and endurance testing to qualify for World Cup 2006 in Germany.

Conner, I have not forgotten about the referee clinic with your soccer team. We will be getting together by the end of the month to set the date and other particulars. For those of you who do not know Conner, he is the young player who won this clinic at the Berlin Township Schools silent auction. He is a second year player in the Berlin Township Athletic Association.

Have a great August...see you in September.

Ref's Tip:

Brazil-2   Germany-0

Who would have guessed it - Brazil winning the World Cup? OK, so my France prediction was way-way off base. Not far behind that was the other prediction of the USA not making it to the second round. Good thing I do not make predictions for a living.

I have recently returned from an extended visit to Iceland, Scotland and England. What a most fortunate time of year to visit - World Cup time. During the preliminary stages we got three telecast games a day beginning at 7:30 AM. The British Broadcasting Company did a bang up job with its coverage, albeit slanted to the English Team. That got old fast, but the rest of the coverage was excellent.

The British press was most favorable to our Team USA. Much to their surprise we completed a task most thought was not possible. We can all be proud of the achievements this year's squad accomplished. Soccer in the USA is here to stay.

How does the referee know when the assistant referee raises his flag indicating a foul, off sides or out of bounds? Technology has hit it big in this year's World Cup. The assistant referee has a button on the handle of his flag. All he has to do is push the button and a signal is buzzed to the referee.

What is a World Cup without some sort of controversy? How many goals did the Italian team have nullified by being in an off side position when in fact they were not in that position? Sure is easy to see on slow motion replay. Is there a solution?

The Glasgow, Scotland newspapers had an idea on how to work through this problem. They state that Hugh Dallas, Scottish International Referee, always works with the same assistant referee crew in every big game. This brings consistency to the game. Why is it the biggest games of all do not have the same process? Might this be an item for review?

Have you had a good time watching the World Cup? Thank heavens for the Spanish network broadcasting the games in the Philadelphia area. They were much more impressive than the English network productions in the UK.

Also impressive were the camera angles, instant replays from reverse direction and overall game situation replays. Great job camera crews. Hope the US viewers will hold our networks up to these standards for our soccer.

Until next time...........

Ref's Tip:


Here it is only a day before the start of the World Cup and the American media is still asleep. When will they wake up? This is the single most viewed sporting event in the whole world. We in North America are very naive to think we are the center of the universe. Thirty two nations have spent the past four years qualifying for this event. All 736 players are ready.

With Beckham hurt, how will England survive? Roy Keane has been sent home to Ireland in disgrace. Zindane, the most complete player in the world is hurt. What will France do without him? Can Claudio Reyna motivate the Americans to a level they have never performed to?

Who will they be talking about at the end of June? It was Michael Owen in 98, Gazza in 90, and a certain Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 58.

Here are the British odds of winning along with the team and the player to watch.

4-1FranceZindane, the best all round player in the world.
6-1BrazilDenilson, reminds one of Pele.
6-1ItalyTotti, at the top of his game.
7-2ArgentinaVeron, invaluable mid fielder.
9-1EnglandBeckham, inspirational and creative.
9-1SpainMendieta, if he rediscovers his touch he could be the tournament star.
12-1PortugalFigo, destined to shine.
14-1GermanyBallack, attacking mid fielder.
40-1CameroonEto'o, highly rated.
40-1RussiaIzmailov, young attacking mid fielder with immence talent.
50-1CroatiaBoksic, classy striker.
50-1ParaguayParedes, fine all round player.
50-1Rep. of IrelandHolland, hard worker.
50-1UruguayRecoba, back in action after the passport scandal.
66-1JapanNakata, heart of Japanese creativity.
66-1NigeriaJay Jay Okocha, very creative.
66-1SwedenLjungberg, deceptively skilled mid fielder.
66-1TurkeyBasturk, nippy mid fielder.
80-1BelgiumWalem, excellant passer.
80-1DenmarkJensen, although injured his incisive passing would be key.
80-1PolandOlisadebe, excellant forward.
100-1MexicoGarcia Aspe, well experienced.
100-1SenegalFadiga, classy mid fielder and free kick specalist.
100-1SloveniaZahovic, great goal scorer.
125-1EcuadorAguinaga, Ecuador's best ever player.
150-1South KoreaLee Yound Pyo-Pacy, penetrating mid fielder.
150-1USAReyna, as near as it can get to be world class as a US player.
200-1Costa RicaCastro, fine dribbler and useful crosses.
200-1Saudi ArabiaSami Al Jaber, best Saudi ever.
200-1South AfricaNomvete, exciting left side attacker.
200-1TunisiaBaya, experienced mid fielder.
350-1ChinaQiHong, creative mid fielder.

How about some world cup trivia?

  1. Who were the youngest and oldest goal scorers?
  2. Who was the top goal scorer?
  3. Who were the oldest and youngest players?
  4. Who made the most appearances?
  5. Who received the fastest red card, 56 seconds?

In my last writing I predicted the US would not advance to the second round. I still stick with that. Who will be the winner? I predict France, the likes of Zindane are just too great for the opponents to overcome.

Ref's Tip:

How many of you have ever seen the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association's monthly publication of Soccer New Jersey? This quarterly newsletter comes out in February, May, August and November. The articles cover every facet of soccer here in New Jersey.

Of particular interest is the column by Marc Block, National Emeritus Referee, concerning the Laws of the Game. Marc is a big time official with many years experience at all levels of the game. He has a way to simplify the Laws so we can all understand them.

From time to time I am asked about tournaments in different parts of the state. This publication lists all the approved tournaments, age categories, dates and local contacts for the tournament.

For subscription information, the NJYSA can be contacted by calling 609-490-0725 or on the net at OFFICENJYS@AOL.COM.

The 2002 World Cup is coming at the end of the month. Beginning on May 31st the sixteen top qualifying nations begin their run for the World Cup. This year's World Cup will be co-hosted by South Korea and Japan. We, the United States, have qualified again. We are pitted against first round opponents Portugal, South Korea and Poland. Many sources think the United States will be able to move into the second round of the tournament. I would like to agree but something tells me it will not happen. The final game will be June 30th in Yokohama, Japan. Get those VCRs ready since most of the games will be televised in the 2:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. EST time slots.

Just recently I have been asked about where one goes to find a team to match their skills and/or age group. This is particular to adult leagues. Have you tried the indoor facilities in your area? They usually have a notice board for your use. In South Jersey there are at least eight indoor sites with a couple of new ones going up in the Atlantic City to Cape May area.

A week ago Friday the local Berlin Township PTA held a fund raising auction. One of our referees offered a one-hour clinic in September for the winner's team. Young Conner Travis was the lucky recipient. I heard this item was one of the hot tickets for the evening. It is great to see the youth wanting to learn the game from a referee's perspective. This is an area I have always wanted to see explored by the youth coaches.

Have a great month!

Ref's Tip:

Things have been very quiet lately. I did get a question about tournaments in the Cape May area on Memorial Day. Researching this type information is quite easy if you use the site to its fullest. We have an amazing list of information for you. Just access the Soccer site and you will see. You can find a list of approved tournaments, information about both the boys and girls leagues in South Jersey as well as a link to The Laws of the Game. Try it - you will find it most informative.

At time I have written a few articles with some criticism. Here is another. I attended a youth game (U10) last November at Indian Mills. Due to the lack of knowledge by the official the game was abandoned early in the second half. Up to that point the game was very nice. The official called a penalty shot that was a proper call. It was controversy when he placed the ball on the 18-yard line for the shot. The visiting coach voiced his displeasure with this decision and asked for an explanation. At this point the official declared this game over and he left the field to go home. There was no explanation as to why he was leaving or anything. Of course the official would write his report and send it to the league within 24 hours. It was almost four full months before the league contacted the coach for his explanation. Four months? Anyway, the league grievance committee did meet and make a decision. The visiting coach was suspended for two games and fined $75.00. The reason? The official wrote in his report the visiting coach had received both a yellow and red card as well as using foul language. I was there! At no time was either a yellow or red card issued to anyone and there was definitely no foul language used. It is my opinion the official made up these allegations in his report. This is just not right. Why did it take four months to investigate this incident? Who did the grievance committee talk to in this matter? How can this injustice be supported? I would suspend this official for false reporting. How does The South Jersey Soccer League get these officials? They give the training and set them free to do games. These youth referees are NOT part of the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association. Their lack of proper training is all too evident. What do you think?

Three weeks ago I attended another game at Tar Kill. Again it was a youth game (U11). The official was Vincent Seppanen. He did such an outstanding job I over heard a parent talking with the coach saying, "wouldn't it be nice to have an official like that every game?" Would you believe he had already completed officiating four indoor games before that game? Great job Vince!

Two weeks ago I attended another game, this time at Pine Lands. I did not get the official's name but he was right up there with Vince. It was a treat to watch these two professionals.

Ref's Tip:

Do you know someone who wants to become a USSF official? If so, the next class will be held at Gloucester County College. The contact is David Scales (856-728-3172). If you cannot make this session please contact either Will Merriken (856-235-2461) or Jay Appleton (856-234-0089).

The month of March is the beginning of the soccer tournament season. Already on the books are:

  1. March 29-30 S.J. Barons Premier Invitational Nor'Easter.
  2. March 30 CP United 4th Annual Girls Easter.
  3. May 24-26 Burlington Township Memorial Weekend.
  4. May 24-27 Voorhees Memorial Day Classic.
  5. May 25-27 14th Annual Vineland Memorial Day.
  6. June 1-2 Medford Strikers Invitational.

From the British newspaper East Anglian Daily Times: A referee in the Colchester District Football League, Essex, faces disciplinary action after taking pity on a team trailing 18-1 and scoring a goal for them. The moral of this is for us to stay impartial at all times. Sometimes we all want to help teams losing that bad. I personally believe that the league should have disciplinary action against any team running up a score so high.

What would possess a team to run a score so high? Greed ? Revenge? Who knows? For years I have been involved with the officiating of indoor games where the opportunity to run a high score is quite easy. This is where "class" coaching takes control. I have seen teams play short handed, played the defense in offensive positions, only allowed head ball on goal and a variety of "skill" builders like that. Good teams use the time to improve. Nobody wants to lose by such a lopsided score.

As an official, I remember what Nick told us when we refereed for him at the old Soccer City. Very simply, lets not put up any more goals on the scoreboard than a five-goal differential. This is less embarrassing to a losing team, it prevents trouble with the older high school players and keeps everyone calm.

Yesterday's Courier-Post ran its weekly list of South Jersey seniors that have committed to continuing their athletic careers in college. Our soccer players have an impressive array of college commitments:

Andrea AdinolfiPaul VIRowan
Kristen AndrewsWilliamstownDrexel
Joe BanksWinslowDrexel
Dana BrandtShawneeTowson
Emily BrennerCherry EastCharleston
Perri BrennerCherry EastCharleston
Kelly BreslinShawneeVillanova
Ryan CarrOcean CityHartford
Sean CooneyShawneeStockton
Brianne DonnellyGloucester CatholicRider
Jen EvansWashington Twp.High Point
Lindsey FinneganGloucester CatholicVillanova
Erin GallagherEasternKutztown
Glen GallagherShawneeU. of Maryland
Sean GearyWinslowStockton
Lisa GennaLenapeLa Salle
Katie GrilloLenapeSt. Joseph
Jeff GrosserShawneeJohns Hopkins
Laura KochGloucester CatholicVillanova
Ryan McCaugheyShawneeLafayette
Erin McNultyOcean CityLa Salle
Chrissy SchilligCherokeeVillanova
Anne ShovlinBishop EustaceLa Salle
Jen StorionePaul VIMonmouth

Congratulations. Do you have any others that I might have missed? Let me know.

Have a great month and best of kicking to each of you.


In a youth soccer game using FIFA rules, can you change a player on the field to goalkeeper and put the goalkeeper in the position of that player in the last two minutes of the second half when a direct kick is called outside the penalty area? FIFA says you can change the goalkeeper in Law 3 if the ref is informed and it is done during stoppage of play. What is considered stoppage of play ? Also, is it in FIFA rules-the definition of stoppage? Also, does it spell out the fact that refs normally do not allow on field goalkeeper changes in the last 1 or 2 minutes of the game unless injury occurs? Thank you.   (John from Columbus, GA)


Just the other day I received a question from John in Columbus, Georgia. John, is this a test question? It sure reads like one we get at our annual question about the "Laws of the Game."


  • In a youth soccer game using FIFA rules, can you change a player on the field to goalkeeper and put the goalkeeper in the position of that player? Yes, you can. Law 3 allows for such if the referee is informed before the change is made and the change is made during a stoppage in the match.
  • Can you make this change during the last two minutes of the second half when a direct kick is called outside the penalty area? Yes, if the provisions of Law 3 are met. How would you communicate such a substitution to the referee to meet the requirements of Law 3?
  • What is considered a stoppage in play? Does FIFA define the term stoppage of play? This is the tricky part of the question. I have looked in FIFA and USSF for this definition - it is not there. How would I handle it? The very easy stoppages are between the halves, on a goal kick, when a goal is scored, when an injured player is attended to, during a caution and during a disqualification. None of these fit the question. The referee must make a quick decision: is the substitution being made as a time waster or game delay tactic by the defense? An example of that would be changing to take away an offensive advantage of a quick kick on goal. On the other hand, if the offensive team is slow getting set up for the direct kick I would allow the substitution. If the referee determines the defensive tactic to be time wasting then time can be added to a game for this.
  • Also, does FIFA or USSF spell out the fact the referees normally do not allow on field goalkeeper changes in the last minute or two of a game unless an injury occurs? This is not spelled out anywhere nor have I ever heard, seen or been taught to do this. To me it all comes down to what the specifics are at the time.
John thanks for the question, it is very thought provoking. Anybody have any different opinions? Let me know.

Have you ever wondered what a referee discusses with players while the game is in play? Most often it is a leverage tactic to calm down a player who might be on the verge of a caution or disqualification. While doing indoor soccer games I talk with a lot of players for many reasons. One would be a verbal warning to keep things under control. Most often I use it to explain how I am refereeing. An example of that would be a runaway game of says 9 to 0. I might be more lenient with the poorer team while explaining my actions to the better players on the better team. This works very well. The players fully understand the reasons once you tell them. Verbal actions prevent many player frustrations.

Ref's Tip:

Here it is December already. The high school scholastic season has ended and the awards have been presented. In case you missed them, here is a recap of the major awards:

  • Courier-Post Cup-boys went to Shawnee.
  • Courier-Post Cup-girls went to Lenape.
  • South Jersey Coaches Association boys tournament winner was Shawnee.
  • South Jersey Coaches Association girls tournament winner was a tie for both Washington Township and Shawnee.
  • Boys Player of the Year went to Jeff Grosser of Shawnee.
  • Girls Player of the Year went to Lindsey Finnegan of Gloucester Catholic.
  • Jeff Eppright, coach of Haddon Heights boys, was named Coach of the Year.
  • Bill Mulvihill, coach of Moorestown girls, was named Coach of the Year.
  • The Coaches Association honored Ron Pugh as Referee of the Year.
  • The South Jersey Soccer Officials Association honored the boys team from Woodrow Wilson and the girls team from Willingboro as recipients of the 2001 James Black, Sr. Sportsmanship Award.
Congratulation to all. It is people and teams like these that make this sport what it is and has grown to be.

So you want to be a referee next season? Not only does South Jersey Sports Online offer a link to the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association, it also provides forms for prospective referee candidates. If that is not easy enough, how about trying an E-mail to our referee recruiter, Will Merriken. His E-mail address is: Come on in and join a really great group of dedicated people.

Have you heard about the referee that showed up for a game to find the game cancelled? It happened. The referee called the Athletic Director at 11am to confirm the game and was told yes, there is a game today at 3:30pm. Near 1:00pm, the school, Willingboro, changed its mind and cancelled the game. Seems they wanted to show the players some unexpected dicipline. The school did call the referee but left a message on his answering machine. This referee did not go home to check his messages since he was doing a substitute teaching position that day. The referee arrived to be told there was no game. Under normal circumstances the referee is entitled to travel pay for things like this. Willingboro decided they were not going to do this. The referee went through his association seeking help and got it. Willingboro consented to travel pay only if the referee traveled to Willingboro to fill out the forms. They were asked to mail the forms, but the Athletic Director would only entertain a personal visit to fill out the forms. This is not a normal business practice in the real world. No, the referee refused to travel to Willingboro again just to appease the whims of the Athletic Director. This referee has been put on the "do no games at Willingboro" list for the next season. Personally I think this was a classless act by people in the education business. Good luck Willingboro.

Remember, if you want to be a soccer referee send an E-mail to

Have a great holiday season.

Ref's Tip:

Did you ever wonder how complicated it was to play in an organized soccer league? Neither did I, but what about a young man from Ireland who wants to play on a Cape May team this summer? Through sources in the South Jersey Soccer League, there is a distinct procedure for this young man. First, he must have a written release from the Irish Football League stating he is not a professional. Next, his current team in Ireland must give him a written release stating he is under no financial obligation to them. Not to be out done, our federal government must approve this young man to play soccer in our country. It does sound a bit complicated and unnecessary.

Have you been to the new Rutgers-Camden soccer field? It is adjacent to the new baseball field in Camden. What a fantastic facility. The artificial turf is the closest thing to a natural surface that can be man made. The South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association used this field for the finals of their tournament and the senior all star games. The state should look into using this facility for its group championships next season. For those playing on this surface it is an absolute treat. Size-wise it has to be the biggest field in South Jersey.

So you want to be a ref? Just click on South Jersey Soccer Officials Association for all the details and forms.

Have a great holiday season.

Ref's Tip:

Approximately two weeks ago, an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer was brought to my attention. Just the day before, the Camden Courier-Post had the same information but in abbreviated fashion. The article went on about Cherry Hill East girl's soccer team losing to Washington Township in the Coaches Tournament due to the officials and coaches allegedly not knowing the tie breaking rule in this tournament.

East and Township played to a scoreless tie in the regulation time. They then went to a tie breaker overtime period with East scoring in the first overtime period and Township scoring in the second overtime period. Township finally was declared the winner by out scoring East with penalty shots.

This seems all innocent enough because this was what was agreed to before the game started. The Coaches Tournament does NOT use this rule. For the second year in a row this tournament has gone to the "Golden Goal" overtime comcept. That is, first to score in overtime wins. In this case East would have won the game.

Who is at fault here? Yes, the officials should have known the rule but did not. In fact the "fact sheet" for this tournament was not given out to the officials by their association. Yes, the coaches should have known about the rule - it is their organization that runs this tournament.

What is most interesting is the comment by East coach Viktor Dombrovsky acknowledging that nobody knew the rule. "I didn't know it, and the officials didn't know what to do," he said. "I think the officials should know the rules, and it's disappointing that we didn't advance." Did Coach Dombrovsky fail to mention that just two days before, his team played Holy Cross in this same tournament? Did Coach Dombrovsky fail to mention he was told of the rules at the Holy Cross game by the vice president of girl's soccer for the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association?

If only Coach Dombrovsky had made an issue of the rule before the Township game, the result might have been different. There were enough people at the game with cell phones, someone could have made a phone call to confirm what was and was not proper for a tie game.

As a follow up to the tournament, the finals were held this past Saturday evening at Rutgers-Camden. The same Township team faced Shawnee for the championship. There was no rule controversy at this game. The game ended as a 1-1 tie in regulation. After two full overtime periods it was still 1-1 and co-champions were declared. Congratulations Ladies.


Recently I played in a semi-final game for AYSO. At the end of the third quarter my team was ahead 1-0. In the fourth quarter the other team scored 2 goals. About 3/4 of the way into the fourth quarter it was descovered that the other team had 12 players on the field, instead of the usual 11. They won 2-1, but the ruling is under protest. Should the other team's goals be counted if they have an extra player on the field?   (Aaron from Oak Park, CA)


Aaron, if it is noted an extra man was on the field at the time of the scoring, then the goal should not count. If play had restarted and then it was noticed that an extra player was on the field, the goal would count and the player would/should have been yellow carded. Once play is restarted all previous actions are over. You would have to prove the extra man was on the field for both goals and then you might have a case. From what you sent I would believe the score would stand as a final score. I doubt a protest would overturn this decision.

Ref's Tip:

Hot off the press -   there have been seven changes approved by the soccer Rules Committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations this past January. The following is a review of them.

  • With the change in Rule 12-7-1, the goalkeepers will now have six seconds to release the ball into play after taking control of the ball with their hands within their own penalty area. Previously, goalkeepers were limited to four steps in any direction while holding, bouncing or throwing the ball in the air and catching it again. The step rule is gone with the inception of the six-second rule.

  • Rule 15-1-2 has eliminated the "equal force" wording for the throw-in. It now reads: "The ball shall be thrown in any direction from the point where it crossed the touch line by a player who is facing the field of play and has both feet on the ground on or behind the touch line. The thrower shall use both hands and shall deliver the ball from behind and over the head in one continuous motion." This change brings back into focus the key elements of the throw-in, which are the player facing the field of play behind the touch line, the use of both hands (unless the player has only one hand), and delivery of the ball from behind the head in one continuous motion.

  • Three changes were made in Rule 3 - Players and Substitutions. In an effort to make better use of the allowed playing time in a match, the rules committee approved a change in Rule 3-3-4, which will allow substitutions on the team without the ball to enter the contest when the team with the ball chooses to substitute. However, substitutions on the opposing team must have reported to the scoring table before stoppage of play occurs. The revised rule will read as follows: "the team in possession of the ball from a throw-in may substitute. If the team in possession of the ball chooses to substitute, the opposing team may also substitute at that time."

  • Changes in Rules 3-3-7 and 3-3-8 address procedures for players entering the game after starting the contest short-handed. When a team elects or is required to play short-handed, for reasons other than misconduct, a player or players can re-enter the game during a stoppage of play. Previously it was not clear when a player could re-enter the game in various situations when a team was playing short.

  • The rules committee approved two equipment changes. Rule 4-1-1c(2) was modified to account for technology that has occurred with regard to shoes. The changes simplify the rule by elimination specifications and taking into consideration new technology in shoe design and construction. Many shoe manufactures today are considered safe buy do not meet the specifications of the previous rule. There is a higher concern for the safety of the athlete and it is believed that the old rule made it difficult for coaches and officials to adequately inspect the shoe.

  • The revised language in Rule 4-2-1g regarding knee braces has also changed. The last sentence of that rule was deleted and replaced with language stating "any covering (sleeve) recommended by the manufacturer may be worn." Technology has enabled manufacturers to design safe braces specifically for athletes.

  • Lastly, Rule 5-1-3 now allows state associations to determine the color of shirts for officials.

Soccer continues to be the fastest growing sport overall in high school sports. In terms of participants, soccer ranks No. 5 in popularity for both boys and girls, with 330,044 boys and 270,273 girls playing the sport, according to the 1999-2000 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of High Schools.


I am writing an article for our school newspaper on aggression towards referees. It has become somewhat of an issue at my school. For example, at a recent soccer game the officials gave a lot of penalties and the crowd further angered them. I was wondering if you have seen an increase in aggression towards officials? If yes, is it generally by whom? Is it players, coaches or parents? Also, some have noticed around here that it is harder to find people willing to take on the challenge of being refs because of abuse. I was wondering if this is actually a concern lately or just an overblown situation.   (Kevin from Sunnyvale, CA)


Kevin, this is a great question. I have seen more aggression towards officials during the past ten years and believe there are many reasons for such.

  • The dramatic increase in youth through adults playing soccer has been a contributor. There are more and more people in the youth coaching ranks that do not know or understand the game. Most penalties in soccer are judgement calls by the official were as the typical American sports are not that way. A leading example of that would be the use of the "advantage" call by the official. If the official uses the mechanics of this call properly and the players understand the mechanics, there is generally no problem on the field. Our mechanics call for us to announce "play on" as well as giving the forward underswing of the arms signal. To the informed, it means the ref has seen a penalty but has chosen to ignore it in lieu of taking the advantage away from the offended team. To the uninformed it means nothing and causes questions.
  • Have you ever tried to explain the "Off-side" Law to anyone?
  • Youth soccer, in my opinion, is the breeding ground for trouble. Too many people get together a team and play without knowing what is going on or understanding the Laws of the Game. New Jersey Youth Soccer has instituted the need for coaches to be licensed before coaching in organized leagues. The "F" level license is a twelve-hour course given by professionals. This course is excellent. It brings together the game for fun, understanding the concept of the game and some important rule interpretations.
  • For the past three years I have volunteered to be the house referee for our micro-mini soccer program. I do this with complete authority to do what I want when I want. By that I mean letting a player take a "throw in" more than once to help him learn how to do it properly. Stopping the game to explain fouls to players is a sound idea at this age level. Before, at half time and after each game I approach the fans/parents watching to offer explanations of any rule, law or decision I make on the field. This is a great opportunity to help the uninformed become informed. By the way, the coaches actually love this concept. There has been zero complaints from anyone in this program.
  • Most soccer people in my town know I am a referee. While watching other games I make sure I am available to explain on-field decisions made by my fellow referees. This also works very well.
  • Confusion in our sport is also caused by soccer ruling bodies. Did you know there are at least seven different rules/laws between USSF and the High School Federation? Furthermore, college again has different interpretations. Add this to the adult leagues and indoor game and you can see why the uninformed are that way. Who is at fault? Marc Block, National Emeritus Referee, has written a great article about this in "SOCCER NEW JERSEY". This is the official publication of the New Jersey Youth Soccer Association.
  • In your original question I believe you stated a problem at a High School game with the officials agitating the crowd with giving players a lot of penalties. That can and will continue to happen. For a referee, the high school game is probably the easiest to control when it comes to unruly spectators. In New Jersey we have security provided by the home school for every game. All the official has to do is stop the game and identify the person or persons to security and they will be escorted out of the complex. I have done this on three occasions in the past seventeen years:
    • A fan was excessively verbally abusive to players on the field. He did it to both teams. Security escorted him away immediately upon notification. The adjoining spectators thanked me for this gesture, much to my surprise.
    • Three teenagers were asked to leave by security for shouting insults at visiting players on the field.
    • Last season I had a man escorted out for shouting personal insults at me.
  • In weekend or USSF ball the situation is not as easy. When it comes to fans shouting racial slurs or obscenities the official must deal with that immediately. Simply stop the game and talk with both coaches to have them control their fans. The game should not restart until this situation is resolved. The game can be stopped and suspended failure of a resolution.
  • Yes, it has been difficult getting new officials in our sport. Not all the blame can go to players, uninformed coaches or novice parents. The referee associations must take on some of the blame. Some associations have a great program for on-field referee assessments, game situation management and growth of their officials. Some do not. Do you have officials that have never had an official assessment of their skills? You should have. How does the official learn without constructive criticism or praise?
Kevin, the game of soccer is complex and simple at the same time. Get involved at the youth level and share your personal knowledge to help us grow our sport. Encourage your friends to do so also. Thank you for the question. There is no easy answer. Our referee association in Southern New Jersey asks the same questions. Good luck.

Ref's Tip:

Last week we all read or heard about the Camden High School men's basketball team roll up an impressive victory at the mercy of Camden County Vocational School. This is the game where one player scored 100 points in a 90-point victory. Just think, a 90-point lead and the Camden coach had a full court press on the Vocational School. Camden High is a NATIONALLY ranked high school team and they inflict this punishment on a much inferior team. Was it really necessary?

Could this happen in high school soccer? It could and has. Not too many years ago, Delsea men's team pounded Gloucester High School something like 20 to 0. That was totally unnecessary and out of line. Gloucester High was not a soccer school of threat to anyone. They had a very nice program and a "class" coach. This lopsided victory spelled the end of the soccer program at Gloucester for a few years. It simply drove away players. The victorious coach did go to the Gloucester High team the next day to offer a formal apology for his and his team's actions. This gesture was nice but a little late.

Have I ever seen atrocities like this in the making? Yes, this past season Delran girls had the opportunity to do so against Pemberton Township. Twenty minutes into the game, the score was 7-0 for Delran. For the next 60 minutes Delran never took a shot on goal. They used their full bench as players and began a skills improvement session. As the game went on, I did ask one of the players if this was a coaching strategy and she said yes, we are not allowed to shoot on goal. Two things happened here: lots of playing time for the non-starters and passing skill practice in game conditions. This is more like high school athletics should be.

Did you ever notice, the less skill a team has the more they moan and groan about the official and his calls during the game? These are the same teams that have coaching that is lacking in the understanding of the game of soccer. During a recent youth game this became very evident as the game went along. The losing coach kept complaining about everything being called against him and not the other team. Typical of his actions was when a player from each team kicked the ball at the same time (no foul committed) and his player fell down. Since there was no foul, there was no call from me. It happened in front of the coach and he went off about not getting the foul called. I tried to tell him since both players hit the ball and NOT each other there was no foul. If this coach were worth his merit he would get a coaching license and/or attend a referee school. This would more than qualify him to work in youth soccer in a teaching manner.

Interested in being a SOCCER REFEREE? Drop me a line and I will make sure you will be contacted to schedule a class.

Thanks for your interest and lets get the questions coming. Best to you all for the next season.

Ref's Tip:

Another year has come to an end and a new one begins. I would like to reflect on a few areas that made an impression on me this past season.

South Jersey Soccer Officials Association:

  • Our high school Referee of the Year this year is Geoff Filinuk. The Coaches Association honored Geoff with the golden whistle award at their annual dinner. Congratulations Geoff.
  • This year the "Jim Black Sr. Sportsmanship Award" was given to Holy Cross Boys and to Lenape Girls. The members of the Referee Association annually vote for this award looking for the teams and spectators that were the best sports this past season. The sportsmanship Award is given in memory of Jim Black, Sr. Jim was a member of our association, long time rules interpreter of our association, a past president of SJSOA and one of the few referees to attain the USSF level of FIFA referee in the 1970s. Jim always stressed fairness and good sporting behavior as an official and his influence was important to SJSOA in its formative years. Jim was one of the new official instructors when I started. He was a most impressive person. Congratulations to Holy Cross and to Lenape.
  • New officials are in heavy demand. Drop me a line and I will forward it to the proper party if you are interested.
  • Congratulations to our new officers for 2001:
    • Marty Franzen, President
    • Walt Klein, High School Vice President
    • Dick Budd, USSF Vice President
    • John Barna, High School Assignor
    • Bob Shaffer, Treasurer
    • Sue Hurff, Secretary
    • Ross Hagstoz, USSF Assignor
    • Dan Roberts, Rules Interpreter.

The Associated Press has announced the 2000 New Jersey All-State Teams. This the highest honor an individual player could receive in his/her high school career. Congratulation to each player so honored.

First Team Boys   First Team Girls
Dave Mattus, Cumberland   Lisa Genna, Lenape
Chad Severs, Ocean City   Courtney McCrudden, Eastern
David Carvalho, Moorestown   Carli Lloyd, Delran
Keith Pareti, Cherokee    
Jeff Grosser, Shawnee    
Second Team Boys   Second Team Girls
Everet Lindholm, Moorestown   Regina Villari, Gateway
Keith Hartwyk, Washington Twp.   Venice Williams, Burlington Twp.
    Lindsay Finnegan, Gloucester Catholic
    Rachel Chumney, Moorestown
Third Team Boys   Third Team Girls
Mike Valenti, Paul VI   Chelsea Adams, Shawnee
Scott Jakubowski, Vineland   Jaimie Dougherty, Overbrook
    Shanna Got, Lenape

Youth soccer is doing very well in South Jersey. Berlin Township U-9 boys went 8-0-1 to win their divisional title this past season. What makes this more interesting is the team is made up of mostly seven-year-old players. These seven-year-old players spend two seasons in Berlin Townships instructional league. Only two on this team cannot play on it next year due to age. A former Port Glasgow Ranger (Scotland) player, Ian Baxter, was heard to say he was most impressed with the level of talent he saw on the football (soccer) team. He further commented America is doing the right things with its youth to catch up with the rest of the world. Coach Bob, Coach Brian and Coach Scott can be proud of their team and its achievements.

Hope this column has been as informative to you as I have enjoyed writing it. Until next year, keep up the kicking.

Ref's Tip:

In the November issue of "SOCCER NEW JERSEY", Kevin Semet wrote the following letter to the editor. Kevin is a certified soccer referee and head soccer coach of the boy's team at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon.

There have been many incidents of physical abuse in youth sports. Often just as harmful, but not reported as much, are the many incidents of verbal abuse towards soccer referees. Physical violence is often preceded by verbal abuse. It is now time to stop all the verbal abuse.

Let's begin with some information pertaining to referees. The facts are nationally there is a shortage of soccer referees. Numerous times games have to be switched to different days because no referees could be found. Why? Because nobody wants to hear constant verbal abuse and who knows what else might happen. Many younger referees are often subject to coaches and fans that try to intimidate them and they soon quit. Sure a referee is expected to hear some heckling, that is just part of the job. Quite often though, the heckling does not stop even after the game is finished. Most referees are out there because they love the game. They do not care who wins the game and just want to make sure no children get hurt. They do not tell coaches how to coach so they do not need to be told how to officiate. If parents and fans really want to get involved and help their children learn good sportsmanship officiate a game so you can relay a different aspect of the game to them.

Unfortunately many of the verbal abuse starts from the coach not the parents. Once a coach loses his temper over a call it trickles down to the players and then to the parents and fans. In this day and age a coach should be more responsible for his actions on the sidelines. If a coach responds with respect and does not lose his temper and only encourages positive play and does not argue every call you can also bet his team will show the same respect. Any well-prepared team needs only minimal coaching instructions during a game. Ask any player and they will tell you they can play better when a coach is not screaming in their ear every second telling them what to do. Let the kids play and make their own decisions on the field. Remember the game is about fun.

My comments: Kevin says it very well. Just this past season I had two incidences of this behavior problem. During one game a parent was relentless trying to badger me about any and all calls. Once it got to a personal attack I did stop the game and have the person removed. There are a couple of high school teams that mimic their coach is a most negative way. A coach in particular is known for his quiet profanity and constant complaining to the officials. No wonder the team is in foul trouble most games. The coach has a great impact on a team's attitude and performance.

Have a great holiday season to you and your family.


Hi! I coach the u-12 boys soccer team in Cresskill, and we are headed to our division finals next Saturday. I have been told that if we win, we could qualify to go to the state champianship games. Can you tell me how we would go about this? Also, can you please let me know how I would go about getting state certified? Thanks for any help you might give me.   (Heidi from Cresskill, NJ)


I am a little confused about your questions. I was under the impression all coaches must be state certified to play in sanctioned leagues. If you qualify for a state tournament you must be in a sanctioned league. Be that as it may, I cannot help you with the first part of the question. Hopefully you have a solid league representative that will get the state tournament details to you in ample time. Each league is different and I am unfamiliar with Cresskill.

You next asked about state coaching certification. You are referring to the New Jersey Youth Soccer "F" certification course. This is a fairly detailed nine (9) hour course given in various parts of the state. To find a course near you please contact This site is excellent and will put you where you want to be.


Hi, I am 15 years old and a certified ref for South Jersey and I think it is a level 8 ref if that makes any sense. Well anyway, I ref for the local town intramurals (Voorhees Soccer Association) every weekend. And I think I will be ref-ing at Soccer International over the winter. But I was wondering who I would contact so that I could ref U9 or U10 travel games for South Jersey....if I wanted to do that. So if you know any information that you could possibly give me that would be great. Thanks.   (Kirstin from Voorhees, NJ)


Let me begin by welcoming you to the referee ranks. It is great to see someone of your youth becoming involved like this. Let me give you two contacts. These gentlemen are referee assignors for their various leagues:

SJ Boys & SJ Girls:   Mr. Gary Nichols, 856-829-8362.

Gloucester County:   Mr. Ray Popdan, 856-863-8661.


If and when I become a ref can my schedule be arranged so as not to interfere with coaching? I ask this because I currrently coach in the SJGSL, a U-11 girls team.   (Rob from Pennsauken, NJ)


Rob, your coaching in the South Jersey Girls Soccer League would not present a refereeing problem. Historically the girls play their games on Saturdays. The South Jersey Boys Soccer League plays on Sundays, which would meet your needs. There are also the men's leagues on Sunday mornings and evenings during the warmer weather. Another option would be to ref in the many indoor leagues throughout our area. There is also high school soccer during the September to November time periods. Bottom line - there is a vast amount of soccer available to referee and just because you coach a team does not disqualify you from participating.

Ref's Tip:

Recently I have had a lot of questions about the difference between "screening" the ball and obstruction of an opponent. Which is which? How is the decision determined? What are the penalties for each?

"Screening" the ball, means putting yourself between it and your opponent, to stop him winning the ball. By turning on the ball, the player in possession puts the defender in a position where he must foul if he is to make an attempt to get the ball. The key in "screening" is the player must be playing the ball or within a reasonable distance of the ball, normally within two strides. An example of "screening" would happen when a defensive player screens the ball, to allow the ball to go over the end line, thus blocking the offensive player from getting the ball. The defense wants to create a goal kick situation. There is no penalty for this as it is a perfectly good play.

"Obstruction" is a deliberate act by a player of running between an opponent and the ball, or using the body as an obstacle when not in possession of the ball, or not attempting to play the ball. This is an obvious attempt by one player to block an opponent from getting to the ball by getting between him and the ball while the ball is not in playing distance. The penalty for this offence is an indirect kick to the offended team.


I'd like to join the ranks of Jersey Refs. Currently I ref youth soccer in Bucks County PA, but I'd like games in South Jersey as well.   (Dan from Mt. Laurel, NJ)


Dan, this is an easy one. The person to contact is Sue Hurff, secretary of the South Jersey Soccer Official Association. Her Internet address is I will forward your question to her but think you should contact her also. Welcome and thanks.


I had a strange thing happen to me in a recent game. We were winning, 2-1, with about 1 and a half minutes left in regulation. The other team's goalie was also a very good field player, so they decided to change goalies. The only thing is, it wasn't during a stoppage of play, and the ref didn't stop the play. It wasn't a substitution, but the goalie took off his goalie jersey, handed it to a midfielder (who put it on and ran back into the goal), and reversed his jersey so it would match the rest of his team's colors. The OLD goalie then ran up the field, crossed the ball, and assisted the game-tying goal. We ended up losing this game in a shootout. Although they DID notify the ref about the goalie change, no one on our team was notified, and the ref didn't stop the play. Under NFHS rules, was this legal?   (Paul from Cranberry Twp., PA)


Paul, as you suspect, this substitution was NOT legal. Rule 3 (The Players and Substitutions) Section 5 (Goalkeeper Change with Field Player) Article 1 states, "The goalkeeper may change places with a player on the field whenever the clock is stopped or a substitution takes place, provided the uniforms are legal. Any time the goalkeeper is changed, an official shall be notified."

Penalty: Both players (goalkeepers) shall receive a warning at the next stoppage of play.


Please allow me to thank you again for the help you gave me following my move to NJ from WV. While work commitments prevented me from taking the high school course, through your contacts I was scheduled by several local leagues. I have been reffing regularly each weekend for the past few months.

I noticed on your site that indoor refs are needed. I worked many indoor tournaments in WV, and would like to get involved indoors here. Could you give me some contact people for this?

As a matter of interest, recertification of officials is done very differently here than in WV. In WV, everyone had to attend a USSF 5 hour recertification course each year. Since I was an instructor, I usually taught 3 recert courses a year. The registration forms were handed in to me with the fees, and I would send the paperwork to the SRA. The refs had to get at least 75 on the test, but only the first 50 questions had to be answered.

Again, thank you for any help you can give me.   (John from Toms River, NJ)


John, thank you for the kind words. Glad it has worked out well for you getting involved with the leagues in your area. Indoor soccer is another breed in itself. The leagues in NJ do not schedule refs from any association nor do any referee associations work directly with in the indoor facilities. Best bet is to contact an indoor facility in your area to let your wishes be known and they will put you in contact with their in-house assignor. The only requirement is a current USSF badge.

Have you tried OFFICENJYS@AOL.COM for a listing?

The recent addition of "SOCCER NEW JERSEY" has the following facilities as advertisers. Why not give them a try:

John, again thanks and good luck with the indoor sessions.

Ref's Tip:

And how was your week of soccer? I'd like to share a few observations and comments on games played during the past week.

Friday was the day of a high school girl's varsity game. I couldn't help overhear a coach express to the officials how they were the one of the two worse she had seen this season. This made me think and do a little research about the coach, team and officials. Was this a valid displeasure from a coach that has not won a game this season (0-13)? Could be. Was this a reaction to a team that lacked skills? Could be. Was this really a poorly officiated game? Could be. How about the other coach and his comments? He went out of his way to thank the officials. That does not sound like someone who was part of a poorly officiated game. The officials, in my opinion, called the game to the level of play the teams exhibited. There were marginal "throw-ins" allowed due to the lack of talent exhibited. Two penalty shots were called to the displeasure of the losing coach. Both penalty shots were well deserved. One was for a blatant trip well with in the penalty area, and the other for a pushing incident which caused the offensive player to fall within the penalty area. It is a shame the coach kept blaming the officials for these calls. Was it that necessary to keep repeating how poor the officials were over and over?

Saturday morning was the opposite. A coach in the micro-mini soccer game in Berlin Township showed what a "class act" in coaching is. Going into the game, he knew his team would dominate the game because of his team's past track record. What did he do? He played the full game with one less player than the other team so as to make the game competitive. Even when the score was 2-2 he continued the short-handed approach. That is what a good coach will do, especially with players at this young age. My hat is off to Coach Jim for this act of sportsmanship.

Later in the day there was a U-9 girls SJGSL game. We all know the parents/spectators belong on the opposite side of the field from the players. This is almost never enforced unless there are problems. The game started with four spectators on the player side of the field. All four were at least 25 yards away from the player's area and saying nothing. The Berlin Township coach had the official stop the game at the two-minute mark to have these four removed from that side of the field. Was it that necessary? He had the official ask the visiting coach to have his fans moved. Not all four were from the visiting team. It seamed the home coach wanted to bully the visitors with this strategy. Was it also necessary trying to get the official to start the game early when the visitors were missing some of their players? By early, I mean 15 minutes early since his team was ready to play. Maybe he needs to read the fact sheet of the league. A team has a 15-minute grace period from the starting time to field a full team. Let's get back to the basics and what we are trying to do, give the youth a game that is enjoyable and a learning experience. Coach Bob, lighten up and enjoy the game.

How about Sunday and the official who explained he has the discretion to call a "direct kick" within the penalty area. There is no discretion in this call. The only discretion is whether the foul was in the penalty area (a penalty kick) or the foul began outside the penalty area (a direct kick outside the penalty area). A comment like this, early in the game, sets a bad tone for what might happen during the rest of the game. Other than that, the official called a very nice game. He officiated to the level of the competition of this U-9 boy's game.


Hi, I have a 7 year old little boy who is about to finish this soccer season. Two more games to go!!! He loves it!!! I just wanted to know what I can do for him in the winter months. I would like to sign him up for indoor soccer. Where should I go? Isn't there a new facility in the Berlin area? Any information would help!! Thanks!   (Diane from Medford, NJ)


Yes Diane, there is. Sports International in West Berlin has been in operation for a couple of years now. This facility was previously known as Soccer International. Since I referee there very often, I do know there are teams from the Medford area that play the winter session. You can call the manager, Laura, for team names and information. Sports International's phone number is 856-767-3777. This is an excellent facility with a full range of age groups playing soccer.


Today I had a high school game and the ref tried to give me a yellow card for standing in front of the goalie. I did not move and I did not run up to him. He bobbled the ball so I followed through and I stood right in front of him and this ref wanted to give me a yellow card. Can you give me your suggestion on what to do?   (Jay from Williamstown, NJ)


Jay, if what you say is accurate, I read into your question a couple of things. One, you did not get the yellow card but a verbal warning from the official. This is a very good procedure from the official. Verbal warnings work well in a relative tame game. Sounds like the official thought you might have encroached in the goalie's space and asked you to respect this. Standing by the goalie when he bobbles the ball is a smart player tactic just in case the ball becomes free and is playable. Second, you stated you stood in front of the goalie. Again, you are encroaching in his space and freedom to get the ball in play. My advice is to do as you did, but once the goalie has possession of the ball you should vacate his space and get up field to continue play. All too often I see players standing next to the goalie while he is getting the ball in play. Why? You have no right to impede his progress, you are more valuable getting into the flow of the game and you could put yourself into an offside position on a quick change around in play. Hopefully this was what the official had in mind while giving you a verbal warning. You did state the ref tried to give you a yellow card. Believe me, if he tried and wanted to, he would have given you one if situation warranted it.

Ref's Tip:

And how is your season going so far? During the past couple of weeks there has been many comments from the fans that lead me into three areas: ADVANTAGE, TRIFLING INFRACTIONS and OBSTRUCTION. What are they, and how does a referee determine when to apply either?


Referees have the power to apply (and signal) the advantage upon seeing a foul or misconduct committed if at that moment the terms of the advantage clause were met. The referee may return to and penalize the original foul if the advantage situation does not develop as anticipated after a short while (2-3 seconds). If the ball goes out of play during this time, then play must be restarted in accordance with the Law. Referees should note that the "advantage" is not defined solely in terms of scoring a goal. Also, a subsequent offense by a player of the offending team must not be ignored while the referee allows the anticipated development of the advantage. Such an offence may either be recognized by stopping play immediately or by applying the advantage clause again. Regardless of the outcome of the advantage call, the referee must deal appropriately with any misconduct at the next stoppage, before allowing play to be restarted.

The referee may also apply advantage during situations that are solely misconduct (both cautionable and send-off offenses) or to situations that involve both a foul and misconduct.

The advantage applies only to infringements of Law XII (fouls and/or misconduct) and not to infringements of other Laws. For example, there can be no advantage during an offside situation, nor may advantage be applied in the case of an illegal throw-in that goes to an opponent.

The giving of the advantage is not required in all situations to which it might be applied. The referee may stop play despite an advantage if other factors (game control, severity of a foul or misconduct, possibility of a player retaliation, etc.) outweigh the benefit of play continuing.


"The Laws of the Game are intended to provide the games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of referees to penalize only deliberate breaches of the Law. Constant whistling for trifling and doubtful breaches produces bad feeling and loss of temper on the part of the players and spoils the pleasure of spectators."


"Impeding the progress of an opponent" means moving on the field so as to obstruct, interfere with, or block the path of an opponent. Impeding can include crossing directly in front of the opponent or running between him and the ball so as to form an obstacle with the aim of delaying his advance. There will be many occasions during a game when a player will come between an opponent and the ball, but in the majority of such instances, this is quite natural and fair. It is often possible for a player not playing the ball to be in the path of an opponent and still not be guilty of impeding.

The offence requires that the ball not be within playing distance or not capable of being played, and physical contact between a player and the opponent is normally absent. If physical contact occurs, the referee should, depending on the circumstances, consider instead the possibility that a charging infringement has been committed or that the opponent has been fairly charged off the ball. However, nonviolent physical contact may occur while impeding the progress of an opponent if, in the opinion of the referee, this contact was an unavoidable consequence of the impeding (due, for example, to momentum).

Ref's Tip:


  • Teams normally mimic the actions of their coach? The more the coach shouts at the referee, the more his team complains while the game is being played.
  • The better teams are rarely bothering with the referee? They spend too much time doing the right things that count.
  • How many players do not know the difference between a direct and indirect kick?
  • That players on the weaker teams spend too much time asking the referee if the kick is direct or indirect?

Ref's Tip:


In the Southern New Jersey area there is a serious need for soccer referees. If you have an interest please reply to me via this form. I will forward your request to the proper person.


  • Great exercise program.
  • Games indoors and outdoors are available year round.
  • Indoor referee fees begin at $14 for a youth game of two 22 minute halves.
  • Indoor referee fees go to $20 a game for adults for two 25 minute halves.
  • USSF youth games start at $22 a game for the under 9 year old teams.
  • High School Varsity games pay $54 a game.


  • For USSF (includes indoor) the minimum age is 16.
  • For High School the minimum age is 18.
  • You must be in good health.
  • Training is provided.
  • Passing a test is necessary for certification.
  • Great working conditions.
  • Outstanding part time jobs for high school or college students.

Just drop me a line and I will forward it to our South Jersey Soccer Officials Association.


In a high school game the ref stopped the game in the 2nd half, because of a fight (which shouldn't happen). The score was 3-0 at the time. Does the game count? Do both teams get a loss or does the team winning get the win? What is the ruling on this? Thanks.   (Gregg from West Berlin, NJ)


Since this is a high school game in New Jersey, the ruling is much different than what it would be in USSF ball. NJSIAA (New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association) has a process for dealing with this type of situation. But first, termination once the game has started is not the prerogative of a coach or school management, and the action of removing a team from the event prior to the conclusion of the game, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES, will result in severe punitive action by the NJSIAA controversies or executive committee.

The following procedure should be implemented before termination of the event by the official(s).

  1. Coaches and/or players should be penalized for misconduct as provided for in the playing rules.
  2. Continued misconduct should result in the coach(es) of the teams being advised to correct the situation or be faced with the possible termination of the game.
  3. Officials should confer and, if they consider the circumstances warrant, teams should be directed to their respective bench area while the coaches, athletic directors, and administrators of the schools discuss, in the center of the field or in a private area, an attempt to restore control of their teams and/or spectators.
  4. When it is apparent to the game official(s) and the host school administration that to continue the event would present a clear and present danger to the safety and welfare of any party, the game should be terminated and the schools' head coaches advised accordingly. This should not be a unilateral decision; however, if the responsible parties are unable or unwilling to control their teams and/or spectators, the officials(s) must inform the head coach(es) of the teams that the game is terminated.
  5. Officials must not rule on forfeiture of any prematurely terminated events; only conferences and/or the NJSIAA have the jurisdiction to determine forfeits. All games terminated due to control problems will require a comprehensive report to the NJSIAA Central Office and the Chapter Secretaries by the officials and the Principals of the involved schools. Said report from the officials should be forwarded immediately to the NJSIAA with a copy to the Principals of the involved schools. They will forward the report(s) to the League/Conference for a hearing prior to any action by the NJSIAA.

Gregg, this is a long way to say the final decision is up to the school(s) Conference with NJSIAA approval. The report by the official(s) must be very detailed and specific in the facts. It is not beyond reason the official(s) would be called to give verbal remarks to both the Conference Committee and the NJSIAA Committee. You will have to wait for an answer before the specific actions are known about this game.


My children are in many sports all year long. How can I tell their baseball cleats from their soccer cleats? Thanks.   (Patti from Elroy, WI)


Basically there is no difference if the children are younger than high school. Both sports accept the normally manufactured molded cleats. As the youth get into high school or higher levels of club soccer, the cleats begin to change. Not often, but often enough we see soccer players with screw-in cleats. Our only concern is if the cleats get worn and begin to get sharp edges. These screw-in cleats are always round. Baseball cleats begin to evolve at the same time, but the cleat has a much different shape. They are normally rectangular and metal, versus round and no metal showing.


If you have two forwards that are behind the last defender and forward "A" has dribbled into this position, should player "B" be called for offsides after forward "A" shoots on goal and the ball bounces back off either the goalie or the goal post back to player "B"?   (Brian from Seattle, WA)


Off-sides: Law XI states:

  1. It is NOT an offence in itself to be in an off-side position. A player is in an off-sides position if he is nearer to his opponents' goal-line than the ball, unless:
    1. he is in his own half of the field of play or
    2. he is not nearer to his opponents' goal line than at least two of his opponents.
  2. A player shall only be penalized for being in an off-side position if, at the moment the ball touches, or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:
    1. interfering with play, or
    2. interfering with an opponent, or
    3. gaining an advantage by being in that position.
  3. A player shall NOT be declared off-sides by the referee:
    1. merely because of his being in an off-side position, or
    2. if he receives the ball direct from a goal-kick, a corner-kick or a throw-in.
  4. If a player is declared off-side- the referee shall award an indirect free-kick, which shall be taken by a player of the opposing team from the place where the infringement occurred, unless the offence is committed by a player in his opponents' goal area, in which case the free-kick shall be taken from any point within the goal area.

What does that all say or mean in your question? If forward "A" had continued with his movement and scored, the goal would have been good if player "B" were not interfering with play or gaining an advantage with his positioning. You did state the ball bounced off the goalie or the goal post directly to player "B". In this case he should be declared to be off-sides since he did gain an advantage by being in this off-side position. Hopefully this answers the question posed and more hopefully this is how the call was made in your game situation.

Ref's Tip:

It has been a few weeks since I received a soccer question so I'd like to share a couple of different items that are soccer related.

Have any of you seen the new soccer complex in Berlin Township? After 30 years of soccer at Luke Avenue, the teams have moved to the Edgewood Avenue Soccer Complex. With three new sod fields this has to be one of the finer facilities around. There is still work to be done here but the start has been most impressive. The driveway and parking lots are coming along on plan, the volunteers have made a dent into the completion of the snack bar/bathroom building, and more volunteers have spent many hours preparing and lining the fields. Thanks to all.

Last week a seventh grader in Gloucester City approached me. He was a reporter for his school's newspaper. His mission was to write about the Gloucester City girl's Varity game against Delsea Regional High School. He was very excited about this role. The highlight of his activity was getting a personal interview with the coach of Delsea. Why? The coach is none other than Jamie McGroarity, an All American soccer player in his college days at Glassboro State (now Rowan). Jamie made himself very available for this young man. This was a very class act for Jamie to take his time to talk with this young reporter.

During the past two weeks I had the opportunity to watch my grandsons' games refereed by two very fine youth officials. These two young men knew the game and the skill levels of this U9 team. Both gave an excellent representation of what an official should be for players so young. It was a treat to see this level of performance on their part.

Our high school season is well on it way now. The first full week has been completed with some upsets and some predictable results. With every season there are always some new rule changes for high school soccer. This year is no different. Although none are of any significance, there is one I wonder about. If the goal of high school soccer is to become more compatible with USSF soccer, I question the new throw-in rule. In high school ball, a throw-in that never crosses the touchline is considered foul and possession is given to the opposing team. My question is, if the ball never came into play how can it be given to the other team? This is contrary of all other rules of the game. In USSF, the original team would retake the throw-in. Why is it different in high school?

Just a reminder to the high school players is the zero tolerance by officials for incidental foul language and excessive celebration after scoring a goal. Both areas are being enforced very heavily this season.

Good luck this season and let me know what questions you have.


I was at a "F" Certificate Course and we were talking about throw-ins, and I was always told that I could not be on the line to throw in. And when I did step on the line, I was called for it. Well, at this course I was told that you could be standing on the line to take the throw-in. Is that true that you can stand on the line to throw in?   (Stephanie from Berlin, NJ)


Stephanie, this is very clearly stated in the Laws of the Game. Law #15 states, "at he moment of delivering the ball, the thrower has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line." Very simply, YES either or both feet can be touching the touch line with no penalty.

Congratulations on attaining your "F" certification. It is great seeing the youth get involved as you have.

Ref's Tip:


The South Jersey Soccer Officials Association is sponsoring a class for prospective high school officials August 25th and 26th at the Gloucester County jail facility in Woodbury. You must be 18-years old. Call Dan Roberts, 856-694-0538.

The Atlantic-Cape Cumberland Soccer Officials Association needs male and female applicants interested in becoming officials. No experience necessary. Classes start in August. Call John Fegel (856) 205-0528 or Frank Forde, (609) 646-1044.

The high school season begins in September with games five days a week and Saturdays. Most games start at 3:30 pm or 4:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am on Saturday mornings. Games are officiated by two person teams. Newly trained officials are normally paired with experienced officials. Give it try.


What are the best skill tests, specific to soccer, that test the areas of balance, coordination, and vision?   (Chris from Rotherham)


Chris, where is Rotherham?

Lets begin with vision. I see vision as the ability to read the game as you play it. From my personal perspective I firmly believe the youth players of today do NOT know the laws of the game as well as they could. By not knowing the basic laws teams lose their "advantage" all too often. Example: High school players still ask the official if the kick is a direct or indirect. The player does not know the basic signals officials use. I have stood there with my right arm extended above my head indication an indirect kick while players are asking me what kind of kick to take. You never see that with the better teams. How many times have you see a player ask the official who gets the throw-in? How many times do players ask for 10 yards while giving up a quick kick advantage?

Balance and coordination can be a direct result of ball control. Can the player juggle the ball on their feet? Can the player do a drop kick? Can the player use both the right and left foot on an equal basis? Juggling enhances foot eye coordination as well as concentration. The drop kick also uses foot and eye coordination as well as timing or anticipation. Simple drills to work on the use of both feet would be a beginning. Hopefully I have answered you question with some satisfaction.

How about heading skills? This is an area lacking skill at all levels of play. How do you learn and/or practice headers? Lets teach the kids how the rest of the world plays "headers". All you need is two players about five foot apart from each other. Each has a goal, about the size of a hockey goal (use two shirts or balls to define the goal width, height is not important) Player A sits on his knees, tosses the ball into the air and tries to head the ball into Player B's goal. Player B defends his goal while sitting on his knees. Player B makes the save and tries to score on Player A. It is all that simple. Adults can play with the kids in the same manner.

Ref's Tip:

Have you tried the "First-time Pass"? With the pace of the soccer game getting faster each year the need of a first-time pass has been elevated. One of the reasons is that the better players are capable of the first-time pass, that is , passing the ball right away instead of receiving it, controlling it and then passing. The secret of successful first-time passing is knowing where you intend to put the ball before it comes to you. This requires tan ability to look up, to note the position of teammates, NOT to follow the ball all the time. Good luck and practice will perfect this option.


I have moved to NJ recently, and am a USSF Grade 7 referee. I refereed high school soccer in another state about 5 years ago, and would like to get involved with the high schools here. Can you give me a contact person? Thank you.   (John from Toms River, NJ)


Just the other day I received a question from John of Toms River. He stated he was a recent transplant to New Jersey with USSF and High School training from another state. John wants to continue his refereeing career here in New Jersey but did not know where to contact a local referee chapter. All referee chapters need experienced officials, so where will I send him? The task was simpler than I thought. Simple access to put me into a listing of all the chapters and the secretaries of each chapter. So if you are interested try contacting one of the following or access the listing yourself.

South Jersey Chapter covers Camden, Burlington and Gloucester Counties. The contact is Joel Grennor at 856-869-0713.

Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties are covered by Frank Forde at 609-646-1044.

Both of these chapters are looking for qualified high school officials or are in the process of setting up training for these individuals at this time. If you read local newspapers there are advertisements of the same nature but with different names. The names are of the instructors of the classes. Give them a call and join our ranks as soon as possible. September is coming rapidly and the need for both USSF and high school officials will be plentiful. Good luck.


My 14 yearold son is trying to get his ref license, however, everytime we get a phone number or site it's disconnected. Please help!   (Ralph from Union, NJ)

How do I become a linesman (who do I call or talk to in my area)? Do I have to take classes?   (Cody from Hurst, TX)


This has been a very interesting past two weeks working on a question from three of our youth players. Cody from Hurst Texas, Ralph from Union, New Jersey and Mary Ellen from Mays Landing, New Jersey, have asked how to become soccer officials.

What seemed to be a very simple question turned into a long drawn out process. According to my sources there are two entry levels of refereeing. The most common is for those 18 years old or older. This group simply contacts their local referee association and joins. The association sets up the training process. For those under 18 years old it is a bit different. This group is classed as recreational referees.

To become a recreational referee it is a matter of your local soccer club/organization contacting your respective state youth soccer association. They, in turn, will set up training for your youth. The training is less rigid than the older group. Once trained, the youth normally do local recreational league games. Once qualified as a recreational referee you are also qualified as an assistant referee (lines person).

How do you find the state office? I used Yahoo for the search. Type in soccer and the state. This will lead you to other links that get you to the state level.

New Jersey Youth Soccer is on e-mail at In lieu of that, a phone call to our referee contact, Tony Cullen at 732-679-8088, will set a process in motion. For Mary Ellen there is a training referee located in Cape May Courthouse, but your organization is supposed to go through Tony. Ralph would use the same procedure.

Texas presented a little more difficult locating problem due to the size of Texas and my lack of knowledge where to find Hurst. Cody can find the same type information using Yahoo. In this case Hurst was found to fall within the boundaries of the North Texas Soccer Referee Program. Two contacts that can help you would be Bill Briseno, Referee Chair or Sue Oestreicher, Administrative Staff-Referee and Coaching programs,

Hopefully this will get you going in the right direction.

Is there a future for the American youth to be successful referees? Yes there is. I know a Grade 3 referee that started out refereeing at 15. Marc Block played for Cherokee High School in Marlton, New Jersey while refereeing in the local recreational league before progressing to the South Jersey Soccer League. He is now doing professional league games at the age of 31. Marc went on to college to earn a BS from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as an MS from Rutgers in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Quite a success story for a local boy making good. I am sure there are more Marc Blocks out there just waiting to get going on their future as soccer officials.

Hopefully this has been of service getting the youth of America into refereeing. Good luck and thank you for the question.


My daughter wants to become a ref. She has played soccer for 8 years and can't get enough. Where and when is there a ref class in the area? There are several girls on her team that are also interested. She is 13 by the way. Thanks.   (Mary Ellen from Mays Landing, NJ)


The secretary for the Cape-Atlantic-Cumberland Soccer Referee Association is Mr. Frank Ford of Absecon. He can be reached at 609-646-1044. Mr. Ford will give you all the specifics for joining this association.

Becoming a soccer referee at such a young age is outstanding. You will learn more about the game and how an official thinks during the game. This will make you a much better player. There are not many part time jobs quite like this. There is a great need for youth in our ranks.

At the recent Ft. Dix Soccer International Tournament I had the opportunity to work with a couple of youth referees. They take their trade seriously. During our conversations they told me of the games they referee. All the games were U10 and below. Not one negative comment came from these youths. It was great seeing them in action.

My youngest son was a referee for two years during high school. His game progressed amazingly after getting his referee badge. He went on to college and played for four years there. Some of his honors included scholar athlete of the year during his senior year, twice the team's most valuable player and once was designated the come back player of the year after an off field injury. Needless to say, my wife and I are very proud of these achievements. We give a lot of the credit to his being involved as a referee.

Good luck in this career. If I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to email me using this form.


I am looking for soccer tournaments in the shore area in the summer of 2000. We have a boys premiere team. Right now they are U13 but in September they will move up to U14. We did a tournament last summer in Cape May but they are not doing it this summer. If you have any information, please let me know. Thank you.   (Robyn from Philadelphia, PA)


I am sorry but I know of none in the shore area this summer. I have e-mailed a couple of shore clubs as well as, asking this same question. To date there have been no replies. Have you tried visiting your local soccer store? Sometimes they have hand outs of such tournaments. In my area I would go to Soccer Locker or Soccer Post. I will keep your question open in case some information is passed along to me. Best of luck and fun in your next season.

[Editor's Note: Found mention of some soccer programs in Wildwood. Click here for more info.]

Ref's Tip:

I have just received communications from one of our National Referees, Marc Block. On Saturday May 27th, our South Jersey Barons are going to play the New Brunswick Brigade at Lenape High School in Medford. The kick-off is scheduled for 5:00 PM. The Brigade is a new PDL team that appears to be a break-off group from the Central Jersey Riptide. Here is an opportunity to see a high quality game refereed by a high quality referee. Hope to see you all there.

Memorial Day tournaments are coming up real soon. Have you entered one? The one sponsored by Sports International is being held at Ft. Dix and is expected to host only the higher level youth teams. Teams from nearby states as well as Canada will be there. Ft. Dix is an unbelievable place to host a tournament of this magnitude. There are 15 full size fields all on one site. Each field is in great condition. The tournament is one of the best I have been associated with over the past 16 years. Games start at 8 AM on Saturday and Sunday. This is an ideal opportunity to see some of the better youth teams in action. Hope to see you there.

It never ceases to amaze me who you meet and where you meet them. On a recent extended vacation to the West Coast I met relatives of two such people. The first person was the sister-in-law of the owner of the Dickens Inn in Philly. For those that do not know the Dickens Inn, it is one of the few restaurants that brings in British soccer games on a regular basis. It is a great British hang out in Head House Square. The second person was another British person who is the sister of the U.S. Womens National Team's doctor, Dr. Rodger Rodgers. It is a small world.

Keep the questions coming. The fall season is just around the corner.


This situation came up in my game this weekend and I was wondering if the referee made the right call during the game. The blue team was up 2-1 and then a defensive member of the blue team commited a hand ball in the box so a penalty shot would be the call. The timer beeped of the refs watch and then he made the call and said for it to be a penalty shot. Even after the game should have been finished. The white team proceded in taking the shot and scoring and then the ref immediately ended the game. So, if the foul was committed before the time but the ref didn't make a call until after the timer went off and the shot was made after the game should have been over should this goal count? The ref told me he was allowed to continue play to his discression which he said would be immediately after the shot. If you could please let me know if this goal should be counted or if the blue should protest the game so they could have the win, would you please let me know?   (Kirstin from Voorhees, NJ)


Good question Kirstin. Without being there and experiencing this situation live, it is hard to interpret what the referee was thinking or doing.

The following sentence is the key to this question. If the foul was committed before time ran out is it a valid call by the referee? Yes, this is a very valid call. The infraction took place before time had run out. There are other things the referee is considering at the same time: was there a need to add time on to the clock due to injury time, time wasting, substitutions or any other cause. Law 7 allows for this.

Law 7 and Law 14 allow additional time for the penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half or at the end of periods of extra time.

Law 5 allows decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final. There is no case for protest.

I am sure this is not the answer you wanted but the Laws of the Game support the referee's decision.

Thank you for your question. Keep them coming.

Ref's Tip:

Last week I had a most unusual request through this column. I was asked if I had heard about "motorcycle soccer" back in the 1930's. I have not, but have you? Can you help me research this? My search has taken me to Canada, Scotland, Australia and the US with no success. There are still some feelers out there for an answer. As odd as it sounds, it could be true.

Also, last week I happened to watch a youth game refereed by a USSF Youth Ref. This ref had just recently passed his tests and received certification. Overall, he did a very nice game. He looked the image, acted the image, maintained a very good field positioning and treated the players with due respect. With experience, he will develop into a fine official. Shortfalls were those that all the "new" referees have: a couple of indecisive calls, hand signals that were confusing, and a weak whistle at all times. These areas will improve with experience. Hopefully, the adults in the league will work with him during this time. It was really great to see someone this young taking the responsibility of helping other youth. Good luck and have a long career, young man.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Many players find it difficult to take the ball past a defender. They find it easier to use a colleague as a "wall" and pick up a return pass. The second attacker must hit the ball first time at just the right pace for the first player to pick it up beyond the defender. Care must be taken to keep the ball on the ground. Use your teammates as walls. The concept is similar to the "give and go" in basketball.

Ref's Tip:

What is the purpose of the assistant referee (formerly known as lines person)? First, they are the two officials who assist the referee in a soccer match when the Diagonal System of Control is employed. Both of the assistant referees are qualified referees and are used to assist the center referee. Their main purpose is to indicate a situation so that the referee may decide the ruling. Specific situations covered include: corner kicks, offside, goal kicks, the scoring of a goal, throw-ins, free kicks near the goal, fouls behind the referee's back, substitution, and the end of a period.

The general duties of the Assistant Referee are:

  1. To carry flags.
  2. To assist the referee in controlling the game by indication breaches of the rules.
  3. To indicate when a player may be penalized for being in an offside position.
  4. To indicate out of play on all goal kicks, throw-ins and corner kicks.
  5. To change the diagonal to suit the referee.
  6. To signal substitutions.
  7. To keep notes of the game events as specified by the referee.
  8. To keep back-up time as specified by the referee.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Because a teammate is marked, is does not mean the ball cannot be passed to him. In today's game, the better players are marked very tightly. It is vital for the passer to direct the ball accurately to the proper side of his colleague - most often in front of him. If the pass is off by a few inches, it can be easily intercepted by the defender. Allow the pass to lead the attacker to the side in which he turns when receiving the ball. This will keep the ball just out of reach of the defender, allowing the attacker to make his move. This will take lots of practice, so good luck.

Ref's Tip:

Okay all you wannabe referees, try this question. This is a situation that did really happen.

Question: As a player is taking a shot on goal, an opponent (not the goalkeeper), standing on the goal line and between the goal posts, jumps up and grabs the crossbar. While he is hanging from the crossbar, the ball strikes his chest and drops to the ground, thereby saving a goal. The defender then drops to the ground and plays the ball away out of the goal and penalty areas. What action should the referee take?

Answer: In this scenario, the misconduct occurred before the player played the ball coming for the goal. He should be cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting behavior because he was hanging on the crossbar. The fact the ball then hit him in the chest after he had already committed the misconduct is irrelevant. It does not meet the requirements for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The restart should be an indirect free kick for the attacking team from that point on the goal area line parallel to the goal line nearest to the place where the misconductoccurred.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Try chesting the ball as a pass. Often a forward is tightly marked as a high ball is played to him. It is not high enough to head and too low to get a foot to the ball. If he tries to trap it on his chest, the defender can pressure him. The best solution is to chest the ball first-time to the colleague five yards behind him. Thanks and happy kicking.

Ref's Tip:

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Deflection heading is a skill that has become more and more prevalent in today's game. This is a difficult skill to prevent and results in many goals. As a corner comes over, or a cross, the attacker runs to the near post. By timing his run right, he gets to the ball in front of his marker. He turns his head with the flight of the ball and sends it firmly into the net. Very often you will see this skill used to deflect the ball down into the net with a bounce. This skill takes a lot of practice. Work on it and see the results. The results are similar to those we see in ice hockey with the deflecting action of a player at the goal crease. Good luck and good soccer.

Ref's Tip:

South Jersey Sports Online will be including a site for the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association (SJSOA) in the very near future. Our secretary, Joel Grennor, will be coordinating this endeavor with the SJSports Webmaster. The intent of this site is to brief South Jersey soccer fans about our organization, explain how to become a member and help everyone better understand just what we are all about. The year 2000 calendar of events for USSF officials has just been published. Our first meeting is Wednesday February 16th at Maple Shade High School beginning at 7:00 PM. This is a mandatory meeting for USSF officials who plan to referee games in the South Jersey Soccer League and the South Jersey Girls Soccer League. League representatives will be there to instruct officials as to what they expect of us as officials working their leagues. A league handbook for officials will be given out and discussed. This will be followed by an open discussion regarding the leagues, assignments, ratings, rules, etc.

USSF has offered some new interpretations in the past year, so we hope you are heeding them. As a refresher for the winter and spring seasons, here is a recap:

  • FAKING - Any simulated action anywhere on the field which is intended to deceive the referee must be sanctioned as unsporting behavior. Translation: Faking an injury is a caution.
  • SHINGUARD SIZE - Have you seen any of the 4"-6" shin pads on players? According to USSF, guards must "provide a reasonable degree of protection" from injury. A referee may deem these undersized shin guards illegal equipment and not permit the player to play with them.
  • TACKLES FROM BEHIND - Not all are illegal. Only those which endanger the safety of an opponent are to be considered serious foul play, and are sanctioned with a red card.
  • KNEE BRACES - Should be padded and allowed, but only at the discretion of the referee. Can it injure the player or opponent? That is the question you must ask.
  • TURBANS/YARMULKES - Are allowed if not dangerous to the player or opponent.
  • BLOOD RULE - When sent off to attend to blood, player may only return during a stoppage, and the center official must inspect for cleanliness.
  • INJURED PLAYER - If a team plays short due to injury, only the center official may permit the player to return, and it may be done during the flow of play.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Last time we looked at passing the ball to the feet. This week let's look at trapping with the outside of the foot. A useful skill when say, a fullback wants to trap the ball and turn away from the goal at the same time. His left leg swings across the ball, catching it as it hits the ground. By doing it this way, he saves a split second that would have been needed to trap the ball before touch it away. A split second could be the difference between a quality shot and defender interception. Make valued use of your time. Good luck.

Ref's Tip:

Sports International in West Berlin hosted the regional National Indoor Soccer Championship series this past weekend. What a treat it was to see some of the skills the youth displayed. Pasco of Wayne, New Jersey, was one such team. Their entry into the under-10 boys division was one such team. These young men were very skilled. They have perfected the passing game extremely well. Each player knew his role and the role of his teammates. They always seemed to be in the proper position at all times. Needless to say they advanced to the next round in Detroit with an undefeated record here. Best of luck to them, they deserve it.

One of the rules of indoor soccer is to not allow the slide tackle. The purpose is to reduce potential injury near the side boards or catching your foot in the carpet. The foul is punishable by a direct kick for the other team. Most players and coaches are on board with this process. During a recent game, a parent kept shouting from the stands, "hey ref, when are you going to call a penalty shot for that?" The players just looked at me and shook their heads. These were under 10-year-old players. Parents, if you are not sure of a ruling, do not embarrass yourself with these type of comments. Take some time to learn the game.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

Last time we looked at the penalty shot. This week let's look at passing the ball to the feet. The object of the passing is to keep possession of the ball and build up attacking moves. Most passes in soccer are directed to a teammate's foot. Another pass is to the open space in front of the teammate, but this 50-50 pass enables the defensive team an opportunity to intercept this pass. If you cannot pass to the foot or give a 50-50 pass, why not pass just behind the receiver? Keeping the ball on the ground and retaining possession is the objective here. Practice, practice and more practice will help you develop the skills needed for success. Good luck.

Ref's Tip:

Hello and welcome to the 2000 seasons. Seasons? Yes, spring, summer, High School and fall as well as indoors year round seasons.

Last time I talked a little about the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association's web page. Paul from Cherry Hill asked if it were still in existence. It is not in existence at this time. The AOL monthly costs were prohibitive for the use it received. We are looking into alternatives at this time. Hopefully I will have a better answer real soon.

Soccer hints, ideas and skills:

If you are offered space-take it. When you are taking a penalty-kick do not let a smart goalkeeper fool you. If he tempts you with more space on one side of the goal, then take it. Keep your eye on the ball and concentrate on hitting it sweetly on the wide side of the goal. Remember that a good goalkeeper in the middle of the goal has little chance to save a well-taken penalty-kick. One who gives you more space to aim at has even less chance provided you act positively. Good luck and many goals come from a solid work ethic.

Ref's Tip:

As a contination of last week's question about the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association, the new year is here and we are getting back into the swing of things with our first meeting of the year. Our USSF officials are asked to attend the kick off meeting at Maple Shade High School on Tuesday February 15th. The meeting is held in the auditorium beginning at 7:30 PM. This will be a very interesting meeting. Representatives from both the South Jersey Boys and Girls Leagues will be making a brief presentation. They will be handing out a booklet for Soccer Officials who plan to officiate during the Spring season. The leagues expect all officials who are working this season to attend this league mandatory meeting.

Our secretary, Joel Grennor, is going to have several vendors at this meeting to present the new USSF official gold with black stripe jerseys. This is the uniform recently approved for all levels of USSF officials.

There is only one local vendor offering these jerseys at this time. SPORTS SPECIALTIES on Station Avenue in Haddon Heights has them and is offering discounts to soccer officials. Mike Ritzius is the owner and his son is one of our fellow officials. Just tell Mike that Joel Grennor sent you and he will suit you up in the proper manner.

All SJSOA meetings are open to the public. If you are curious about joining, want to see what we are about, or just want to be a part of the soccer scene with a different perspective, come on out and see for yourself.

Beginning in a couple of weeks I will begin a bi-weekly tip forum about positions, drills and concepts. Until then, have a great day.


1. Does the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association still exist?   2. Does it have a new web site (the old one seems defunct!)?   3. I am certified, but have not been taking assignments for several years. How do I return to the assignment list?   (Paul from Cherry Hill, NJ)


Paul asks a very good couple of questions:

  1. Does the South Jersey Soccer Official Association still exist? In further communications with Paul I found he is a past member of the association. Yes, SJSOA still exists with over 200 active officials. Our President is Marty Frantzen (667-3258), the Vice President of USSF is Bill Steinbrecher (767-2172) and our Secretary is Joel Grennor (869-0713). To renew your membership or begin a career as soccer official, please call one of them. Since Joel is our secretary you might want to contact him first. His home address is 309 Evergreen Ave., Haddon Township, NJ 08108 or by E-mail I would mail Joel or call him since I have not had much luck with him accessing his E-mail. Good luck and welcome back.

  2. Does SJSOA have a new web site (the old one seems defunct)? I do not know one way or the other. I had accessed the site quite a while ago and was disappointed with its lack of up-to-date information. The site was very good when it got started. Sorry today it is not that way any longer.

  3. I am certified, but have not been taking assignments for several years. How do I return to the assignment list? When you contact Joel he will probably inform you of the need to take a refresher test for re-certification. Once you rejoin SJSOA and are current with certification you are ready to get back into it again. Our association no longer does the assignments of games. The leagues are now doing it, but you must be current in all certifications. Joel can provide you with the assignors and their phone numbers.

Thank you Paul, best of seasons for you and your whistle.

The end of the 1900's is rapidly approaching. In all likelihood it will be in the 2000's before many of you read this. Sincere best wishes for a great 2000 and beyond.

Ref's Tip:

How did you do with the two questions asked last week? Let's start with question #1 that asks, "should referees be allowed to discuss controversial decisions that are made during the game?" In my opinion, the answer is no. No discussions should be held with anyone during or after the game.

How about the second question about the goal controversy at the end of the first half of the game? Who are the guilty parties? Just about everyone is responsible for the tragedy of errors.

  • The "official" scorekeeper for not informing the official of the faulty clock at the beginning of the game. The game could have been stopped and restarted or the clock reset at the first stoppage of play. The scorekeeper did admit the clock malfunctioned for the first 35 seconds.
  • The home team head coach for not notifying the nearside official of the clock malfunction. The coach did know of the problem from his scorekeeper.
  • The home school for not testing their portable scoreboard of all needed functions. The horn did not sound at the expiration of time.
  • Both officials should monitor the official time to the time they are recording. When a discrepancy of that much time arises, it must be fixed at the first stoppage of play.
  • The visiting coach did know of the problem but chose to ignore it and put the decision in the officials' hands. That was the simple way out.

Bottom line was the goal counted. The team that scored this goal went into a 2-0 lead at half time and eventually won 4-1.

Comment #1:

GAETANOS U12 boys team coached by Jody Roberts has exemplified sportsmanship at the youth level. Not a game goes by without each player shaking the opponent's hand as well as the referee's hand at the end of the game. Each young man normally has a positive comment for the official. During the games it is very rare to hear any of the players question the referee about anything. Jody and his staff have them trained to play soccer to their skill level. This is a really fine group of young men. Thanks Jody, and congratulations on the learning of sportsmanship by your team.

Comment #2:

What is dangerous play? If, in the opinion of the referee, any play that puts any player in a position of potential injury/danger, the referee will whistle dangerous play. If there is no danger there is no call. Remember that it is the opinion of the referee that dictates the call.

Comment #3:

Over the past few indoor and outdoor seasons I have noticed a common thread with the middle to lower level teams. How can a player expect to play when their soccer shoes are not tied? How do you kick the ball like that? Why have the coaches not checked this before the game? Rarely do you find a good team without laced and tied shoes. By the way, it is not girls teams alone.

Good luck and happy kicking.

Ref's Tip:

Please accept my apology for the delay since the last article. Without questions to answer, I do not like to provide much commentary about high school games that I have been involved in. I'd like to start by asking two questions.

  1. Should referees be allowed to discuss controversial decisions that are made during the game?

  2. How would you call this situation? The following actually happened this past high school season. During the closing moments of the first half Team A scores a goal. The officials whistle stoppage of play/clock signifying a goal was scored. Both officials look at the clock to record the time of the goal. The clock read 00:00. Yes, time had expired. The horn signifying end of time did not work. The timer did not inform the near side official at the two minute nor did the timer count down the last ten seconds. Obviously, there was a discussion about this. During the discussion the home coach informed the officials the clock did not work for the first thirty-five seconds of the period. No one informed the near side official there was a clock malfunction. The visiting coach would not agree or disagree with that statement, he just walked away. How would you make the call? Was it a goal for the visitors or not?

Comment #1:

To the parents and fans involved in the Berlin Township Athletic Associations PeeWee soccer program, I sincerely thank you for the gifts at the end of this past season. We have purchased the "Phantom of the Opera" tickets and will use the Filomena's gift certificate that evening. It was my pleasure working with you all. The program has continued to be instructional as it is intended to be. Thank you for the latitude to referee in a manner to help the youth. Why is it important to enforce the rules? Why not let bad throw-ins be taken a second or third time as a teaching tool? Berlin Township has an excellent program. Keep up the good work.

Comment #2:

Why are the Dutch so good at soccer? They began the shorter field and smaller net concept for their youth programs. It has paid dividends for them at the world level. We can only grow in our learning.

Ref's Tip:

Have you ever had a game where the referee has blown an inadvertent whistle? What did he/she do then? It happens for many reasons. During the past week I have seen it twice. On both occasions the referee shouted, "play on" after blowing the whistle. What should have been the restart?

First of all, a referee's whistle indicates a stoppage in play. Play cannot resume with a verbal "play on". If this happens in a USSF game, the restart is begun with a drop ball at the point of last possession unless it is within the 6-yard box. If in the 6-yard box, the drop ball is moved to a point just outside the box. High school is different. The team in clear possession would take an indirect kick from the point of possession. At the same time I would expect the referee to call out "inadvertent whistle". This would let the coach know an error has been made and acknowledged.


Do think that ODP is a good program for kids serious with soccer to get involved in? Do you have to be invited to try out for ODP?   (Kirstin from Voorhees)


I am probably not the right person to ask since I have had no direct involvement in any form of ODP (Olympic Development Program). Your coach or director of the town program where you live would be better prepared to help you.

What I do know is, if you are seriously interested in the ODP concept there are a few things you must know. The level of players you train with is very high. Someone of average ability will have a very difficult time. You must possess a great insight to the game and how it is played. Ball skills are a must. Training on your own is a must. One word sums it up best, commitment. Are you willing to give up a lot of freedom to participate in this program? Are your parents willing to sacrifice their time for you? Practice can be twice weekly in New Brunswick or North Jersey. Games can be anywhere. Travel can be extensive. Costs have to be another factor in your decision. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. Make a serious objective decision. Never let the emotionalism be the deciding factor.

It seems I have put a shadow on the ODP concept. That is not my intent. There is an upside. If you are that serious and that good, college scholarships become a possibility. Only the best get athletic scholarships. College coaches do follow ODP teams simply because the quality of players is so high. Very few college coaches follow club teams unless they are of the highest caliber. One word of caution, athletic scholarships are easier to get when you have a unique ability plus a solid scholastic record.

Depending on your age have you ever thought of being a referee? There is a lot to gain. Not many youth programs spend time teaching the Laws of the Game and how the referee applies them during the game. You could get a new insight into what it is the referee is looking for or is not looking for. Kirstin, whatever you decision is I wish you the best of success.


What happens in high school if the coach gets red carded and there is no assistant coach? Is game forfeited or can the players coach themselves (probably not a bad idea)? I know the coach is banned from the field, but can the game continue without a coach for the players ?   (John from Sewell)


First of all I would hope this is a very rare occurrence. Our high school governing body, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has modified Rule 12 for just such a situation. Rule 12 is the Fouls and Misconduct rule. The rules in many sports are now providing explicit instructions as to the removal of a coach from the game and the designated area to which a coach is assigned. These circumstances have necessitated establishing specific guidelines for officials to follow in the event a coach's conduct is flagrant or persistently unsportsmanlike.

Whenever it becomes necessary to disqualify a coach from the game, the official should ascertain the availability of another coach or qualified faculty member who can assume responsibility for the team and then employ the following procedure.

  1. If the administrator or his/her representative is able to designate such a person, the disqualified coach must leave the vicinity of the playing area. At home it would be the locker room and away from home would be the team bus.
  2. If the administrator or his/her representative is not able to make this designation, the disqualified coach should be assigned to an area where he/she can visually observe the game so that he/she will be available to protect the safety and welfare of the team. If the disqualified coach uses this privilege to communicate with the team, or if he/she is again guilty of an unsportsmanlike act, the game shall be terminated and the Central Office of the NJSIAA notified in writing.

What happens after all this? The official must report each disqualification to the Athletic Director in person or via phone by noon of the next day. The official must forward a written report on the NJSIAA Disqualification Form to the offending school's Principal within seven days of the disqualification. A copy of this report must be forwarded to the local official's Chapter Secretary and the NJSIAA Central Office.

Coaches or players disqualified for flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct will also be disqualified from being present at the site of the school's next two regularly scheduled games or rescheduled games arranged prior to said disqualification at that level of competition and all other games in the interim at any level.

Once a player/coach has been disqualified, appeals from the official, coach, player or any other party will not be honored.

There is quite a bit involved with this situation. Red card ejections are serious and should be considered serious.

Have I ever been in this situation? Yes, but only once with a coach and twice with players. The coach was carded for coming onto the field shouting what I considered foul and/or abusive language. One player red carded was for intentionally trying to kick another player in a most serious way. The second player red carded was for threatening my safety during and after the game.

There was one common thread in each situation. Upon calling the Athletic Director the next day each one apologized for the conduct of their player or coach. They handled it in a very positive and professional way.


What if the soccer ball hits the referee and goes in the net? Is that counted as a goal or not? What about if the ball hits a spectator who has run onto the field and goes in to the goal - does THAT count?   (Graham from Columbus, OH)

What are the rules/regulations that cover footwear in a soccer game?   (Brian from Berlin Township)


This week I have received a two part question from Graham in Ohio and a phone in question to my home from Brian of Berlin Township.

Lets start with Brian. He asks, "what are the rules/regulations that cover footwear in a soccer game." Brian is specifically with the U8 program and the question relates to shoes used in baseball and then again in soccer. The shoes worn by this age group normally are of the sports or department store variety: leather uppers and molded studs/cleats. These are all acceptable for soccer. During the referee equipment inspection he/she looks at the soles of the shoes to identify anything that might be dangerous to another player. Things like loose spikes, metal spikes, metal cleats, sharpened spikes or the same are considered dangerous. All in all, the normal molded shoe is acceptable. The actual Law states in Law 4.5 FOOTWEAR,

Shoes are a required item of player equipment. If a player, due to a collision with an opponent or other cause, loses a shoe and immediately scores a goal, the goal would be valid. The player lost his shoe by accident and did not intentionally play without the shoe. It is within the referee's discretion to allow such a player to continue playing for a short while until he can recover his shoe and put it back on.
Law 4.2 SAFETY, gives the referee the ability to inspect the players and equipment to ensure that there is nothing dangerous to any player. Players may not wear anything that the referee considers dangerous to the player or to their teammates or opponents.

Now, to Graham and his two part question. "What if the soccer ball hits the referee and goes in the net, is this a goal?" Yes, it is. The referee is part of the playing field like a corner flag, goal post or field surface. Hopefully the referee will never put himself in such a position to cause this problem. Graham further asks, "what about a ball that hits a spectator (who has run onto the field) and goes into the goal?" Goal or no goal? I have never seen this but believe it could happen. Law 10.7 OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE AND RESTART covers this very well. It states, if a spectator or other outside agent enters the field when the ball is going into goal and tries to prevent a score before the ball passes wholly over the goal line, a goal shall be allowed it the ball goes into goal, unless the spectator or outside agent has made contact with the ball or has interfered with play. If that occurs, the referee shall stop the game and restart it by dropping the ball at the place where the contact or other interference took place, keeping in mind the special circumstances outlined in Law 8. A goal may not be allowed based on where the ball might have gone in the absence of such contact or interference.

Ref's Tip:

This weekend began another season here in South Jersey. I have just returned from a three-week trip to Scotland and am ready to begin answering your questions to the best of my ability.

Claudio Reynia is making quite a name for himself with the Glasgow Rangers Football Club. He was announced as the Scottish Player of the Month for August. Typically the comments about Claudio were extremely positive. He is showing the Scots that a "Yank" can play at this level. Let me tell you, the level is very high since the Rangers are in the European Club Champions League at this time. Claudio has even gone into the neighborhoods to help with school reading programs. His picture is in the newspaper on a consistent basis. He has been a most positive ambassador for the United States.

While in the Glasgow area, we saw and heard a lot about the new Robert Duvall movie [A Shot at Glory] about a little village team making its way through the ranks to face the Glasgow Rangers for the Scottish Cup. Little known Kilbarkie Football Club got to play the Rangers in the cup final at Hamden, the Scottish National Stadium. The movie has been completed and is in editing before release later this year or early next year. I was able to find out the ending but would not dare share it with anyone. Sounds like a good movie for the soccer fans of America.

The English Football Association has experimented with another method of referee communications. They actually put a headset type communications device on the man in the middle and his assistants on the sidelines. Seemed to work, but the signal was picked up by fans in the stands. We would not want that to happen, would we? That idea has since been scrapped. No news on another device yet.

When sending in your questions, please let me know if it is high school, USSF weekend ball or any other similar league. Until then, happy kicking and score a lot of goals.

Ref's Quiz:

How did you do with last week's quiz? Following are the questions with rulings:

  1. Player A1 trips an opponent B1. The referee blows the whistle and   gives the direct kick signal and indicates the direction of play. Referee does not call out "tripping".
  2. Player A1 is fouled just outside the opponent's penalty area. The referee signals physically and verbally "play on". A1 then stumbles and within a couple of seconds falls to the ground. The referee whistles and awards a direct free kick from the point of the original foul.   Correct because the advantage did not materialize and the foul must be penalized.
  3. A direct kick foul has been committed outside the penalty area. The official sounded the whistle and signaled a direct kick. The kicking team takes the kick quickly and scores but the defenders claim the goal should not be counted because there was no second whistle.   Goal counts. No second whistle is required.
  4. Team A is awarded a free kick. Player A1 requests an official to ask Player B1 to move away the required 10 yards.   Correct procedure. Play shall be restarted with a second whistle.
  5. A free kick is kicked directly into the kicker's own goal. Is this a goal or not?   No goal. If taken inside the penalty area, retake the kick. If taken outside the penalty area, it is a corner kick.

How did you like question 5? There is a theory to it. If you are to receive a benefit of a free kick due to the other teams inappropriate actions, it would not seem correct to allow yourself to score a goal for the other team by kicking it into your own goal. That does make sense to me.

Referees have need to use the red and yellow cards on special occasions. During the past few seasons, the process of what and how cards are shown have significant different meanings and penalties. Here is a review of the referee mechanics of "carding" and the reasons for such cards as well as the penalty.

YELLOW CARD.   A player committing any of the following seven infractions must leave the game and may be replaced by a substitute. The referee holds the card in one hand directly over his head.

  1. Illegally entering field.
  2. Persistent Infringement.
  3. Dissent.
  4. Incidental Vulgar Language.
  5. Use of Video Replays.
  6. Unsportsmanlike Conduct
  7. Use of Tobacco Products

RED CARD.   A player committing any of the three following infractions will be disqualified from the match and will not be replaced by a substitute. The team will play shorthanded. Like the yellow card, the referee holds the card directly over his head.

  1. Violent Conduct (Including Violent Tackle From Behind)
  2. Foul and Abusive Language.
  3. Entering field and engaging in an Altercation.

A RED/YELLOW card held in one hand directly over the referees head is an indication a player will be disqualified from the match but may be replaced with a substitute. To earn this a player must be guilty of taunting or receiving a second yellow card offence.

A RED/YELLOW card held in separate hands above the referees head will earn a player immediate disqualification without a substitution. This can be the reward for intentionally handling of the ball to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.

Good luck and have a great season. Any questions? Drop me a line.

Ref's Quiz:

How did you do with last week's quiz? Following are the questions with rulings:

  1. Team A appears on the field ready for play with their faces and/or arms painted in an objectionable manner.   Illegal. The referee will require the objectionable markings be removed or covered before allowing participation.
  2. During the pre-game warm-up, the referee observes that a player has a rolled bandana tied around his/her head.   Illegal because the bandannas are considered adornment.
  3. Team A is wearing "scrounges". The referee allows them.   Legal.
  4. A player is discovered wearing a yarn bracelet on the field.   Illegal. This item of adornment is considered jewelry.
  5. Can an official correct a decision?   Yes, so long as the game has not been restarted.

The last two weeks have been fairly straightforward with the questions. Yes, these situations do happen throughout Southern New Jersey high school soccer. Let's try some a bit more difficult:

  1. Player A1 trips an opponent B1. The referee blows the whistle and ...?
  2. Player A1 is fouled just outside the opponent's penalty area. The referee signals physically and verbally "play on". A1 then stumbles and within a couple of seconds falls to the ground. The referee whistles and awards a direct free kick from the point of the original foul.
  3. A direct kick foul has been committed outside the penalty area. The official sounded the whistle and signaled a direct kick. The kicking team takes the kick quickly and scores but the defenders claim the goal should not be counted because there was no second whistle.
  4. Team A is awarded a free kick. Player A1 requests an official to ask Player B1 to move away the required 10 yards.
  5. A free kick is kicked directly into the kicker's own goal. Is this a goal or not?

Good luck and let me know how you did.

Ref's Quiz:

How did you do with last week's quiz? Following are the questions with rulings:

  1. Observation of the penalty-area line leads the referee to believe measurements are incorrect. Upon measuring, it is verified they are not correct.   The lines shall be used as marked, but the home coach will be advised of the error with corrections to be made prior to the next game.
  2. While inspecting the field prior to the game, the head referee detects that the portable goals in use are not securely anchored to the ground.   The game will not start until the goals are properly secured.
  3. During the course of a game a downpour occurs. The referee suspends the contest.   Legal.
  4. A player is cautioned by the referee for incidental vulgar language after misplaying a ball.   The coach must remove the cautioned player.
  5. A player enters the game with two different colored socks.   Illegal. Both socks shall be the same color.

Here are five more situational questions that pertain to New Jersey High School soccer for you to try:

  1. Team A appears on the field ready for play with their faces and/or arms painted in an objectionable manner.
  2. During the pre-game warm-up, the referee observes that a player has a rolled bandana tied around his/her head.
  3. Team A is wearing "scrounges". The referee allows them.
  4. A player is discovered wearing a yarn bracelet on the field.
  5. Can an official correct a decision?

Good luck and let me know how you did.

Ref's Quiz:

So you think you know the game? Lets try five more situational questions that pertain to New Jersey High School soccer. I will give you the situation and you give me the ruling, whether legal or illegal, and whether any additional action is required.

  1. Observation of the penalty-area line leads the referee to believe measurements are incorrect. Upon measuring, it is verified they are not correct.
  2. While inspecting the field prior to the game, the head referee detects that the portable goals in use are not securely anchored to the ground.
  3. During the course of a game a downpour occurs. The referee suspends the contest.
  4. A player is cautioned by the referee for incidental vulgar language after misplaying a ball.
  5. A player enters the game with two different colored socks.

Good luck and let me know how you did.


Could you explain the offside trap?   (Douglas from Greenock, Scotland)


First we need to better understand Law 11 - Offside.

    Offside Position

    It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position.

    A player is in an offside position if:

    • he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.

    A player is not in an offside position if:

    • he is in his own half of the field of play or
    • he is level with the second last opponent or
    • he is level with the last two opponents.


    A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

    • interfering with play or
    • interfering with an opponent or
    • gaining an advantage by being in that position.

    No Offence

    There is no offside offence if a player receives the ball directly from:

    • a goal kick or
    • a throw-in or
    • a corner kick.


    For any offside offence, the referee awards an indirect free kick to the opposing team to be taken from the place where the infringement occurred.

That being said, what is the offside trap play? Remember the part about the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team? The trap play is the defensive movement that will put the offensive player into an offside position just before the ball is played. To work effectively you need great timing, a thorough knowledge of the game and either a center referee or assistant referee on the sidelines to make the call properly. Remember that using the one-person referee system makes this call even more difficult.

Douglas, thank you for this week's question. It was a very good one. It is strange someone from Scotland would ask such a question. This is not a very popular tactic with the youth scene in the UK. Hope this is of help.

If you really want to see some fairly big league action, why not stop in Ocean City to watch the South Jersey Barons take on the Western Massachusetts Pioneers? Our Barons are currently ranked second in Division 3 while the Pioneers are in first place. Game time is 6 PM at the Carey Stadium in Ocean City, New Jersey this Saturday night, July 31st. Carey Stadium is located at 6th and the Boardwalk. You will be impressed by the amount of local South Jersey raised players on the Barons. Hope to see you there.


It was great to see a great game in the Women's World Cup. In the overtime when China kicked the corner and headed past the USA goalie (Scurry) and Lilly headed it out, the USA player (I think #6) kicked the ball out with a high kick. Two China players were close, one trying to kick and the other trying to head it into the goal. Was this a dangerous play? If this was, what would have been awarded?   (Gregg from West Berlin)


Gregg, an avid fan of the ladies game, was impressed with the World Cup Championship Game last weekend. He did see a potential dangerous play situation in the overtime period and was curious why no call was made. China had a corner kick that went past the USA goalie, landed close to the goal where a China player kicked it and Lilly made a dramatic header to keep the ball out of the net. Just after the header, a USA player made a very high jumping kick to clear the ball out of harm's way while a China player was very close to the high kick. Gregg asks whether was this a dangerous play and if so what would the call have been.

Dangerous play is a judgement call by the official. In this official's opinion, there was no danger to anyone during this play. Remember, this is a very high level of professional competition officiated by world class FIFA officials. A call like this would never be made. In the lower leagues where we have seen this same play whistled as dangerous, it is called that way to ensure safety to all players. The ruling for dangerous play is an indirect kick for the non-offending team from the point of the foul. If the foul is within the goal area (six-yard box), the ball is put back into play at a point outside the goal area.

A few weeks ago I asked another series of five questions that pertain to USSF games. I only wished I had remembered and followed up with the answers. Here goes:

  1. What is the responsibility of the referee when he sees a player bleeding? The referee ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
  2. To start play, Team A wins the coin toss. What decision(s) must the captain make? The team winning the coin toss decides which goal it will attack in the first half of the game. The other team takes the kick-off to start the match.
  3. Team B's goalkeeper takes a goal kick. The kick happens to travel the length of the field and goes directly into the opposing team's goal. Goal or no goal? A goal may be scored directly from a goal kick, but only against the opposing team.
  4. What used to be called "ungentlemanly conduct" has been changed to what? The politically correct term is "unsporting behavior".
  5. Can a goal be scored at the kick-off (place kick)? Yes, a goal may be scored at this time.

How did you do? I will work on some others for next week. Have a good week and keep kicking them into the net.

Ref's Tip:

I'd like to take this opportunity to express my views and comments about Saturday's great Women's World Cup Final game between China and the United States. Wasn't it great to see such an emotionally changed game? The women did us proud. Victory was not without lots of pain, suffering and work. The rewards of these efforts were a world championship. CONGRATULATIONS !

The United States squad was a chosen few. The 20 ladies come from eleven different states as indicated in their record of hometowns. Everyone is a college graduate. Some have graduated from such prestigious schools as Stanford, Rutgers and University of North Carolina. The average player age is 27 and they have collectively played in over 1700 international games. These ladies are something special.

What has made them so successful? I believe it began with the federal mandated Title IX legislation. This forced schools to treat the ladies as equals when determining and setting athletic schedules. It worked.

I thought the shirt removal by Brandi Chastain was out of line. As a professional I would expect a bit more class at this level. Could it be a future advertisement for women's sport bras by Nike? I think so.

Was it a goal or not? This will be a much-discussed question by soccer people everywhere. Of course the answer is it was a goal because the official allowed it. Could the official have ruled it a no goal and ordered a retake of the kick? Yes, she could have done so. Law 14 states, "the defending goalkeeper remains on his/her goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked." Until the ball has been kicked is the key wording. Did Briana Scurry move forward before the ball was kicked? Yes, she did. Obviously this is expected and accepted at this level of competition.

To all who watched the game:   you saw a great game between two great teams. To all who missed the game:   you missed a great game between two great teams. I, for one, am pleased to have seen the games. Soccer at this level is a great experience. To the young ladies out there:   dreams do come true with hard work. Good luck. I hope to see you out there in the years to come.

Ref's Tip:

A week ago Saturday, I had the pleasure of watching the opening ceremonies and opening game of the Women's World Cup soccer game. It was as big a thrill as it was for the Men's World Cup game I had experienced. The crowd was very much attended by all ages of women. It was great to see the vast amount of youth there.

For the most part the Americans have a lot to learn about this high level of competition. The Brazilians and Mexicans showed what it is all about. They know how to create their own pageantry. Where were the noisy sections? They were the people in the Brazilians' famous green and yellow or the Mexicans in their equally famous green. To them it is more than a game.

As an official, I tend to watch the game from a bit of a different perspective. I like to see how my fellow officials handle each situation, how visible or invisible the official is as well as the degree of difficulty the game poses.

The center official in the USA-Denmark game was truly outstanding. She was transparent to the fans and players. She let the game progress to the level of the teams. Her calls were fair, honest and discreet. Rarely did you notice her on the field.

During the Brazil-Mexico game, the center official was not as good but still did a credible job. This official gave the appearance of who was in control. The whistle was bright pink, the hand gestures were very deliberate and powerful while her hair was constantly being pushed out of her face.

Sunday evening's Deptford B team played Glassboro in the mens league. The center person at this game gave a referee clinic. He was very professional, stern but friendly and was a part of the game. After the game quite a few of the players went out of their way to shake his hand and thank him for the best refereed game of the year. It was a treat watching him in action.

It will not be long now until both high school and weekend ball begin again. Are you in shape? NOW is the time to start. Good luck.


What is the call for too many men on the field during play and after a goal is scored?   (Kevin from Cinnaminson)


This is a very good question. Both cases are rare but do happen from time to time.

In both cases the player who commits the offence of entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission is subject to cautioning and a yellow card by the referee. That is the easy book answer. What is the realistic answer?

The first thing that must be done is to identify the offending player. If I have assistant referees helping, the player identification might be easier. If not, I must try my best to keep track of all 22 players as the game goes on. What would I do if I could not identify the offending player? Once the offence is noticed and there is no advantage taken away from the other team I would stop play to talk with the captain. I would explain the situation and appeal for his sense of decency to identify the player. This approach works very well. Failing this I would yellow card the captain.

If Team A scores a goal and the referee instantly identifies too many players on the field for Team A, what happens now? After consulting with my assistant referees or having to make this determination myself, if in fact too many players were on the field for Team A the goal is then waved off, a yellow card is issued to the offending player and Team B is awarded a free kick. As the referee you must make this decision immediately. After a goal there is always some sort of substituting going on that could give the appearance of too many player on the field. This is a tough call so the referee must be decisive, crisp and clear in his decision. No matter what, one of the teams is going to have an emotional reaction.

Want to be a referee? Look up a couple of the last "Ask The Ref!" articles for the names and phone numbers for cadet classes. We are always in the hunt for good candidates. Read the local newspaper's sport section for this information. Just this week there were two advertisements for soccer officials. If you are a new coach it will be an asset to know the ins and outs of the soccer official. If you are a player it will make you a much better and more tolerant player if you knew how the official thinks and acts. Give it a try. If you cannot find the articles let me know. Our organization, the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association, will be more than happy to help you in this quest.


In one of your recent postings you mentioned that you were referee-ing a tournament at Fort Dix? Who sponsored it? It doesn't seem to appear in any of the tournament listings on the web.   (Gary from West Berlin)

Did the rule change that you can play the ball while you're on the ground? I've been seeing a lot lately with no foul being called.   (Scot from Voorhees)


What a weekend for soccer tournaments! The weather could not have been any nicer except maybe a bit cooler. Hope everyone got to see some of the many games. Myself, I happened to get down to Edgewood High School for some of the Voorhees Memorial Day Classic. What a picture that was, eight soccer fields in full use at the Edgewood complex. Three certified officials for every game staffed all the fields. I was most impressed with the great organization it took to make this endeavor run as smooth as it did.

Gary, from West Berlin, wrote asking about the recent Ft. Dix Tournament. For one reason or another I did not work this tournament this year. I normally do not volunteer for these holiday tournaments but do positively respond to working when asked by the referee assignor. This year I received no phone calls. Last year the host or organizing groups for this tournament was Soccer International, the indoor complex in West Berlin. They have since changed names to Sports International to better their image as a multi hosting sports facility. It is a shame they did not take advantage of this medium for advertising. The coverage by in Southern New Jersey is very exciting. For them to not be a part of it is their loss. I did notice the coverage offered to both the Voorhees Memorial Day Classic and the Vineland Memorial Day Tournament.

"Did the rule change that you can play the ball while you are on the ground?" asked Scot of Voorhees. He has been seeing a lot of this lately with no foul being called. This is a great question and one that many parents debate with officials. There is NO rule/Law stating you cannot play the ball while you are on the ground. I have no idea why this idea exists. There is a rule/Law about dangerous play. That is the foul you will see called. Very simply, if you are all alone and want to lay on the ground to play the ball, so be it. There is no danger to anyone. Once a crowd gathers and someone decides to play the ball while laying on the ground the official must determine if anyone is in danger of being hurt. If so, dangerous play is called and the game is restarted with an indirect kick for the non-offending team. This call is one of those subjective calls the official is expected to make on the spur of the moment. Rule of thumb: no harm-no foul.


I just started playing soccer. How do I get a stingy old ref, like yourself, on my side?   (Bob from Mt. Laurel)

There is a Memorial Day Tournament coming this weekend. I was wondering what happens if it rains? Is the tournament cancelled? Is the tournament rescheduled for the following weekend?   (Brian from Marlton)


Must be soccer season again. I have received two questions this week. One was from Bob of Mt. Laurel and the other from Brian of Marlton.

Bob asked, "I just started playing soccer. How do I get a stingy old ref, like yourself, on my side?" Bob, your question is most interesting. It is not a matter of either of us being on each others side, but it is a matter of mutual respect. My role is to enforce the "Laws of the Game" in a consistent and fair manner. How do I do that? In the first five to ten minutes of each game I try my best to evaluate the skill levels of both teams. The better teams like the game to be called in a less stringent manner. They know what they are doing and do not want the trivial calls that ruin their game. On the other hand, those teams of less skill need to have the game called in a tighter manner. If not, trouble could be the result. What do I look for in the first part of the game? Are the players taking those dangerous cheap shots at the other team, are the players complaining about the non-calls, do the teams respect the "advantage" calls and am I listening to the overall complaining during play? Better teams rarely complain. When they do it is normally justified. Years ago I did a game where the offensive goalkeeper, in his goal area, was complaining about an off sides call at the other end of the field. None of the other players were complaining. When a game starts like that it is headed in the wrong direction for a good game. It all goes back to mutual respect. My sincerest advice to a new player is to take the Referee course. You will better understand the reason why some calls are made and others are not. All too often our youth programs start off without any understanding of what the "Laws of the Game" are or how they apply to situations during the game. Thanks for the question.

Brian, the question you asked is not within the referee's jurisdiction. You asked, "there is a Memorial Day Tournament coming this weekend. I was wondering what happens if it rains? Is the tournament cancelled? Is the tournament rescheduled for the following weekend?" Once the tournament organizers allow the games to begin it is our role is to determine if the field is in a safe and playable condition. If it is, the games will begin. Rain does not normally stop the games from being played, but rain with lightning will immediately stop a game until a point where the lightning is non-existent and the games can resume play. Safety is the first and foremost concern.

There are three Memorial Day Tournaments in this area that I know of. Voorhees is a four day affair beginning the 28th, Vineland has theirs starting on the 29th and the Fort Dix Tournament begins the 29th. During the weekend of June 5-6 the Cherry Hill Girls and Willingboro Organization host invitational tournaments. The following week, June 12-13, has the Medford Strikers hosting their invitational tournament. Each of these venues will have great soccer of all youth age groups.

High school soccer is just around the corner. Dan Roberts has scheduled a high school cadet training class for June 24-26 at Gloucester County College. If you are interested or know someone who is, please have him or her call Dan at 856-694-0538. I look forward to seeing you this upcoming season.

Until next week, remember Manchester United scored two goals in injury time to win the European Cup. The game is not over until the final whistle.

Ref's Tip:

The latest issue of Officials' Quarterly has just come out. This is a publication sent to all registered high school officials of any sport. The National Federation of State High School Associations produces it. I found the article on the soccer committee's recommendations for changes in high school rules. Here are the significant ideas proposed:

  1. A single, dominant-color stocking will be the only type of legal stocking for use in high school competition. Illegal stockings, will include, although not limited to, bumble bee (fully striped) and tie-dyed stockings, as well as paisley and polka dot stockings.
  2. A change in Rule 12-7-5 now limits the goalkeeper possession/control of the ball to five seconds. The intent is speed up the game and reduce time wasting actions by the goalkeeper.
  3. Another change in Rule 12 dealing with fouls and misconduct will accommodate individual interpretation of the meaning of "foul." Rule 12-8-3(b) was revised by the committee to state that using offensive, insulting or abusive language will result in a player, coach or bench personnel being disqualified. This revision also brings NFHS soccer rules in line with other rule-making bodies.
  4. The official, upon issuing a card, must notify both coaches, in addition to the player, of the reason for the caution or disqualification. This will allow the officials and coaches to convey the expectations of good sportsmanship and proper behavior to players.
  5. It is specifically stated in Rule 12-1-3 that a goalkeeper shall not strike or attempt to strike an opponent by throwing or kicking the ball at an opponent or by pushing an opponent with the ball while holding it. The expectation is all players and bench personnel will be monitored the same as the goalkeeper.
  6. Behaviors which demean, ridicule or embarrass others based on such factions as race, religion, gender, national origin, etc, is not acceptable in high school athletics. Taunting and exaggerated or orchestrated celebrations during and after the game are major concerns. Coaches and school administrators must be responsible for preventing such behavior.

None of these are really new or earth shaking. Each is designed to refine the game to a level of fair competition, enjoyable competition and true sportsmanship. Soccer is now the fifth-most popular high school sport for boys nationwide with 309,484 participants in 8,859 schools, according to the 1997-98 High School Athletics Participation Survey. For the ladies it is also number five in popularity among girl sports with 246,687 participants in 7,468 schools.

Are you ready for the upcoming high school season?

Ref's Quiz:

Sorry, it has been a few weeks since my last writing.

In the last article, there were five questions asked. Mike from Manalapan answered them correctly. Let's review the questions and the correct answers. Each question was directed to USSF games, not NJ High School.

  1. A severe thunderstorm starts at halftime and, in the opinion of the referee, the storm will continue for some time. The referee suspends the match. This in now considered an official game. False, in USSF a game is not a game unless two halves of equal time are played. The game is rescheduled.
  2. A free kick is awarded to Team B. A player from Team A refuses to move the required ten yards and then kicks the ball away. The referee verbally admonishes the offending player. False, verbal conversations might take place, but once the player kicked away the ball this is an act of dissent and calls for a "yellow" card.
  3. The coach of Team A is disqualified from the contest. He refuses to leave the area. The referee terminates the game. True, but as Mike put it, "be ready to call the police".
  4. Player A is moving up field and is even with the second-to-last defender. The referee declares him to be off side. False, even is on side.
  5. The referee, in the pre-game conference, reminds the linesman that offside is to be judged at the moment the ball is passed to a player in an offside position. True as written, but not called until a clear advantage is realized or will be realized. The key is understanding the "passed to a player" words. Does this mean at the origination of the pass or the receipt of the pass? The linesman is normally in position by being aligned with the last defender so a proper call can be made.

During the past couple of weeks, I have been receiving literature about soccer camps for our youth. Take advantage of these opportunities. There are some very good camps at reasonable prices.

Memorial Day is just around the corner. With it come many, many soccer tournaments. Just this week I was asked about my availability to do games in Burlington, Moorestown, Medford and Ft. Dix. Last year I had the pleasure of working the Ft. Dix venue. Imaging eighteen soccer fields on one piece of ground. This was very impressive. Teams from everywhere were playing. All age groups up to U16 were involved. Girls teams and boys teams were invited. If you are not a player, so what? Visit one of these venues and see some very good soccer. There are some very gifted individuals playing these days.

Let's try a couple more questions: USSF only.

  1. What is the responsibility of the referee when he sees a player bleeding?
  2. To start play, Team A wins the coin toss. What decision(s) must the captain make?
  3. Team B's goalkeeper takes a goal kick. The kick happens to travel the length of the field and goes directly into the opposing team's goal. Goal or no goal?
  4. What used to be called "ungentlemanly conduct" has been changed to what?
  5. Can a goal be scored at the kick-off (place kick)?

Good luck and let me know how you did.

Ref's Quiz:

How did you do in the quiz? Each question came from past examinations given to referees. Here are the answers and why they are true or false.

  1. The referee must sound the whistle each time the ball is out of play. False, when the call is very obvious there is no need to whistle.
  2. The referee, seeing the linesman's flag for offside, waves the flag down as the ball goes directly to the goalkeeper. True, we try to let the natural flow of the game take course.
  3. The referee determines that the goal kick must be kicked from the team's right half of the goal area. False, the kicker can determine where to place the ball for the kick. Once the ball is placed it cannot be moved to another location.
  4. Player A places the ball on the quarter-circle to take the corner kick. The referee does not allow the kick to be taken until the ball is moved within the quarter-circle. False, the ball may be in contact with the quarter-circle but not outside of it.
  5. Player A is frustrated with his play and argues with a teammate. He then utters a series of obscenities at this teammate. The referee disqualifies Player A. True, a disqualification for obscenities is valid.
  6. During his pre-game inspection, the referee notices multiple manufacture's logos on the goal post. The referee decrees that the visiting team will be awarded a penalty kick to start the game. False, a penalty kick can only be awarded for an infraction during playing time within the penalty area.
  7. The home team has the responsibility to provide both volunteer linesman and provide instructions to them. False, the referee is the person that will provide instructions to volunteer linesmen.
  8. Following an injury to a player from Team B, the referee restarts the play with an indirect free kick for Team B since it had control of the ball at stoppage. False, stoppages of this nature are restarted with a drop ball.
  9. The referee observes a minor foul by Player B, determines an advantage situation exists and does not stop play. True, in an advantage situation minor fouls can be overlooked. The referee should be calling out "play on" to let both teams know he saw the foul but chose to allow the advantage.
  10. Due to transportation problems, Team A is able to only field nine players at game start. The head referee allows the contest to start. True, the minimum number of players is normally determined by local leagues. Nine players would be acceptable most of the time.

How did you do? Remember that the High School Federation does have different answers for a couple of the questions. Let's try another five this week. As before, all answers are True or False.

  1. A severe storm starts at halftime and, in the opinion of the referee, the storm will continue for some time. The referee suspends the match. This is now considered an official game.
  2. A free kick is awarded to Team B. A player from Team A refuses to move the required 10 yards and then kicks the ball away. The referee verbally admonishes the offending player.
  3. The coach of Team A is disqualified from the contest. He refuses to leave the area. The referee terminates the game.
  4. Player A is moving up field and is even with the second-to-last defender. The referee declares him to be offside.
  5. The referee, in the pregame conference, reminds the linesmen that offside is to be judged at the moment the ball is passed to a player in an offside position.

Ref's Quiz:

So you think you know the game. How about a 10 question quiz this week? Send me your answers and we can see how well we know our game. All answers are (T) true or (F) false and pertain to USSF games.

  1. The referee must sound the whistle each time the ball is out of play.
  2. The referee, seeing the linesman's flag for offside, waves the flag down as the ball goes directly to the goalkeeper.
  3. The referee determines that the goal kick must be kicked from the team's right half of the goal area.
  4. Player A places the ball on the quarter-circle line to take the corner kick. The referee does not allow the kick to be taken until the ball is moved within the quarter circle.
  5. Player A is frustrated with his play and argues with a teammate. He then utters a series of obscenities at this same teammate. The referee disqualifies Player A.
  6. During his pre game inspection, the referee notices multiple manufacturer's logos on the goal post. The referee decrees that the visiting team will be awarded a penalty kick to start the game.
  7. The home team has the responsibility to provide both volunteer linesmen and provide instructions to them.
  8. Following an injury to a player from Team B, the referee restarts play with an indirect free kick for Team B since it had control of the ball at the stoppage.
  9. The referee observes a minor foul by Player B, determines an advantage situation exists and does not stop play.
  10. Due to transportation problems, Team A is able to only field nine players at game time. The head referee allows the contest to start.

Be careful to not fall into the trap of mixing USSF Laws and High School rules. The question is the same but the answers are different. Good luck and let me know how you did.

Ref's Tip:

I continue to be asked about how to become a Soccer Referee in South Jersey. There are two different programs available through the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association. One is for USSF (weekend games) and High School.

John O'Connell, State Class 1 Referee heads up the training for USSF. John's phone number is 856-461-3742. His address is 11 Montclair Drive, Delran, New Jersey, 08075. He recently ran a class but will be having more in the future.

Bill Sullivan, State Class 2 Referee, has the high school responsibility. Bill's phone number is 856-423-6925. His address is 103 Cypress Ave., Mickelton, New Jersey, 08056. He, too, has run a recent class but will have more in the future.

From time to time there are other classes run that are credited with the SJSOA. This information is in the sports section of the Courier-Post newspaper. As each season comes closer the better the opportunity to see these offers.

The influx of youth in the referee community has grown dramatically. The opportunity to work games Saturday and Sundays are plentiful. All the indoor facilities use certified USSF officials so there is a need year round. There is no age requirement for the entry-level officials, but 14 seems to be the youngest accepted. Once certified the only restrictions are the age levels of games the youth can officiate. The rule of thumb is: you can only do games with the players younger than yourself. That is a tremendous amount of games in the fall as well as Saturday and Sunday indoor games. The financial rewards are better than you get at most part time jobs. The impact on your own game skills is most rewarding. You learn how the officials think, officiate and control games. You learn more about the game refereeing. Good luck. Please send me any questions you might have about officiating. It is fun, helpful and interesting.

Belated congratulations to Paul Mayovich for being chosen "High School Referee of the Year" by the coaches association. Paul joins a very exclusive group with this honor.

Also, belated congratulations to the Pemberton Girls and Salem Boys soccer teams for earning their South Jersey Soccer Officials Association's "Sportsmanship" awards. Each season the officials review game cards, make appropriate nominations and vote on the winners of this award.

Better get the high school players in shape. The season opens on September 10th. That is only 7 months away.

Once you have been certified you will be put in contact with the SJSOA assignor for game assignments. It is that easy. For indoor assignments you will have to contact the facility where you want to officiate. Each facility has a game assignor. In both situations you would normally be assigned a seasons worth of games. That could be 8 to 10 weeks' worth of games.

There are a lot of local produced soccer clinic and camps. Each is different in it make up and output. Most often they form small groups to teach different mechanics of the game. One group on plays, another on defenses another on offence and still another on teamwork. Of course there are more aspects than that. I know of no camp that includes a group on officiating or how the referee looks at the game. Our youth do not learn what "advantage" is, what is considered trifling or the purpose of the "red" and "yellow" card. Why not contact a local official to help with the clinics? Have the youth learn the official is only there to help the game in the best interest of everyone.

Ref's Tip:

(This is a follow-up to a previous question)

Mike from Voorhees contacted me the other day asking about becoming a certified soccer official. Classes begin this month. Our local South Jersey instructor is John O'Connell of Delran. Please contact him to enter the class. John can be reached at 856-461-3742.

So you want to be a ref. Are you sure? Let me review Law 5 - The Referee. This comes directly from 1997/98 Laws of the Game handbook all referees receive.

    The Authority of the Referee

    Each match is controlled by a referee who has full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game in connection with the match to which he has been appointed.

    Powers and Duties

    The Referee:

    • Enforces the Laws of the Game.
    • Controls the match in co-operation with the assistant referees and, where applicable, with the forth official.
    • Ensures the ball meets the requirements of Law 2.
    • Ensures the players' equipment meets the requirements of Law 4.
    • Acts as timekeeper and keeps a record of the match.
    • Stops, suspends or terminates the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the Laws.
    • Stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind.
    • Stops the match if, in his opinion, a player is seriously injured and ensures that he is removed from the field of play.
    • Allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player, in his opinion, only slightly injured.
    • Ensures that any player bleeding from a wound leaves the field of play. The player may only return on receiving a signal from the referee, who must be satisfied that the bleeding has stopped.
    • Allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalizes the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at the time.
    • Punishes the more serious offence when a player commits more than one offence at the same time.
    • Takes disciplinary action against players guilty of cautionable and sending-off offences. He is not obligated to take this action immediately but must do so when the ball next goes out of play.
    • Takes action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may at his discretion, expel them from the field of play and it immediate surrounds.
    • Acts on the advice of assistant referees regarding incidents which he has not seen.
    • Ensures that no unauthorized persons enter the field of play.
    • Restarts the match after it has been stopped.
    • Provides the appropriate authorities with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occurred before, during and after the match,

    Decisions of the Referee

    The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play are final.

    The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee, provided that he has not restarted play.

Ref's Tip:

In my travels I found a copy of the "United Front", a newsletter distributed to all involved with the Gaetano United FC teams. On page three there is a column called the "Laws Corner", which is much like this forum. Interested parties write in and ask for Law clarifications. Again, the offside law was in question but this time with a different twist. Team A is awarded a goal kick. Since they have a very powerful kicker their offensive players line up 5 to 8 yards past the last line of defense by Team B. Clearly they appear to be in an off side position. Are they? NO! There are four instances when a player receives a ball directly they are not offsides: goal kick, corner kick, throw in, and a drop ball. Great question and great answer.

A second part of that question concerns the reporting of officials that do not know or understand the Laws of the Game. Leagues that use certified officials do have recourse. The league assignor can provide the proper name and address of the responsible Officials Association. In South Jersey we belong to the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association. Our organization does have a complaint process that is very effective and beneficial to all.

Larry McKeen seems to be the lead person for the "United Front" newsletter. This is an excellent production, I was most impressed. You can view it at Larry has included an email address for those with input:

The honors of excellence continue for South Jersey high school players. Five local ladies were honored by being named to the Associated Press' 1998 New Jersey All State Girls' Soccer Team: Alexis George (Haddonfield), Megan MacKannon (Delsea), Erica "Boo" Schubert (Delran), Jenna Merriam (Eastern) and Maureen Tohide (Gloucester Catholic). Earning Second Team status were Becky Petsch ( Delsea), Katie Ludwig (Lenape), Robyn Benson (Gloucester Catholic), and Joanne Elston (Lenape). Four local men were also honored by being named to the Associated Press' 1998 New Jersey All State Boys' Soccer Team: Ryan Grzeszczak (Shawnee), Byron Carmichael (Rancocas Valley), John Epley (Delsea) and Scott Lermach (Cherry Hill East). Second Team honors went to Chad Severs (Ocean City), while third team honors went to Tim Martino (Gloucester Catholic). CONGRATULATIONS to each of you. South Jersey was well represented. Thanks to the coaches who have worked long and hard to support each of the honored players.

Les Lunsford (Overbrook/Stockton State) was drafted fifth by our own Philadelphia KiXX. Looks like another South Jersey product has a chance at the professional level.

If you remember the last World Cup how could you forget the Frenchman, Zinedine Zidane? He has been named Europe's Footballer of the Year, adding to the list of titles awarded to the Juventus midfielder who scored two goals in France's 3-0 World Cup final win over Brazil.

In closing for 1998, I wish each of you the best over the holiday season. 1999 has a great beginning with the soccer here in South Jersey. Practice and learn. See you next year.

Ref's Tip:

Hopefully everyone had the chance to watch some of the State playoff games as well as the senior All-Star games. If not, you missed some of the better talent we have in South Jersey.

Congratulations to those individuals highlighted in the December 12th Courier-Post Varsity Extra edition for Player of Year honors, All-Group and All-South Jersey Teams. These are the skilled of the skilled players. More impressive than the skills offered are the academic accomplishments most of the players have achieved. In the biography under each picture is a listing where the player intends to or is interested in attending college. Most of the colleges are not soccer powers; they are some of the finest schools in the country.

Female Player of the Year honors went to Erica "Boo" Schubert of Delran High School. This young lady is extremely talented. She has speed, powerful shots, and an uncanny instinct for the game. Scoring 120 goals during her high school career is most impressive. Yet more impressive is her being a nice person on and off the field. "Boo" is articulate and considerate of others. Best of wishes to her at the Division 1 University of Florida. Thank you for your contribution to South Jersey women's soccer.

Byron Carmichael, Rancocas Valley High School, well deserved his recognition as Male Player of the Year. Carmichael is a young strong player with a fantastic powerful shot. He moves well with the ball and has a great field presence. Thirty-five goals this past season are no accident. Byron is also one of those real nice young people on and off the field. Schools like Marshall and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas have shown strong interest in his talents. Thank you for your contribution to South Jersey men's soccer.

The future for high school excellence looks very bright. Chad Severs (sophomore Ocean City), Ryan Kelly (junior Cherokee), Courtney McCrudden, (sophomore Eastern), Katie Ludwig (junior Lenape), Robyn Benson (junior Gloucester Catholic), Carli Lloyd (sophomore Delran), Meridith Soble (junior Cherry Hill East), Maureen Tohidid (junior Gloucester Catholic) and Alexis George (junior Haddonfield) all earned underclassmen status as All-South Jersey Players. Congratulations to all.

We all have something to look forward to next season with this talent base.

Ref's Tip:

(12/10) This morning I was reading the Camden Courier-Post sports page and found the article on "sportsmanship" most interesting. Sportsmanship is many things to many people. To me, sportsmanship is a common courtesy extended to others in need.

Winning a game by five or more goals serves no purpose to either team. Why not play shorthanded? Why not have the team work on goals scored using heading skills only? Why not have the right-footed kicker use his left foot only and vice versa? How about putting your leading scorer in the net while the keeper moves to forward. Using a little creativity will improve an individual and team skill set.

The ritual of lining up after a game to shake hands is credible. Forgo to the need to line up, casually meet your foe where he/she stands at the conclusion of a game. You see this at the end of international games, U.S. professional games as well as those games we get every now and then from Europe. Mill around the field to shake hands after each game. Thank your competitor for the game. Wish them luck during the remainder of the season.

As a coach, what can you expect from the official? In my opinion a good official will temper his game to what is happening. Less critical calls for the loser can go overlooked whereas not so for the winner. With that, the official can explain this to the better players in a casual manner. The better players deserve this acknowledgment and they do appreciate it.

What is wrong telling your competitor he/she scored a nice goal when he/she scores one of those really unbelievable goals? As a player, only you can appreciate greatness others have; tell them so. The better teams do this as a manner of routine.

Sportsmanship, a subject with many components. How can you improve it? Everyone likes to see skilled players recognized for their accomplishments by their competitors. Join the trend and help our sport continue to be as great as it is in the rest of the world.


What is involved in becoming a soccer official in South Jersey?   (Mike from Voorhees)


It is all very easy. John O'Connell, a 26-year veteran of our association, will be starting up a class (16 hours) in January 1999. You can reach John by calling him, 856-461-3742, or writing to him, 11 Montclair Drive, Delran, NJ, 08075. He will give you the details necessary to join the class. This class will get you on your way to officiating USSF (United States Soccer Federation) games at all levels. You will then begin your progression up the ladder to the higher level games.

You will then be able to join the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association (SJSOA) and reap the rewards. What does the SJSOA do? We run on and off field clinics to improve our techniques of officiating, review the changes in the Laws of the Game prior to the fall season, and requalify by taking both an annual written rule review and an on field physical running test.

The seasons begin with the spring leagues beginning in March followed by the adult leagues in the summer and ending with the fall leagues. Once you have attained your USSF badge you can then seek games at most of the indoor facilities. There are referees doing up to eight games a week almost year round. The games are there.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me via the Internet. Thank you and enjoy your new adventure with our great sport.

Ref's Tip:

If you are going into this indoor season in a new facility, better check with the official about any "house" rules. Are all kicks indirect or direct? What is the call on a roof ball? When does the penalty start - at the restart of play or when the offender gets into penalty box? Is there a three-line rule and what is it? Each indoor facility has its quirks with the rules and they do change from year to year.

Ref's Tip:

One of the basics before every high school game is to instruct all players to keep their shirts tucked in. Rightfully, NJSIAA insists this be the normal dress code. The appearance a team makes is a lasting impression. If you saw the state championship games on the New Jersey network Tuesday night you would have seen the difference. In the first game Blue keep up a very neat and tidy image while White was looking rag tag with shirts in all states of dishevel. The second game was a repeat of the first. I was most disappointed in the officials allowing this to happen. There is also a tactical reason too. A loosely tucked in shirt will pull out of the pants easily and makes the offence very visible to the official. Take advantage of the neat appearance.


When officials inspect shoes before each game, what is it they are looking for?   (Ian from Cape May)


There are many varieties of shoes players choose to wear during a game. It is our job to insure they are not dangerous to others. We look for worn out screw in spikes, sharpened spikes for better traction, illegal baseball cleat type shoes and shoes modified from the manufactures specs that could hurt someone during the game. For indoor games we look for smooth sole shoes only. Shoes with the knobs or mini spikes do too much damage to the indoor carpet surface.

Ref's Tip:

Outdoor season is coming to a close for a great many of us. It is still not too late to watch some very good high school playoff games, high school All Star games or weekend team playoff and championships. Treat yourself to one of these. Bring out the youngsters to see what the game is in their future.

Indoor soccer is on the increase in a very big fashion in Southern New Jersey. Leagues are for every conceivable group imaginable. There are at least five indoor facilities in our area. The ones I know of are in W. Berlin, Washington Twp., Newfield, Gibbstown and just outside of Mays Landing. All have scheduled seasons and various tournaments.

The indoor game is a great training ground for all players. The goalkeepers learn to react by instinct, defense learn to react and offence learn to make plays. The game is fast paced. Red and yellow cards are non existent but the penalty box does exist for those needing a rest. If you have not tried this game give it a shot.

Ref's Tip:

Chris (Soccer International) and I were discussing some of the changes made this past year with the Laws of the Game 1997-1998. Specifically the wording relative to the "hand ball" decisions. Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct - lists one of the ten penalties leading to a direct free kick as "handles the ball deliberately" (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area). This Law also states a player is sent off and shown a red card if he commits an offence by denying an opponent a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper with his own penalty area). That word, deliberately, is very compelling and self-explanatory. It is still a judgement call by the official. Also of note is the terminology of handling of the ball. Nowhere is the term "hand ball" mentioned.


Do you think FIFA, USSF or High School Federation will ever eliminate the off side law/rule? If they did, wouldn't this modification increase scoring and make soccer way more exciting?   (JB from Haddonfield)


JB, you have asked a very interesting question. I have mulled over this one for a couple of weeks. Advice was sought from fellow referees, a referee with a National Referee ranking, players and family from Scotland.

Marc Block, National Referee, said it best for the deleting of Law XI entirely: This would change the modern game substantially, so much so that I do not think it would happen in our lifetime! Think of the implications... A forward could "cherry pick" by hanging out at his opponent's goal, waiting for a long clearing pass. A defender, of course, would join him. So, another forward stays up field, along with another defender. So much for a smooth transition and counter attack. Now we would have what the better youth coaches try to teach their charges no to do...simply kicking the ball as hard as they can down the field.

In the days of the NASL there were experiments with modification on Law XI. FIFA put a stop to that by threatening to ban the US from international play if it was not ended.

The purist of the game would not accept this radical of a modification.

You did ask my opinion. I am for it and against it. I love the game as it is today and basically has been during my lifetime. I am not opposed to changes in the game to make it more fan appealing only if it does not radically change the game.

Thanks to Marc Block for his input and assistance.


Why do some refs say "play on" when a foul is committed? Does it depend on the location of a player on the field?   (Boog from West Berlin)


An official will call out "play on" to let the players know he has seen a minor infraction and has chosen not to call it because it would have taken a distinct advantage away from the players. Field position is not that critical but most often you will see this "advantage" given when there is a potential goal scoring play opportunity. This year we have been empowered to reverse our advantage call if the play does not materialize in an advantage at the time of the call. The intent is to let the players play and keep the flow of the game as smooth as possible.


Team Red receives control of the ball in Blue's half of the field. The Referee in the other half of the field blows the whistle (signals time out) and issues a red card for vulgar/profane language to a Red player. Since Red has control does the Red Team have the restart or does the Blue Team have the restart? Where is the ball put into play? Is it a direct or indirect kick?   (Leanne)


Under NJSIAA jurisdiction, high schools use a two-man referee system giving equal authority to both referees. The referee making the call blows the whistle, crosses his arms over his head to indicate a stoppage in playing time then begins the process for administering the red card. Play is restarted with an indirect kick at the spot where play was stopped. Since the Red Team has clear control of the ball they would get the restart. Again, this is a high school law only.


A player takes a corner kick and while the ball is in the air the goalie pushes an attacker to the ground in the penalty area. What is the call and how is the game restarted?   (Leanne)


The key for the referee is judging the intent of the goalie. Was the push intentional or accidental? Did the attacking player fall down on his own or a result of the goalie's effort? Judgement is difficult and varies from referee to referee. This example could vary well result in a penalty shot for the offensive team.


Is the slide kick legal in midget soccer?   (Michelle from West Berlin)


Michelle has asked possibly two questions. A slide tackle is legal if it poses no danger to another player. A slide kick, a kick while sliding on the ground, is also legal if it poses no danger to another player. As an offensive player being faced by someone who continually slides after the ball, use it to your advantage. Either pass the ball before the slide or push the ball past the slider and continue your run. Sliding is not a good habit to begin at such a young age. Remember, if you slide you have to take time to get up again and get back into the play. Michelle, take advantage of this and turn it into a goal scoring advantage.

Ref's Tip:

Learn the hand signals used by referees. By the time you get to the U12 or above leagues, all players should know the difference between "direct" and "in-direct" signals and fouls. A referee hand pointed straight out indicates a direct kick while the hand extended above the head indicates an indirect kick.


One minute left in the game and I have a goal kick. What would the ruling be if I kicked the ball over the end line or into my own goal?   (Josh from West Berlin)


A goal kick, also referred to as a "six"-yard kick, is not in play until it clears the 18-yard box. By either kicking it over the end line or into your own goal possession goes to the offensive team as a corner kick.

A goal kick that does not make it out of the 18-yard penalty area is not in play and must be rekicked. If the referee is of the opinion a team does this as a time wasting tactic he can stop the clock, issue a warning (yellow card) for time wasting and award an indirect kick to the other team.


During a recent match in England, Pauilio DiCanio was red carded for kicking an opponent. As the referee gave him the card DiCanio pushed the referee causing him to stumble and fall down onto the ground. What happens next?   (Ian, on an Amoco oil rig in the North Sea off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland)


I cannot answer for The English Football Association but will try it at the amateur levels in the United States. Any physical contact with a soccer referee is an automatic red card ejection. Pushing the referee to the ground is assault and should be treated as a crime. These offenses must be reported to the police. In leagues affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation the punishment could include a ban from playing USSF ball for the rest of your life. This is considered an extremely serious offense.

Ref's Tip:

When setting up a six-yard kick, the ball does NOT have to be in any specific part of the six-yard box. Put the ball down anywhere in the box and kick it. Sometimes you can gain a great advantage with a quick kick.


During Saturday's game the referee called out "play on" when I thought I had been fouled. Why was the foul not whistled?   (Amy from West Berlin)


This is what is referred to as an "advantage" call by the referee. By calling out "play on" the referee has acknowledged he did see the foul, judged it to be minor and felt calling the foul would have taken away a possible scoring advantage to you. If you had watched real close the referee would have made a hand signal by swinging both arms in a sweeping fashion as if he were pushing something forward. This year the referee has been given the discretion to whistle the foul if an advantage failed to be an advantage to you.


How do I know if the foul results in a direct or indirect kick?   (Sean from Winslow)


The easiest way to remember is, if there is a serious infraction of the Laws the kick is a direct free kick. If the foul is minor, the kick is an indirect free kick. Tripping or kicking are the more serious fouls while off sides is considered minor. You do not need to ask the referee what kind of kick has been awarded. If the referee points his arm straight out it is a direct free kick. The referee raising his arm into the air indicates an indirect free kick. He will keep his arm raised until a second person touches the ball.

What does this mean? A direct free kick can be used to score a goal. Another player of either team must touch an indirect free kick, before a goal can be scored.


How does a referee judge if there is a dangerous play situation?   (Meaghan from West Berlin)


This is a great question. Dangerous play is a judgmental decision of the referee. Very often players and spectators expect this called if a player plays the ball while lying on the ground. If there is no danger to anyone then it is not dangerous. The most frequent dangerous play calls come when someone tries to kick a ball at or above the waist of a very close opponent. There is a potential danger to hurt someone in this situation. The same can be said if one person is on the ground playing the ball while another player is trying to kick it too. Again, someone could get hurt.

Ref's Tip:

Always play the whistle. By that I mean, if you do not hear the whistle then continue play. If the referee wants play to stop he will continue whistling until play stops. Players should play the game, spectators should encourage fair play, coaches should coach and referees will referee. Enjoy the sport for what it is.


What is the difference between a red and yellow card?   (Joe from Sicklerville)


The yellow and red cards are used as disciplinary actions for cautioning and sending-off offenses. Many times you will see a referee having casual conversations with players in an effort to control situations that could eliminate the use of cards. Cards should be used as a last resort. The intent of the game is to not give cards unnecessarily.

A player can be cautioned and shown a yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offenses:

  1. Is guilty of unsporting behavior.
  2. Shows dissent by word or action.
  3. Persistently infringes the Laws of the Game.
  4. Delays the restart of play.
  5. Fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner kick or free kick.
  6. Enters or re-enters the field of play without the referee's permission.
  7. Deliberately leaves the field of play without the referee's permission.

The red card can be used to identify the more serious sending off offenses. The sending off of a player would cause the team to play short handed the remainder of that game. The seven sending off offenses are:

  1. Is guilty of serious foul play.
  2. Is guilty of violent conduct.
  3. Spits at an opponent or any other person.
  4. Denies an opponent a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to the goalkeeper within his own penalty area).
  5. Denies an obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or penalty kick.
  6. Uses offensive, insulting and abusive language.
  7. Receives a second caution in the same match.


When we either participate in or watch games it is all too common to hear people yelling for a "hand ball" foul. To make it worse, the referee does not make any call at all. What is the rule for a hand ball?   (Gregg from West Berlin)


The term "hand ball" has been better defined as "handling the ball". The Laws of the Game state, "a person shall be penalized for deliberately handling, carrying, striking or propelling the ball with a hand or arm except for the goal keeper in his own penalty area". The intent of this Law is to prevent the deliberate act of using the hands or arms to gain an advantage in play. The intent of this Law is to not penalize the accidental contact with the ball. The rule of thumb is, did the ball hit the player or did the player hit the ball? If the player hit the ball it is a handling offense and if he did not it is not.


What makes a player "off-sides"?   (Daulton from West Berlin)


"Off Sides" is probably one of the most confusing and misunderstood of the Laws of the Game. There are three components to this Law.

  1. It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position. A player is in off side position if he is nearer to his opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent. He cannot be off sides within his own half of the field, is even with the second last opponent or he is even with the last two opponents.
  2. A player in an off sides position is only penalized if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by interfering with play, interfering with an opponent or is gaining an advantage by being in that position.
  3. There is no off sides offense if a player receives the ball directly from a corner kick, throw in or goal kick.

This is a lot to muddle through. Very simply, if the player is not in the immediate area of play, not gaining an advantage and not interfering with the other team then the player is NOT offside.

Ref's Tip:

In each of the aforementioned areas there is one common factor. Each and every situation in soccer is a judgment call by the referee. This is very unlike the American sports we all know. The referee is always considering the seriousness of the foul, the intent of what was happening, who gains or loses an advantage as well as keeping with the spirit of the game.


FIFA's 2005 edition of the Laws of the Game

NFHS Soccer Rules


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