It has been quite awhile since my last actions on this site. There were many reasons but the most significant one was the amount of SPAM I was receiving. On a daily basis I received twenty to thirty SPAMs. Our systems have not nor were they able to handle this. I shut down the column as the only answer. We are back in business with this column now that we have a new system.
Some of the questions received are a bit over the top. In my last batch someone asked why soccer players had sleeves on their shirts. Who cares? Another wanted to know where the first soccer field in New Jersey was. Again, who cares? Two others were from an African Nation asking me to sponsor or get a sponsor for a player to come to America to play youth soccer. This is not my field of interest.
There are a significant number of people asking how to get referee certified. If you are interested in High School or College try the www.sjsoa.net (South Jersey Soccer Officials Association) site for classes. Do it quickly, the season begins at the end of the month. This organization represents Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem Counties in New Jersey. Your interest in certification for youth games can be found on a link with www.sjsl.org (South Jersey Soccer League).
Here are some questions with long overdue replies:
Krista (Auckland, New Zealand) is asking if there is a Law that requires shin pads to be worn in a soccer game.
Sure is! Law 4-Players Equipment covers this area. Part of the Law states player's jerseys must be tucked inside their shorts, socks must remain pulled up and each player must wear shin guards under their socks. As a side note, the shin guards must be sized as age appropriate. It seems many high school and older players thought it stylish to wear youth shin guards.
Elaine (Tuckerton) has a 17 year old looking for soccer leagues in Atlantic or Ocean County.
While I am not familiar with leagues there you might start a search on www.njyouthsoccer.com. Another idea might be to contact your child's high school coach and ask him/her.
Darryl (Somerdale), Jill (Palmyra) and Janixa (Camden) want to know about possible youth soccer programs in the Palmyra area.
A possible avenue would be going to the South Jersey Soccer League site, www.sjsl.org, for team locations and contacts. Good luck. For the girls the site would be www.sjgsl.org.
Jarrett (Cherry Hill) is returning home from attending an out of state college and is looking for a team.
Best bet is to contact the South Jersey Adult Soccer League, www.sjasl.org, for club listings and contacts. For those over 35 the South Jersey Masters League is available at www.sjmasters.org.
Dave (Hammonton) has an interest in indoor soccer.
The www.njyouthsoccer.com site is your best bet. It lists tournaments and things like that. It will also give you a contact list of people that might be helpful. The former indoor site in West Berlin has moved to Cherry Hill while I believe the Harmony site has shut it doors to soccer.
Eric's (Flemington) daughter is a goalie. His three questions lead off with: How is goalie possession of the ball defined?
Control of the ball defines possession. In the youth programs this might be one finger control while advanced ages might use control of the ball with the hand. What is most important here is the protection of the goalkeeper.
Number two question has to do with player interference of the goalie, while in control of the ball, by the opposing team.
Any actions to interfere with the goalies ability to release the ball back into play can be considered a cautionable offense as UNSPORTING BEHAVIOR. Normally a verbal warning to the offending player is enough to prevent any game stoppage. A caution would be needed for repeated actions by the offending team.
And finally, what are the requirements of the goalie position during a penalty kick?
Once the referee signals for a the penalty kick the goalkeeper may move side to side on the goal line, but may not move off the goal line until the ball has been kicked. The requirement to be "on the goal line" is met even if one or both of the goalkeeper's feet are not physically toughing the ground, so long as the goalkeeper has not moved forward or backward from the plane of the goal line.
Richie (Collingswood) asks if his team can substitute on an opponents throw in.
My answer to this is two fold. In USSF ball the answer is no. Only the team in possession may substitute on a throw-in by local league adoption of a modification to Law 15. In National Federation of High School rules the answer is yes only if the controlling team has a substitute also.
Dennis (Clayton) wants to know if leaning in and making contact with the opponent is a foul.
No, as long as you are not interfering with the opponent, have at least one foot on the ground and are not playing in a dangerous manner.
An area of great misunderstanding is why the referee misses those obvious calls. They, the referees, really do not miss the obvious calls. What they do is reinforce the Laws of the Game as they are intended to provide that games should be played with as little interference as possible and, in this view, it is the duty of the referee 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. Bottom line is to forget the nickel and dime stuff that has no effect on the game.
With all the soccer that begins in the next few weeks be sure to visit the local "pitch" and see the kids in action. Good luck and good soccer.