Saturday, April 30, 2011

Upgrade Kudos

As we have done here in the past, I would like to congratulate Raul Carreno, who has recently been upgraded to Grade 7 (Referee 1st Class).

Well done!

Friday, April 29, 2011

MLS Well Represented at Royal Wedding

Photo courtesy of
Kicking Back Comments: He cleans up well. Interesting note on the medal he is wearing, it is the Order of the British Empire which he received in 2003 from The Queen.

Only one problem ... protocol dictates the medal be worn on the left side, over the heart. Oh well, good try David.

I wonder if he and the royals are going to have any conversations surrounding England's failed attempt at securing a World Cup? 

Nah ... that would have to be breaking protocol of some type, no?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FIFA Accepting Applications

Media Info: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Media accreditation process for the Preliminary Draw launched

FIFA announces that the accreditation process for media representatives who intend to cover the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ opened via the FIFA Media Channel ( The deadline for accreditation applications is Friday, 13 May 2011.

Thereafter, the applicant’s information will be subject to a review process by FIFA and the Local Organising Committee. Applicants will be notified by e-mail as of mid-May 2011 if their accreditation requests were successful. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the Ghana FA.

Kicking Back's comments: This one is just too tempting to pass up. KB just might have to "turn pro" to get the inside scoop on this one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let the games begin ... again

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying To Begin June 3

NEW YORK - The 10 lowest CONCACAF teams in the FIFA rankings will face off in two-leg series June 3 and June 7, beginning the region's qualifying process for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA announced on Tuesday the five preliminary round matchups, which is part of a proposal by the CONCACAF Executive Committee still pending full approval from FIFA that includes three group phases. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stop, Drop, and Roll

So last week Jr. had an indoor soccer match and I saw something that gave me a great moment to reflect that I wanted to share.

Often referees pride themselves in the use of “advantage”, as when it is applied correctly, it can be a beautiful thing. When it is applied poorly however, it can lead to horrible results. This brief escapade is about the latter.

In the second half of a match, with the score within a goal, a teammate of Jr.’s was hit with a shot in the head, and went down in a lump crying, with Jr.’s team retaining the ball. Approximately 15 seconds later, Jr.’s team scored a goal.

After the goal, the coach of Jr.’s team rushed out to tend to the player and I, as the dutiful assistant, readied a substitute. After some inspection, Jr.’s teammate was not badly hurt, but was visibly shaken and had a “mouse” under his left eye to show for his tangle with the ball.

While happy that a player was not hurt, I was also very unhappy about the referee letting the play go on with a player, any player, a U-10 player, lying in a lump holding his head from an obvious injury.

As I tended to the players injuries, I found myself in some conflict.

Early on in my career I had done the same thing on several occasions. I made the choice that a player’s injury was not severe enough to warrant stopping the match for them. After all, this is right in the LOTG in Law 5. Right?

Yes it is in the LOTG, but age and experience has taught me a couple of things.

First, allowing play to continue while a player is injured in NOT invoking the advantage clause. It is simply not stopping play. The advantage clause is specifically used when a foul is committed, and by the referee stopping play they will give an advantage to the team that committed the foul. In such a case, invoking the advantage clause is an appropriate thing to do. In fact, with somewhat recent law changes, if the advantage does not materialize, the referee can even reverse themselves and stop play to give the foul.

Second, players’ safety needs to come first always. That is for full international matches all the way down to U-10 local leagues. If the players do not believe they are safe, they will take matters into their own hands to protect themselves and their interests. Now, that pendulum swings based on things like age, competition, level of play, and referee ability.

A referee should be more apt to stop play immediately for young players that have sustained an obvious injury in a vital area, such as their head. Conversely, a referee should be more apt to allow play to continue for experienced players (not older necessarily) that have sustained a minor injury in a non-vital area, such as an ankle.

In that middle ground, this may not be so easy to judge. It is also always important to remember that generally referees are not Medical Doctors, and even if they are, they cannot effectively discharge both duties simultaneously. In all cases however, err on the side of safety, and you as referee cannot be legitimately criticized for keeping the welfare of the players first.

Without the players, there is no game, and for a referee to be as prideful as to desire a great call, over the safety of the players can, and does, lead to disaster. If there is doubt, stop the play, everyone will (eventually) thank you for it, especially the injured player who needed the help.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Upgrade Kudos

As we have done here in the past, I would like to congratulate Tim Likosky, who has recently been upgraded to Grade 7 (Referee 1st Class).

Well done!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Programming Note

Dear followers of Kicking Back:
Over the next few days I am going to be traveling and "unplugged." During that time I do not have any posts "in the can" ready to go, and will not be near any place that I will be able to post. Please do however browse the archives on the right of your screen as they now have about 1 year (yipes) of content behind them.

As always, JAFO and Nigel may jump in and sprinkle their wisdom on the topic du jour, however will be engaged no doubt in their own right. I will enjoy reading any posts should they do so, on my return.

Good week to all, and thanks for reading.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beantown Boys at it again

U.S. investors make history with Roma takeover; Milan extend lead

(CNN) -- AS Roma became the first Italian soccer club to be owned by foreign investors on Saturday when an American group completed its takeover of the Serie A side.

The consortium is headed by Thomas DiBenedetto, a partner of the New England Sports Ventures group which owns English club Liverpool and U.S. baseball team the Boston Red Sox. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of CNN.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

After the batteries die

Ah, the good old days. I remember a time when soccer was played with the most minimal equipment. In fact, that is the primary reason for its world-wide success: you can play it anywhere with nothing but a small object that serves as a ball. It did not have to be a ball either, it could be something as simple as a ball of rags or small stone, or a stuffed leather pouch as was commonly used over two millennia ago in Asia when the game was taking shape. In medieval times they used a human head as the ball. No shoes; no shinguards: no problem!

OK, so maybe I do not personally remember using a human head as a ball, but I certainly remember the time before shinguards became mandatory. In my early days, I played goalkeeper without them, and even without gloves. The only item of "protective" gear I wore was a soft knit hat on my head, and that was to keep my ears from freezing in the cold weather. (Later, FIFA outlawed them because players were using them as a helmet of sorts, and playing too aggressively. I have to admit that I did take to wearing the hat on some very warm days too for that reason.)

Now things are different. We need equipment. And for the referees, we need even more equipment than the players! How could that be?! From the flipping coin to the final whistle, we are handling equipment that we can do without. If you truly are a student of the game's history, you may realize that none of this stuff was necessary in the beginning. Red and yellow cards were only developed a scant 50 years ago. Even the indispensible whistle has only been around for a little more than a century. How was it that this game was played for over 2000 years without a whistle!!

We are now entering the era of spray paint and the battery-operated device. Beepers flags and wireless radios are tools of any well-equipped professional referee, and no doubt coming to a field near you. Will goal-line lasers or balls embedded with micro-chips be far behind?

Is this a good thing for our game? Is it no longer possible for an officiating crew to manage a game without electronic tools to communicate with each other? And if this is such a good idea, should the players also wear them so they can also talk to each other and receive real-time instruction from their coaches?

Don't get me wrong - I think some of the new equipment is good for the game. Certainly the use of a standard sized air-filled sphere instead of a human head made for more accurate passing. As for most of the rest of the advancements since then, I am not so sure.

And when it comes to refereeing, I lament the encroachment of technology. It is a simple game, certainly we can manage it as such. Sure, there may be an occasional mistake by the refereeing crew, but isn't that a part of the game? Don't the players make mistakes too? Aren't humans flawed and don't we celebrate that? Isn't that why a game is played in the first place?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

FIFA committee takes over Bosnia federation

GENEVA — FIFA on Tuesday set up a committee to take over the running of Bosnian football and resolve rifts that led to Bosnia Hercegovina's suspension from international football this month.

The six strong normalisation committee will immediately cut off the old tripatrite leadership by May 26 and reform the country's football federation by the end of November, world football's governing body said in a statement.

FIFA and European governing body UEFA suspended Bosnia Hercegovina from international and European football on April 1 after the country's federation (NSBIH) failed to adopt statutes that would lead to a single-member presidency. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of AFP via Google.

Kicking Back's Comments:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FIFA 12 In Development

Screenshot courtesy of EA Sports
For all you virtual players, EA has just released a screenshot of FIFA 12.

Not much to see yet, but it is on the street that EA's focus is on set pieces, grass, and stars like Kaka.

Release date would seem to be set around early Q4 2011 ... no doubt in time for Christmas.

You can see what EA is trying to improve on with FIFA 11. Also, take a look at an incredibly detailed analysis and wish list from blogcritics, here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Not surprised in the least

FIFA's Jack Warner Accused of Seeking England World Cup Bid Favours

(WFI) The leaders of England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup were asked by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to pay for an education centre in his native Trinidad during the bid process.

The Times newspaper alleges that Warner twice asked England’s World Cup bid leaders about funding for facilities on the island, in London in October 2009 and again while a high-profile delegation visited Trinidad at the time of a Caribbean Football Union dinner last February. ...

See the whole story here, from World Football Insider.

Kicking Back comments: Representing CONCACAF with style since 1983. For the record, I'll take Chuck Blazer any day of the week and twice on Sunday over Jack Warner.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another country heard from

Nowak’s referee plea goes beyond crying foul

CHESTER — It’s unusual for a coach to select a match in the first month of the season as his team’s measuring stick, an indicator of future fortunes, a forecaster of what is to come.

But that’s what Saturday represents for the Union according to manager Peter Nowak.

Nowak wants to ensure that the Union’s meeting with New York is a flawless one — from the points that his players control to those out of their hands.

“Soccer is a funny game,” Nowak said, “because there’s always something to complain about.”

By the time the Union take the pitch at PPL Park Saturday afternoon against the Red Bulls, Major League Soccer officials already will have received at least one letter from Nowak. He did the same a year ago — on a number of occasions, no less. The reason? Nowak is dissatisfied.

From what Nowak has seen during the MLS season, and Wednesday night in the Union’s U.S. Open Cup defeat, the officiating has been lackluster. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of the Daily Times.

Kicking Back Comments: While I have not seen the letters to MLS, I can only hope Piotr included some constructive points, and just simply just did not witch about how poor the officiating is. A very talented player and coach, but from my personal experience may not be the best one to dole out advice on high level referees. I hope times have changed and there is more substance than comments about how he believes a referee was "over his head."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Looks like refereeing is not the only "boys club" in soccer

Early in February I ran a short series of posts commenting on the state of refereeing in the US as it related to women ... or the lack thereof. One such notable post can be found at: Neil Buethe Speaks on women referees at the professional level.

It would seem this is not a problem that only refereeing has in the US. Take a look at the Soccer America piece, 'Coaching still a boys club,' says Vardar's Miriam Hickey. In it Hickey briefly details why in her opinion that is true. I wonder if those same reasons translate to refereeing?

She makes another interesting observation as well. From the article:

SA: Why is American youth soccer so much more expensive than in other countries, such as the Netherlands?

MIRIAM HICKEY: Only the professional clubs and top amateur clubs have professional staff. Everybody else can do with volunteers, but the sport has been there for a 150 years. In my family everybody played. My uncles, my father, my grandfather. That’s how it is in every family. So you have knowledgeable people directing the sport and so you don’t spend a whole lot.

The fields are city fields, and you don’t have to pay for them. There’s only one association that leads all the different leagues. So you have a really good pyramid going from 4-year-olds to 60-year-olds. And, of course, it’s a smaller country.

This comment was telling for me and led me to a question. How rich is our soccer heritage here in the US? Most folks who want to get involved (bless them) generally have never played the game before. Makes me a little scared as I get ready to open another youth season this Saturday.

I channel those newer referees who have played their whole life, getting yelled at by parents who have never kicked a ball before. What's wrong with that picture?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Some words from the wise as our season opens


Peter C. Johnson
State Referee Instructor
Assistant State Director of  Instruction

The unwritten Law 18 Common Sense is a very important part officiating.  However Safety is the most important part of what we do.  Not just at the youth level but at all age groups adjusted accordingly.

Referees should arrive in plenty of time to inspect the field, goals, flags, and markings for accuracy and safety.  No part of the field surface or the goals and flag posts may be dangerous to the players.  If the field conditions are dangerous or unsuitable for play, the referee must refuse to officiate the game and, unless there is a possibility that the problem can be corrected, should leave immediately after announcing his decision to both sides. Unresolved problems with the field that do not involve safety should be included in your report, even if the game is played.
The goals MUST be securely anchored to the ground. For safety reasons, if the goals are not securely anchored to the ground, the match shall not be played.
The corner flags and the optional halfway flags shall be no less than 5 feet high; anything shorter is dangerous to the players.  If used, the optional halfway flag  must be at least 1 yard outside the touch line. Cones shall NOT be used THEY ARE DANGEROUS in an effort to assist the referees discs may be used if suitable flags are not available. If flexible corner flags are being used and due to wind or age of said corner flags they bend into the field of play or in any direction that could affect a player safety they should not be used. (Due to the fact that they are no longer 5 ‘ high and therefore do not meet the standards of the law.) Players, coaches, spectator etc, are not allowed to remove, bend, or touch the flags.

Law III Players (Goalkeeper) Safety – The referee must be vigilant with respect to the safety of the youth goalkeeper.  Call any infringement of the law 12 that is clearly against the letter of the law.  If a young goalkeeper is stretched out with face and vital organs exposed we must protect them.  Protection is clearly an age related concept.  The younger the player the more we protect.  Error on the side of safety and if in the case of an older goalkeeper, they let you know they did not need your protection and are upset with having to put the ball in play with a free kick, adjust yourself accordingly.

Law IV- Players wearing of equipment, which is dangerous to other players, or to themselves, shall not be eligible to participate in any game.
Equipment which shall be considered dangerous includes, but is not limited to the following:

a.   Any rigid or semi-rigid cast or splint, apparently designed to immobilize or protect a joint or limb segment, regardless of padding, of said cast or splint.
b.   Hair control devices which are elastic, flexible, and soft should be allowed.
Devices which are made of hard, sharp, edged, or breakable materials are not safe and may not be worn, regardless of any coverings.  Beads or other similar decorative devices woven into or affixed on the hair are inherently dangerous and are not allowed.
c.   Earrings of any kind, including post earrings, regardless of coverings.
d.  Jewelry of any sort.  (Religious medals or medical tags may be taped to body)
e.   Joint braces or supports, apparently designed to permit flexion motion of a joint in  one or more planes, and to support that joint or restrict motion of that joint in other planes, are generally acceptable.  Joint braces or supports, which have exposed hinges, buckles, buttons, zippers, etc., may be dangerous. These devices, if taped or padded, may be acceptable, if they are no longer inherently dangerous to another player, in the judgment of the referee.
f.   Hats or other headgear…the brim (hard bill) of a common baseball cap is not considered to meet the requirement of soft and pliable material. (It is dangerous if not soft). Other soft protective headgear, shall be acceptable for the goalkeeper, if not inherently dangerous to another player, in the judgment of the Referee
Head Injuries: Play shall be stopped immediately. Whenever a player's head is injured -- regardless of whether the collision was with an opponent, a teammate, or an object on the field such as a goal post -- the safety of that player is of prime concern. There is no higher priority.
Other injuries:  Law 5 under “Power of the referee” states:”the referee stops the match for serious injuries and allows play to continue for minor injuries”.  It is the official policy of the State Director of Instruction that in all youth league play, U-12 and below, all injuries are serious, and play shall be stopped. The restart will be a dropped ball at the location of the ball when the referee stopped play for the injury, unless play was previously stopped and then the restart shall be the appropriate one for the stoppage.

With safety in mind we must consider the “Advantage Clause” of Law 12. Using the logic from above the referee shall call all non-trifling fouls in all youth league play, U-12 and below, and award the appropriate free-kick restart. We must ignore complaints of “We had the ball” or “That’s Advantage” deferring to safety for the younger player.
1. Lightning
a. Recognizing the threat
(1) Apply the 30-30 rule
When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. If you can't see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule. Wait 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder before leaving shelter.
 (2) Minimize the risk of being struck
Protect the safety of all participants by stopping game activities quickly, so that participants and spectators may retire to a safer place before the lightning threat becomes significant.  Remember, if you can hear the thunder, you are within reach of lightning.
b. Seeking proper shelter
(1) No place outside is safe near thunderstorms
(2) The best shelter is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. A vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice.
c. If there is no proper shelter, avoid the most dangerous locations: Higher elevations; wide open areas, including fields; tall isolated objects, such as trees, poles, or light posts; unprotected open buildings; rain shelters; bus stops; metal fences and metal bleachers.
d. If you cannot avoid these locations, crouch down on the balls of your feet, with your head tucked into your chest and your hands over your ears.  If someone is hit, remember that all deaths from lightning result from cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, respectively, are the recommended first aid. Referees should become involved in such assistance only if they have proper training.
e. Remain calm. A calm official will often be able to prevent panic by young players.
2. Other types of severe weather
For all other types of severe storms, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and hail, obey local rules and
heed warnings.  Clear the field and seek proper shelter immediately – see above. Remember, according to standard weather warning terminology a "warning" represents a more immediately likely occurrence than a "watch."


* Excerpted from: Advice to Referees, Colorado Safety Guidelines, USSF Position papers and Points of Emphasis, and former SDI Ed Rae.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another investigation into FIFA's actions

Fifa faces investigation into Burma business deal

Fifa is the subject of an investigation by the Swiss state authorities over allegations that its financial dealings with Burma may have broken international sanctions.

The Myanmar Times, a newspaper in the pocket of Burma's junta, is said to have reported last December that the construction firm Max Myanmar has been contracted to build a stadium that Fifa funds will help to pay for. ...

See the complete story here, courtesy of

Thursday, April 7, 2011

LeBron James Part Owner of Liverpool FC?

No folks it is not a mis-print.
The deal between Mr. James and Fenway Sports Group will give Mr. James a minority interest in the soccer club Liverpool, which FSG owns. FSG, which also owns the Boston Red Sox, is partnering with Mr. James's sports-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive world-wide representative for Mr. James.
See the full article "LeBron James, Fenway in Deal" courtesy of the WSJ for all the details.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A walk in the Garden(er)

The other day I ran across Paul Gardner's articles in Soccer America regarding refereeing in MLS and the points of emphasis for the 2011 season. Both are worth a read and are noted here:

Will refs respond to Garber's sensible request?

MLS: No change, despite Garber's Plea

While I would disagree about Mr. Gardner's characterization of referees in several points he makes (e.g. referees are slow to change ... quite an analysis after one whole week in the 2011 season) there is an excellent point that shines through, albeit not directly.

That point is how symbiotic the relationship is between the referees and the success of THE game in the US. Now one relationship that was not explored, and in fact dismissed outright is the relationship between the referee and the players. From the article:
If there's one thing that MLS referees could be told not to do, it is to administer these little disciplinary chats, complete with the exaggerated arm gestures intended to make a feeble referee look tough. If it’s a foul, call it. If it’s a yellow card, give it. The same with a red. There is no need for explanations or any words at all. The players know the rules ... or they are supposed to. If they don’t, that is their problem.
There are a couple of assumptions in here that are just wrong headed IMHO. First, is that players understand the LOTG. They don't. They do not spend the time understanding them to the level we as referees do, if at all. They are players, not referees, and to actually think that most players understand, even at the MLS level, understand the nuances of THE game is just silly. I can tell you from direct experience, many, if not most, do not.

Second, to just "steamroll" over players and stop talking or just issue cautions and send offs is also wrong headed. Matches need to be managed, especially at this level, not just fouls whistled and misconduct issued. Can you imagine the frustration level of the players if that occurred? It is a very basic desire to understand why something has occurred.

Now, for where Mr. Gardner goes wrong, he also goes right. There is recognition that the onus is on the players, and also on Mr. Garber. He also correctly recognized that the players and referees and outside the reach of the Commish as well. This presents the fundamental challenge for MLS and it is the same as it has always been in the US ...

How do you make THE game more attractive for the US audience. This is complicated as Mr. Garber has no direct "levers to pull" to accomplish this. Any change is through influence only. Case in point is the MLS memo to referees about points of emphasis for 2011.

Let's face it, that memo is stuff that FIFA has been working on for years. Yes, the referees are a large part of that and need to enforce these points. It is not only their burden however, it is the players as well.

On that point Mr. Gardner and I strongly agree.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All for one?

File this one under unresolved.

Just the other day I received a survey request from Teresa Smith who serves as a rules administrator for the NCAA (for soccer and a number of other sports). The survey was interesting, asking about various modification the NCAA would seem to be considering. These included:
  • Limiting time for a throw-in.
  • When players would shake hands.
  • Use of noise makers.
  • Excessive celebration of a gaol, and
  • Time keeping if a caution is issued in the final 5 minutes.
My question is twofold.

First, why the exceptions to the LTOG? FIFA's LOTG deal with all of these things either explicitly or implicitly, and in fact allow the referee some discretion in how to handle them in many cases. While part of me wants to say that the NCAA is considering these rule changes to help referees, I actually believe that changes like this hurt referees as it requires referees to act in all of the above situations without any latitude to understand the situation. It turns a thoughtful moment into a "just do it" moment. Why not let the referees just referee? We say that a lot with players ... let them play. Well please, just let me referee.

Second, why not harmonize on FIFA's LOTG? This is a twist of the above question, but would make things easier for referees to be sure. I used to carry a matrix around from season to season that would enumerate the differences so I did not blow a restart doing a high school or college match. Why not make it easy on everyone? Players, coaches, and referees alike. Go ahead and wear the NCAA patch, but use the same rules.

Granted, there are times when the LOTG need to be modified for various reasons such as age of the players. Changes could include goal size, ball size, field size, periods of play, etc.. High school and college players are entering or are in the prime of their career, why are any modification needed at all?

To help the referee I think is part of it. To be distinct from FIFA as an organization I believe is another. The latter if true, may once again demonstrate a business element creeping into THE game and having the potential for a harmful result.

Just an opinion ... what are yours?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Every Referee Needs This

Every once is a while I still "get out there" and play THE game.

A few nights ago I found all my equipment and participated in a 2 hour, indoor, marathon game, in a league affectionately known as O.A.F., which stands for Old And Fat, both of which I qualify for. It is a fun series of pick up games for folks in the surrounding towns that like to get out and kick a ball around every now and then. Generally comprised of 30, 40, and 50 somethings, the play is fairly skilled and very well behaved. So it is truly a "friendly" game.

I'll be honest, it has been going on (4) years since I touched the ball in a match situation, basically since I started law school. Let's just say my first few shifts were not pretty, and the later ones while better, were not exactly stellar either.

Waking up the next morning and lying in bed, as I was not able to move at all because I was so sore, I reflected on something.

I recalled how very critical it is to have empathy as a referee. There are times when players are going to appeal to you for no reason at all and try to pull the wool over your eyes. There are times however, the majority of times, that players are going to get legitimately fouled, and you know what, it can f+($#ing hurt, a lot, as I again rediscovered the other night!

While a referee needs to stay impartial to objectively determine if, or if not, some event has occurred that requires intervention, a referee will garner more respect from the players if he can show empathy for a situation. Just remember objective does not mean aloof.

Asking questions like, "Are you okay?", or "Do you need the trainer?", are not out of bounds. They show compassion for what is going on. How many times have we been faced with a skilled player who gets fouled again, and again, and again, and after getting so frustrated at being fouled so many times they lash out at the referee for failing to call fouls? What did you do as a referee? Did you caution the skilled player for dissent? Did you speak with them to seek to understand? Or did you have the empathy to "feel" what was happening (and the refereeing vision) and caution the player making sure the star was not able to show their skills?

I would opine being empathetic to both players situations is key. Understanding the star is getting beat up and frustrated by not being able to show his skill, and the defender is there to stop the star at almost any cost will add clarity to what a referee has to do. When you then deal with the situation, you demonstrate your understanding of what is going on to all. While disagreements will occur about the action you take, you will garner the respect of ALL the players involved because you have made the effort to understand why they are there.

You may be surprised too, empathy is a two way street. It is not unheard of for a player to approach a referee during or after a match and offer words of support when the players know they are not making it easy on you that day.

A referee is not just a neutral observer, they are an active participant in THE game. Don't forget to be there.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This one is not a joke

Warner in new World Cup 'ticket scandal'

Sepp Blatter will meet the new Football Association chairman, David Bernstein, tomorrow, to try to secure England's vote for the Fifa presidency, but his visit has come at the worst time in terms of his efforts to clean up the game. Yesterday, fresh claims emerged over the controversial Fifa vice-president Jack Warner's alleged involvement in a World Cup ticket scandal. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Independent.

Kicking Back Comments: This does not help Blatter in his FIFA presidency run. This is now the second time Warner has been caught in a World Cup ticket scandal. First time was back in 2006 when he was reprimanded by FIFA. Glad to see Jack's continuing commitment to rid the world game of corruption.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fooled you again?

As many of you no doubt noted yesterday (especially if you read my comment) I was having a little fun with folks on April Fool's Day ... which I consider a national holiday =)

Well I certainly was not the only one having some fun, just take a look at this one:

Fifa to allow Frank Lampard's World Cup goal for England v Germany as part of new 'retroactive goal-line technology' review system

Just great stuff from

Friday, April 1, 2011

Is Qatar Losing the World Cup in 2022?

Sounds crazy huh?

Well at least one person out there thinks this can happen based on the FIFA presidential fight. One may think that the US would be a pretty viable alternative to Qatar, yes?

No, says this article stating ... and you'll love this:
As the second-placed bid behind Qatar, the United States was the logical option, but talks with the USSF “were not able to progress beyond a preliminary level.” It is understood that political considerations were key: given the current tension between the US and the Arab world, the country could ill afford to be seen to be taking a World Cup from a Middle Eastern nation.
If true, I don't know which part make me angrier, the fact that we didn't even consider trying to grab success from the jaws of epic defeat, or the folks in Chicago are making geopolitical decisions passing judgment on the big bad US (my sarcastic words) "taking" something else from "a Middle Eastern nation." Come on folks, at times US Soccer seems to have difficulty managing itself, ceding much of its perceived authority to the individual state associations, and (again if the story is true) is tying to play state department and casting judgment about what is going on over in the Middle East and translating it into not trying for the World Cup ... please. Why did we even try in the first place then knowing we were bidding against Qatar?

Australia seems to have no such hangups and with their support of Blatter, may indeed see that tournament in 2022.

We will see how much the story is fact or fiction in the days ahead, but it sounds like at FIFA it is politics as usual, and US Soccer is all to happy to sit on the sidelines.

I guess there is always 2026 ... what's 15 years, right?
For those who are not paying attention at US Soccer ... it is a lifetime.

See the full story, Australia to get 2022 World Cup, FIFA descends into chaos courtesy of The Roar.