Saturday, March 31, 2012

Great Story from NRAH

A lesson for a coach

One of my favorite stories in my new book took on surprising relevance recently.  First here's the story:

Ali, aged 14, looked like Li’l Orphan Annie. Short, with a head full of curly red hair and freckles, she was refereeing a game of 12-year-old players. One of the coaches, a large middle-aged man, was persis­tently and angrily yelling from the sidelines about the calls she was making.

She calmly walked over to the coach, looked up at him and said, “Don’t you think you are taking this a bit too seriously?” ...

See the whole story here, from Paul Levy at Not Running A Hospital.

Kicking Back Comments: A great read, and a worthy lesson for us all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Frosty Firing Line

Special thanks to Elie for bringing this one forward.

Is this enough to abandon?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Well ... it did last two whole weeks ... right?

FIFA blows whistle on match-fixing hotline

MANCHESTER: FIFA president Sepp Blatter halted a whistle-blowing programme designed to help root out match-fixing in soccer before it could even start to work, FIFA's outgoing head of security said on Wednesday.

The plan to grant anonymity and protection to players and officials targeted by illegal gambling groups was announced amid great fanfare by world soccer's ruling body last September.

It was quietly put on ice two weeks later when Blatter decided to integrate it into broader efforts to clean up governance at FIFA, which has been dogged by allegations of corruption over the awards of World Cups to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 and its own election process. ...

See the whole story here, from the Times of India.

Kicking Back Comments: It's almost too easy sometimes. This is one of those cases to me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good for the US?

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the US was eliminated from Olympic qualifying the other day by El Salvador.

Is this a good thing for the US?

I would say yes ... but not for the disarray and disappointment the players were left with, it is for the US referees looking to go to England this summer.

As you can imagine, when it comes time to select tournament referees, aside form the European bias such tournaments have in selecting their referees, US referees I would think would do fine as the country now does not have a "dog in the hunt" courtesy of last nights result.

Lemonade from lemons, maybe. But also a very real fact of tournaments like this.

We'll see what happens this summer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tough Report, but Will FIFA Listen?

FIFA to get 'tough' report on corruption

The anti-corruption expert appointed by FIFA to advise on modernizing reforms and repairing its scandal-hit reputation promises a ''tough'' report to soccer's governing body.

Mark Pieth told the Associated Press that FIFA President Sepp Blatter's executive committee would be wise to accept ''most everything'' when the proposals are presented Friday. The Swiss law professor's 13-member panel includes soccer officials, sponsors and experts in clean government.

''It's going to be pretty tough. There are a few issues that will need heavy negotiation,'' Pieth said in an interview at his University of Basel office. ''If they are wise, they will pick up most everything that is put before them.'' ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of fox

Kicking Back Comments: Here is another shining example if FIFA is paying attention to get a "get out of free" (almost) jail card. FIFA summarily rejected this previously from an outside source, but if they take it seriously this time, really seriously this time, they may be able to make some headway.

Even the interim report made sense for some things like, get outsiders, and, replace the old guard (to paraphrase).

This full report is due out on Friday and I hope they publish it as I look forward to see if FIFA is willing to "eat its own dog food."

Any bets?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blame Kicking Back Junior, Not Me

Junior has turned me onto "Annoying Orange," a sample of which, in a World Cup theme is below.

In other adventures you can see Pear, Passion, and Marshmallow. These characters along with Orange pretty much sum up my family life.

All I can say is, I am not Orange.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

10 Year Old Arrested ... Did they get the right person?

So as a follow up to the gruesome youth soccer event that took place in Hong Kong, "Yeah, they are 11 years old", we have a follow up courtesy of a couple of loyal readers. Special thanks to Dr. Rice and an International AR to be soon named.

Based on the article "Hong Kong 10-year-old arrested after violent youth soccer foul", it would seem the HK police have got their "man", but the question I have is, do they have the person to blame?

In my opinion that answer is no.

I base that not on American law where an infancy defense may be available (see here, or more generally the rule of 7's in both criminal and tort law), but on the more common sense notion that a 10 year old does not get these ideas sua sponte, or at least, not in isolation.

My question is, why isn't the ESF coach getting hauled in as well? To me, he is just as, if not more culpable, than the 10 year old boy he was coaching. Here's why.

Take a look at the whole clip starting about :36. Who commits the first (2) nasty fouls?

The #2 player for blue, yes?

Who commits the kick to the head? The #2 player for blue.

So lets say for argument sake that #2 blue was doing this stuff with intent and he was doing in of his own volition.

Why oh why didn't the coach pull him off after foul 1 ... how about 2? Both were nasty and should have stood out, right? After all the parents were so upset they came into the field to make it known how nasty these fouls were, right?

So either the coach was oblivious, like on Mars oblivious, or wanted it to go on.

I don't think he was oblivious. These players were skilled enough at a young enough age to make it clear to me there were trained well.

Still don't believe me? Take a look at 1:20 of the video with blue #3. He fouls and opponent, is not touched, and on the referee whistle, holds his eye like he was hit.

These kids are well coached ... I should say, professionally coached. There is nothing good about this coaching.

Based on the video evidence, these tackles were intentional, and I believe the ESF coach taught it, or at the very least, condoned it.

If he was truly concerned, the ESF coach should have pulled the offending players off, and sat them down until they calmed down.

In my opinion the ESF coach is the one who should be up in front of a magistrate. Instead the coward is letting a 10 year old boy take the rap.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If only FIFA had these b@ll$

Saints Coach Suspended for Season Over Bounties

Meting out unprecedented punishment for a crush-for-cash bounty system that targeted key opposing players, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton without pay for next season and indefinitely banned the team's former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

Payton is the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason, accused of trying to cover up a system of extra cash payouts that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday called "particularly unusual and egregious" and "totally unacceptable." ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ABC News.

Kicking Back Comments: Top marks for Roger Goodell! Imagine, just imagine, if FIFA has this courage to deal with its corruption issues. You could almost watch the sea part if Sepp had the gumption.

Heavy handed? Maybe.

Message sending? Definitely!

You can bet that all the other teams in the NFL who likely did this, and have any form of tangible evidence are shredding it as we speak here.

Imagine ... just imagine The Game without corruption.

You know, this works for on the field stuff too. If a player presents you with a gift wrapped opportunity to send an appropriate message to all the other players (an example may be for a hard challenge), by all means send the message (however you see fit).

At the end of your match, I'd bet that you would see less issues if you handle the first one with sufficient emphasis.

"The Commish" did here, and the game he presides over will be the better for it in the immediate and long term.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Now THIS is more like it

U.S. Soccer, MLS Create Professional Referee Organization to Manage Soccer Officials in the United States

The U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer announced today the formation of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), an organization that will be responsible for managing the referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.

CHICAGO (March 6, 2012) – The U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer announced today the formation of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), an organization that will be responsible for managing the referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.

The creation of PRO is designed to increase the quality of officiating in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues, develop more professional quality officials at a younger age and develop officials who will represent the United States and Canada in FIFA competitions. ...

See the whole article here, from US Soccer.

Kicking Back Comments: Here we go folks! NOW we are cooking with gas!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Nitwit to the North

Raising the bar for MLS referees

Admission of the problem is the first step to a cure. In the glass half full world of Major League Soccer, there are never really problems - only initiatives.

MLS, however, has a problem which needs fixing. Like anything worthwhile, it cannot be done overnight but the League wants it known a serious initiative is being launched to tackle the situation.

At the dawn of a brand new season, there's a new franchise in Montreal, a new stadium in Houston and a new broadcast partner across the United States. MLS continues to toot its horn on a range of issues from improved standard of play to the growing visibility of the sport in North America. ...

See the whole page of drivel here, from

Kicking Back Comments: So I read this article, and you know what I got out of it?

A headache.

I'm not sure what is was. Either the snotty tone Reed takes mocking MLS for its "initiates," or "complimenting" the league for recognizing it has a "problem" (which Reed does not define), or his clear inexperience understanding what he is commenting about.

It would have been great to detail Mr. Walton's appointment and maybe do some research about what prompted it from the PRO or MLS perspective. How about some thoughts, some specific thoughts about what needs to be adjusted, and in some cases just plain 'ole fixed in the refereeing ranks.

[I'll give you a hint Mr. Reed ... consider making the referees salaried professionals ... and pay them.]

Nope. Just a fluffy piece back-handly mocking the work that has gone into where we are now with MLS, and asking the self serving question ... Gee will it be fixed now?

Who wants to bet this will be followed sometime mid-MLS season with a "Well I guess it's not working ..." piece?

I've read some of his other stuff and it's pretty good I think. I just don't understand why the wheels come off the journalistic cart when discussing referees.

Then again, in looking at his experience, he has watched a lot of The Game, and to nearly all, that qualifies them to understand the nuances of professional league refereeing, and comment openly about their "problems."

Reed gives us an "out" however in his closing statement that referees don't make the rules, they just enforce them.

If the comment in isolation does not scream "nitwit" (to The Game), I don't know what does. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

iWhat? No silly ... ITIP.

So as I write this, I have just finished up an intense class becoming a US Soccer referee instructor.

I'll be honest folks, it is a bit head spinning and intimidating.

You would think that after a lifetime of being on a field with refereeing and assessing matches I would know what to expect or how to teach referees the same, right?


I was blown away with the preparation, detail, and methodology required to pull off even the (relatively) simplest teaching topics.

After presenting several times and critiquing others doing the same I can say that I have not even scratched the surface, and find myself back at square one on the learning curve.

The method itself is called ITIP, and is described here, in Madeline Hunter's materials, and can also be found here at the US Soccer website.

This is worth a look to any referee who attends a recertification to begin to appreciate the work that is placed into how instructors do what they do so well ... to teach.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yeah, they are 11 years old

Paul Levy in "On the pitch, we can all do better than this" brought this video to our attention. I find it grotesque.

11 Year old players do not know how to foul like this. It is taught, and is pathetic.

While it can be difficult for a young referee (of any age) to get their head around this, it can happen, so be ready.

Our season start in (2) weeks in this part of the world ... are we ready as referees to deal with THIS, should it arise?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Don't think he should have apologized

Sir Dave Richards rant 'unfortunate', warns Britain's Fifa executive

• Richards attacked Fifa then fell into a water feature
• Jim Boyce says the outburst may open 'old sores'

Britain's Fifa vice-president, Jim Boyce, says he will try to limit any damage caused by Sir Dave Richards's "unfortunate" attack on Fifa and Uefa for "stealing" football from the English.

Richards, speaking at a security conference in Doha on Wednesday,also criticised China for claiming to have invented football, and told his hosts they had their "heads in the sand" over alcohol restrictions at the Qatar World Cup in 2022. The Premier League and the FA quickly distanced themselves from the remarks. ...

See the whole story (and fountain diving incident) here, from The Guardian.

Kicking Back Comments: While I understand why Sir Dave apologized, I wish he had not as I believe he is right that FIFA has "stolen" The Game. Taken in context, he would seem to imply that FIFA is exploiting The Game for things other than the sake of The Game itself. To that I agree.

Also, the FA and UEFA members are cowards for quickly saying that Sir Dave was there "in a personal capacity", and did not represent either organization in an "official capacity."

Rubbish. Of course he was there "officially."

I give him credit for telling it like it is, and not kowtowing (bad pun I know given the argument of heritage with the Chinese) to the openly corrupt FIFA, and openly cowardly FA.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

FIFA Street is here!

EA Launches FIFA Street
By: Zacks Equity Research

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) recently released FIFA Street, the latest game from the FIFA Soccer franchise. The game captures the essence of “the beautiful game”, ala street style. The game can be played on Sony Corp.’s (SNE) PlayStation3 and Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) XBox 360.

FIFA Street, as the name implies, gives the gamers a chance to test their street football skills in 35 locations around the world with different modes (Panna Rules, Last Man Standing and World Tour story mode). The game won 9 points out of 10 by Official Xbox Magazine, which commended it by saying that FIFA Street is “setting the standard for all other sports games”. Meanwhile,PlayStation: The Official Magazine described the game as “chaotic, tense, and above all, super fun”.

EA SPORTS’ FIFA franchise has attained an almost cult status among soccer fans. Thus, the release of the latest version is not only going to amplify the present craze but also rake in the revenues for the company. Interestingly, more than 2.1 million gamers have downloaded the demo version of the game, making it the second-most downloaded demo. It is FIFA Soccer 12, also from EA SPORTS’ stable that currently holds the top rank in that list, according to Sony and Microsoft. ...

See the complete story here, at

Kicking Back Comments: I am looking forward to getting a hold of this one ... so is Jr.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another take on WC14 from Forbes

The Fall of Brazil's Corrupt Soccer King And The Rise of The Green Cup

The most powerful man in Brazilian soccer fell today after skirting decades of corruption charges. In the federal capital, two young men are chasing down a different kind of green.

Construction delays and corruption charges be damned – if Ian McKee and Vicente Mello have their way, World Cup 2014 will go down as the first Green Cup in history. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Forbes.

Kicking Back Comments: Brilliant or foolish? This one may go either way in the face of the nightmare that is the infrastructure of Brazil. I am certainly interested either way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Really sick ... or something else?

Ricardo Teixeira out as head of Brazilian soccer

SAO PAULO – Ricardo Teixeira resigned as head of the Brazilian soccer federation and the 2014 World Cup organizing committee on Monday after a contentious 23-year stint in charge of the sport in the country.

The announcement ends an era that mixed success on and off the field for Brazil, with allegations that Teixeira took kickbacks from former FIFA marketing partner ISL in the 1990s.

The 64-year-old Teixeira, one of the most powerful men in Brazil, went on medical leave last week. Now, the Brazilian federation said he was leaving for good to look after his health and be with his family. Last year, he was hospitalized because of an intestinal inflammation. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox News.

Kicking Back Comments: I feel for Teixeira as diverticulitis is no joke and from what I know, can be excruciatingly painful. That said, it may be a convenient excuse to exit stage left before FIFA opens a(nother) investigation into his activities as president of Brazilian soccer.

I will say this, FIFA is being more active in following through on corruption as again evidenced by the lost appeals of Amadou Diakite and Ahongalu Fusimalohi. While this came from CAS it would seem clear that FIFA is looking more actively at the scene.

Now, it has a long way to go, and while it has flicked a few boogers with some obviously corrupt members, it still needs an external board to look at Sepp and pals to get to the heart of the matter. I maintain that until that happens, FIFA is hopelessly tainted.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Don't Get Sucked In

At times referees are witness to very personal things within proximity of the soccer field. This is particularly true in youth soccer where parent/child and coach/child interactions are on full display.

Paul Levy in his blog post "How not to inspire" describes one such interaction between a parent and his daughter after a futsal match. It is a short read with a powerful lesson.

There is a lesson within the lesson however, and that is for a referee to not get involved in such situations. This may be hard, and frankly may not feel right to do, but it is necessary most of the time. There are of course exceptions when a player is in physical harm, or when the LOTG require intervention from the referee.

While some of us are trained professionals who are equipped to handle such situations as necessary, we can not reasonably discharge both duties at once and expect a good result. We get lambasted for dispensing refereeing decisions, imagine what would happen with these types of scenarios.

Let me be clear, I am not advocating leaving a child in peril, or anyone else for that matter, but leave parenting to the parents, coaching to the coaching, and medical care to the doctors. To do otherwise invites trouble that as referees we don't need.

Let me equally clear that I have not always taken my own advice, with mixed results. There are times that I have stuck my nose in and made things much better for all. I have inserted myself and made things much, much worse as well. So while my general rule is "don't get sucked in," like anything else in life, your mileage may vary if you just can't help yourself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A "Cooling Off" Period?

FIFA delays 2014 inspection trip to Brazil

ZURICH — FIFA has postponed a 2014 World Cup inspection trip to Brazil next week by its top administrator, who sparked anger there by criticizing delays in preparations.

The governing body says FIFA President Sepp Blatter will first visit Brazil and meet with President Dilma Rousseff. Blatter wrote to Rousseff on Friday, and has requested a meeting in Brazil next week.

FIFA says secretary general Jerome Valcke will resume his scheduled tour of 2014 host cities after the presidents meet. Valcke planned to join former Brazil playing greats Ronaldo and Bebeto in Recife, Brasilia and Cuiaba on the second of six tours this year. ...

See the whole article here, from CBS News.

Kicking Back Comments: I wonder if Sepp put Mr. Valcke in a "time out?"

Friday, March 9, 2012

That's an "A" in my book!

Referees winning the percentage game whatever managers and media say

A few years ago Jeff Winter, a familiar name for any students of refereeing demonology, released an autobiography, Who's the B*****d in the Black?, which contains a particularly enlightening passage about his last match at Anfield before retiring.

Winter reveals he deliberately played a bit of extra time, waiting until the ball was at the Kop end. Then, with everything in position, he blew his whistle. "The fans behind the goal burst into spontaneous applause. It was longer and louder than normal, even for a home win. Did they know it was my final visit? Was it applause for me? They are such knowledgeable football people it would not surprise me."

At the risk of bursting a few dreams, it is a fairly exceptional level of delusion judging by what we know of football's relationship with the referee and, specifically, the way fans tend to distrust them as their default setting. Managers are not much better and we journalists can be culpable, too, given the frequency we bring them up in press conferences, looking for a bite. Very little reasoning is applied sometimes when the blame can be redirected and the buck passed. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Guardian.

Kicking Back Comments: Brilliant!! Absolutely brilliant!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knock knock. Whose there? FIFA ....

FIFA team inspects World Cup stadiums in Brazil

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Amid concerns at delays in the preparation of stadiums in Brazil that will stage the 2014 World Cup, a FIFA team touring the Porto Alegre arena has been assured that renovation work will resume next week after an eight-month break.

"We are presenting all our infrastructure projects and we guarantee that work in the (Beira-Rio) arena will restart next week," Kalil Sehbe, the sports secretary in Rio Grande do Sul state, told local media.

Officials of Internacional, the football club that owns the stadium, said they were committed to signing a contract before next Tuesday with the Andrade Gutierrez conglomerate to resume the work. ...

See the complete story here, courtesy of AFP.

Kicking Back Comments: Coincidence? I think not based on the recent media kerfuffle.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Head scarfs and goal line technology look to be in

IFAB approve goal-line technology and hijab

By Mike Collett

BAGSHOT, England (Reuters) – Goal-line technology was approved in principle by the soccer’s lawmakers on Saturday and could be used for the first time at FIFA’s Club World Cup finals in Japan at the end of the year.

The eight-man International Football Association Board said that the technologies of two companies, Hawk-Eye from Britain and GoalRef, a German-Danish company, would be subject to further tests until a final decision was taken at a special IFAB meeting in Kiev on July 2. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: I admit to being mixed. I believe the hijab is a "no brainer" and one that should have been done long ago. Goal line technology, not so much.

Assuming these systems work ... and that is a big IF. Hawk-Eye will need another referee probably in a booth somewhere to determine goal/no goal, and Goalref that uses a special ball and magnetism to determine if a ball has crossed the line - shades of the Fox glow puck. How oh how are the LOTG going to be adapted with a "time out" to check if that is the case or not? That part will be interesting.

My last remaining question, if we adopt the technology route is, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? For the first time "the machine" makes a mistake ... and it will eventually ... where does that leave us?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brazil 2014? Are we sure?

Brazil And FIFA

By Justin Shaffer - SEATTLE, WA (Mar 5, 2012) US Soccer Players -- Over the weekend, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke triggered a very public back and forth with Brazil over the current state of readiness for the 2014 World Cup, going so far as to say that Brazil needed a “kick up the backside”. Valcke's statements touched on the slow pace of Brazil’s infrastructure improvements, stadium construction delays, and FIFA’s demands for changes in Brazilian laws.

“I don’t understand why things are not moving,” Valcke told reporters. “The stadiums are not on schedule any longer... and why are a lot of things late? The concern is nothing is made or prepared to receive so many people. I am sorry to say but things are not working in Brazil.”

Brazil’s sports minister, Aldo Rabelo, called Valcke’s comments “inappropriate, offensive, and unacceptable.” The ministry went on to say that a letter will be delivered on Monday to FIFA president Sepp Blatter informing him they will no longer deal with Valcke and asking that FIFA appoint a new representative.

Valcke hit back, calling Rabelo’s comments “juvenile” and accusing Rebelo of ignoring the issues at hand. Needless to say, this is not where FIFA expected to find itself in March of 2012. ...

See the whole story here, from

Kicking Back Comments: I question Mr. Valcke's credentials to be overseeing a project of this magnitude. You would think that someone who is responsible for organizing the WORLD CUP in a country would have some operational experience doing such, yes? Nope. Mr. Valcke is a sports journalist, then eventually became a CEO of a sports channel (source).

Apparently Brazil it thinking in a similar fashion based on the article "Jerome Valcke is a bum." That article is a bit more expressive in how some in the Brazilian government feel about Mr. Valcke and how they are insulted with his comments regarding the Brazilian people.

Hmmmm ... this one will be an interesting finish. I am curious to see if ego will rule and FIFA will force Mr. Valcke down the throat of the Brazilian government.

Is there a plan B? I ask that somewhat seriously as with natural disasters (like a year ago in Japan), what is the backup plan?

I say, bring it here =)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Referee for life?

I received this (really good) question a while back, and neglected to answer it at the time. Fortunately the author gave me another shot and asked again the other day. Special thanks to Steve from bringing this one forward. 

Here is the question:

I was wondering if at the international level ( and others too if different ) if referees are designated as either center or assistant ( or 4th )? Really trying to ask if the same referee will always be in the center or as an assistant or if individuals will take assignments at both position. For example I have seen countless matches with Howard Webb in the middle, but does he ever work the lines?

My answer ranges from "yes" as a matter of procedure at one end of the spectrum to "not always" in the middle to "yes" as a matter of practically at the other end of the spectrum. Let me explain.

US Soccer currently has (12) active grades in the US and several emeritus grades for referees who retire and keep their grade as an honorary title. A copy of the list can be found here, but the most current and complete list can be found in the Administrative Guide for referees at US Soccer.

If you look at that list there is no place where a position is noted except in Grades 2 and 1, International Assistant Referee, and International Referee respectively.

So plainly speaking, if you are wearing a FIFA badge, you must be performing that function commensurate to the badge you are wearing at the international level. If you are wearing a FIFA referee badge, you must be refereeing, or acting as alternate (4th) official. If you are wearing a FIFA AR badge, you must be running a line.

This does NOT mean that all a FIFA referee or AR will do forever is act as a referee or AR. Take a look at the last line on page (2) of the guide. It states:

*International Assistant Referees must wear the USSF National Referee badge when assigned as
referee in all matches.

FIFA AR's when they serve as referee at levels other than International, need to wear their National badge. Take note that FIFA referees need not do so when serving as an AR in other than International matches. It is my experience that these folks do "other" matches and in different positions from time to time.

So at one end of the spectrum, the international level, Referees and 4th are always that, and AR's are always that as well. At this point, at the MLS level each referee is on a path of either serving as a referee, or as AR in nearly all cases and at that point, it will rarely change.

Take great note that sometimes this path is not always the choice the individual would make, and at times bases itself in other more unconventional reasons beyond raw talent, ability and performance. These reasons could include age, space on a particular international list, geography, and yes, political savvy of a candidate, or their state association.

This was not always the case. It was only until the mid-90's that FIFA made this delineation between referee and AR, and one quite frankly I agree whole heatedly with. Being an AR is a specialty, and a really tough one. I personally was very lucky as when I was coming up the ranks and got to serve as 4th, AR, and referee in the MLS, eventually being asked to specialize as referee.

When you are asked to specialize that is all that you wind up doing generally. For example in my post Role Reversal, I opine about just how terrifying it was to pick up a flag of nearly a decade not doing so previously. Keep in mind though in the middle of the spectrum are amateur matches, and all referees will be asked to perform all duties at any time, so one will have solid experience to be able to perform in these other roles.

At the youth level, it is generally a mixed bag also, with an exception of just starting out. At that time I find that you will generally run lines to "get your feet wet" at local youth matches. This isn't a horrible thing as is gives a referee an opportunity to be a part of the game, without having the responsibility of match management yet.

There are several nuances to this, and a few funny stories too as this system was getting off the ground in the US, but hopefully this paints the general picture that one has to be competent in both disciplines through their career, but at the highest levels domestically and internationally, there is specialization.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You make the call ... tsunami version

So you think you know the LOTG? Check out below and test your skills.
Assume that the keeper is taking a goal kick and did not touch the ball as it enters the net.

Comment below with your opinion and reasoning.
I will follow up in a week or so with an explanation.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

TMT Episode 5: Fitness Part 3 of 5

Download it below, or at right from the iTunes Store.

Two Minute Tips: Surviving to Thriving on the Pitch

Friday, March 2, 2012

Billions in transfers for FIFA in 2011

FIFA processes $3B in player transfers in 2011

GENEVA (AP) -- FIFA processed international transfer deals worth $3 billion (?2.25 billion) in 2011, and said Thursday it will share payment details with UEFA to help monitor European financial fair play rules.

FIFA allowed 11,500 players to make cross-border moves in the first calendar year operating its Transfer Matching System, which aims to curb money laundering and corrupt deals.

The mandatory online project requires buying and selling clubs to input matching information, including payment schedules, before a transfer is approved. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of

Kicking Back Comments: There was one part of the article that was funny to me. It had to deal with FIFA saying they wanted to cut an agents fee from an average of 16% to 3%.

Why would they want to do that? An agent actually provides some value to the transaction, and the individual player can no doubt negotiate this fee themselves. Could it be FIFA wants more of the pie?

Again, with such a trust deficit that FIFA is running, it is hard to believe that it would be for anything except their own benefit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another case for technology

I don't know folks ... take a peek before reading on.

The ball defiantly crossed the line, and should have been a goal. My issue comes with the JAR in this case. He is in pretty good position. Optimally he should be on the goal line as the 2nd to last defender (the GK in this case) is there. Last defender in this case is standing off the field, but as well all (should) know, a defender can not step off the end line to create an offside situation.

In this case folks ... I think it was just a blown call and completely distinct from the goal from 2010 between GER v. ENG that I described in Bye - Bye Uruguay where the AR had no chance to make the call when the ball crossed the goal line.

Here, the JAR did very clearly have that chance to make the right call, and I am sure without it, continued to stoke the fires of the need for goal line technology.