Sunday, August 30, 2015
Monday, March 16, 2015
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The guide and other documents are now available from the Rocket City United website. Follow link under NPSL Related Documents. See Revision History within the document for what changed.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Sunday, August 28, 2011
On August 20th, Arsenal lost to Liverpool 2 to 0. The first goal was an own-goal by Arsenal in the 78th minute. Liverpool's Luis Suarez (#7) was in an offside position when the ball was passed to him by teammate Raul Meireles (#4), but Arsenal's defender Ignasi Miquel (#49) played it first - good defending. The problem for Arsenal occurred immediately afterwards when Miquel attempted to clear the ball but instead the ball bounced off his teammate Aaron Ramsey (#16) and went into the goal. Suarez continued playing since the initial pass to him was intercepted and there was no flag and/or whistle for offside. Also Suarez did not interfere with Miquel when he intercepted the pass. Suarez definitely did not gain an advantage by being in an offside position. So he was not guilty of infringing Law 11, Offside.
In the picture below Meireles (center, in black) just passed the ball to Suarez (lower left, in black). You can see Miquel (lower left, in red & white) clearly playing the ball before it could reach Suarez. At this point, consideration of an offside offence is finished. What follows is normal play.
But during the replays on ESPN immediately following the goal, Ian Darke stated and asked, "He's offside. Isn't he there?" Following the subsequent kickoff, Ian Darke again stated, "Suarez was offside."
Three minutes later during a substitution and more replays of the own-goal by ESPN, Ian Darke continues by saying, "See. His leg is just offside."
These comments do a disservice to the viewers. It is miseducation, which is why I write this blog: to plead with announcers to learn the laws of the game and stop miseducating listeners.
The first problem with this commentary and discussions of offside in general is the dual use of the work offside. It is one thing to be in an "offside position" but it is another thing to commit an "offside offence." Too often the single word offside is used in both cases. The second problem with this commentary comes from the first sentence in Law 11 which states, "It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position." Since Suarez did not commit an offside offence, he was only in an offside position for a while. Again, it is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. But Mr. Darke talks on and on about Suarez being offside. YES! He was in an offside position, but that's all!
So Mr. Darke, please re-read Law 11 so you can better understand and comment on rapid match situations related to offside.
I must add that Steve McManaman understood the situation. Near the end of the match referring again back to the own-goal, he said, "Suarez was offside but he was not interfering with play, is he?" and then declares, "That is not offside." To clarify, since he used the word offside for two different things, what McManaman said was "Suarez was (in an)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Mr. Harkes' appeal to the referee was very crass. He should be embarrassed. His comments about the call for the penalty kick reveals his belief in an old misconception by many soccer players who never really learn the rules. One would think that someone in Mr. Harkes’ position, being paid to comment on games covered by ESPN, would have learned the basics of fouls by now. But obviously not. And this is very sad because most listeners assume he does and believes what he says. This is the miseducation.
Many fouls (tripping, kicking, pushing, etc.) are judged to be fouls by the referee if they were committed in a careless or reckless manner or if committed with excessive force. There is no wording in the laws of the game that says, “unless the player touched the ball” nor “unless the player touched the ball before touching the opponent.” So trips, kicks, etc. that occur after touching the ball if done in a careless or reckless manner or with excessive force are still fouls even if the contact happened after touching the ball. So Mr. Harkes’ questioning of whether or not the opponent also touched the ball is completely irrelevant. Sadly listeners now think it is.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Around the 86th minute of the match on a breakaway by Partizan, the Partizan attacker was rapidly approaching Arsenal’s penalty area while being challenged closely by an Arsenal defender running in the same direction as the attacker. Just outside the penalty area with no defenders around but the goalkeeper whose was at the front of his goal area, the Arsenal defender, Bacary Sagna, reached in and across the Partizan attacker in an attempt to play the ball. He tripped the attacker instead. The referee sent off Sagna without hesitation.
One of the commentators, I didn’t get his name but he was blond and had a strong British accent, disagreed with the red card saying it was a bit harsh. This commentator did not agree that the tackle was a sendoff offense. Well Mr. British accent commentator, you might not be an American commentator, but you can make yourself look foolish just the same by making uneducated comments as you did during this match.
The call was exactly right. I recognized it immediately when I saw it. I knew what the referee was going to do and I was pleased to see that he was close behind and made the right call. (I think the referee was from Italy. I saw him again on a Serie A match between Juventus and Lazio. His name is something like Tiliavento.)
Mr. British accent commentator should review the FIFA LOTG and avoid such miseducation of the millions of listeners as he did during this foul and send-off. He is a paid professional. I expect him to know what he’s talking about.
From the FIFA Interpretations of the LOTG and Guidelines for Referees:
Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:
• the distance between the offence and the goal
• the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
• the direction of the play
• the location and number of defenders
• the offence which denies an opponent an obvious goalscoring opportunity may be an offence that incurs a direct free kick or an indirect free kick
From the USSF Advice to Referees:
In order for a player or substitute to be sent off for denying an "obvious goalscoring opportunity by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick" (number 5 under the seven send-off offenses), four elements must be present:
• Number of Defenders—not more than one defender between the foul and the goal, not counting the defender who committed the foul
• Distance to goal—the closer the foul is to the goal, the more likely it is an obvious goalscoring opportunity
• Distance to ball—the attacker must have been close enough to the ball at the time of the foul to continue playing the ball
• Direction of play—the attacker must have been moving toward the goal at the time the foul was committed
The foul in the Arsenal/Partizan match meets the above criteria. The attacker was just outside the penalty area running directly toward the goal with no one between him and the goal but the goalkeeper. The closest defender was slightly behind/beside him. The attacker was only a second away from taking a shot when he was tripped. His goal scoring opportunity was taking away. This kind of defending is completely unacceptable and the punishment defined by FIFA reflects the seriousness of the offense, a send-off.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In the 39th minute of the match Mexico took a corner kick. As the ball traveled through the air to a spot outside the goal area, the South African ‘keeper moved toward the front of the goal area leaving Carlos Vela standing with only one defender between him and the goal line. The ball was deflected by a Mexican player to Carlos Vela who chest trapped it and then played it into the goal. The Assistant Referee immediately raised his flag for offside.
After several seconds, Efan Ekoku declared, “He’s onside.” He continued, “… with a South African defender right on the goal line. Surely! Well, that can’t be offside. How can he be offside? There is a defender on the line! Couldn’t have given it for handball. It comes clearly off the chest of Vela. What an awful decision. They can’t believe it. They should be one-nil ahead.” After play was restarted, Mr. Ekoku continued, “I don’t know what the Assistant Referee saw. The Referee seems to have blown it himself. You see him signal for maybe a foul. There was a touch at the near post.” Finally, Martin Tyler speaks up with only a few words but showed that he didn’t understand the offside call either.
THIS LEFT MILLIONS OF WATCHERS WITH A FALSE LESSON IN THE OFFSIDE LAW. Watchers believe the highly paid announcers and commentators are also highly education. Obviously not.
Minutes later when a another replay was shown of the corner kick, Mr. Tyler describes the goalkeeper’s movement forward and said that Carlos Vela was denied the World Cup opening goal, as if the referees wrongfully denied the goal. WRONG!!! At the moment the ball was touched by Carlos Vela’s teammate, Vela had only one defender nearer the goal line that himself. Here are the words from the FIFA Laws of the Game, which obviously neither Mr. Ekoku nor Mr. Tyler have ever read and understood:
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
I see only one defender closer to the goal line than Carlos Vela. See picture below. How many do you see?
In the upper left portion of the picture above the ball is being head flicked by a Mexican attacker. There were no defenders wide of the goal, only one defender near the goal post. Even the goalkeeper was farther from the goal line than Carlos Vela, #11, near the bottom of the picture. So Vela was in an offside position and subsequently interfered with play by playing it when it came to him. That’s the definition of an offside infraction!
Possibly Mr. Ekoku learned about offside from teammates or coaches and believes offside position is about one defender only since goalkeepers are most often closer to the goal line than everyone else on the field. BUT THAT’S WRONG. Offside is when a player is closer to the goal line than two opponents, regardless of what position they play or whether they wear gloves or not. (There is also the factor of being ahead of the ball and being in the opponents half of the field.)
If you want to read the entire Law 11, Offside, go to http://www.ussoccer.com/Referees/Laws-of-the-Game.aspx
This blog was started to point out the stupid things that American commentators said. But in this case, I just had to write about it. Hope it was helpful.
Here is another description of the valid offside call:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In the 20th minute of the match during a replay John Harkes said, “Tyrone Marshall. Not sure he did much damage there. I don’t see a lot to deserve the yellow. Terry Vaughn, I think, throwing the yellows out early. Once you do that, as a referee, you have to be consistent throughout the match.” Actually this is arguably a goal scoring opportunity since two defenders are not quite between the attacker and the goal but more even and off to the side of the attacker. Distance to the goal plus the possibility of these nearby defenders being able to become involved in active play must have been the factors that kept the referee from sending off Tyrone Marshall for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by a committing a foul (DOGSO-F). So if it’s not a DOGSO-F but still reckless then the next level down from a DOGSO-F is a tactical foul, which is a caution for unsporting behavior, a yellow card.
In the 21st minute again during a replay John Harkes said, “That’s a handball from there. Yeah. Not sure if Terry Vaughn had his whistle ready, but it looked like he was
In the 43rd minute of the match during a replay John Harkes said, “Here’s the late foul from . . . Alonso. And there’s another one right there from Montero from behind. Yeah. Very reckless challenge. Good call by Terry Vaughn.” Mr. Harkes got this one right.
In the 45th minute of the match Mr. Dellacamera used the term Stoppage Time and then, worse than that, ESPN posted “STOPPAGE TIME: 1 MINUTE” below the score on the screen. This is another misnomer. Instead, this is called Added Playing time for lost playing time during the match due to cautions, injuries, substitutions, etc. Perhaps this is a little pedantic of me. But wrong terms are wrong and correct terms are correct. I would like announcers (and now the network) to stop their miseducation by using incorrect terminology. While I’m picking on the network, did you notice after the score by Seattle in the 55th minute, “SEA: OFFSIDE” was posted below the score momentarily? What was that about? Then seconds later the Seattle score was properly increased to 2. Later in the second half, I heard J P Dellacamera correctly use the term “handling” the ball and I heard John Harkes correctly say, “offside” (singular). Thank you!
In the 82nd minute of the match Mr. Harkes said, “I didn’t see the foul there.” If Mr. Harkes had his eyes open he would have seen both the tug on the shorts by Dallas player #17 and afterwards the simulated tug by the referee on his own shorts to tell the players on the field what had happened. This foul occurred in front of the benches, a frequently contested area.
In the 85th minute of the match, Mr. Harkes said, “I’m not really sure what’s going on there, what Terry Vaughn sees.” So, why does Mr. Harkes continue to comment? Mr. Harkes continues, “But he’s given the foul against Seattle but the yellow card to David Ferreira. And, he really . . . it was a dangerous play and Ferreira, he had the ball stuck between his legs while he was on the ground. How’s he supposed to play the ball?” The original foul was a push by Seattle which put the Dallas player on the ground. But the Seattle player continued to try to play the ball while the Seattle player had the ball between his legs. Per the USSF Advice to Referees (available on ussoccer.com) a dangerous play is an act that places someone in danger of harm AND disadvantages the opponent by causing him/her to cease playing. The Seattle player never ceased playing. So the foul was for the original push. The card was for something that happened after the foul. In this case we had to be on the field to see and/or hear what the Dallas player did. Imagine that, if you would, please. We may not understand 100% of the referee’s calls. There is no requirement on referees to communicate to spectators – only to players for the management of the match.
In the 90th minute of the match, Mr. Harkes, talking about the Seattle attacker, said, “Looks like he looses possession, there, on the ball and makes the most of it. Terry Vaughn seems to be, for me, a little bit far away to make that decision. I don’t think it’s a good one.” Terry Vaughn was around the 28 yard line, about 18 yards away, when he made the call for Seattle player #34 (Hurtado) tripped Dallas player #31 (Yeisley). It was visible five times when you count all the replays. The defender’s left knee stopped the attackers left leg, a hard trip. The attacker confirmed it by holding his left leg afterwards on the ground. But Mr. Harkes exemplifies the misconception that sitting announcers off the field can see better than active referees only yards away.
Well that’s all. A lot to point out in one game. So please take this perspective into consideration when trying to understand what American announcers mean by their comments.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The American Fan needs better commentary. Too often commentary contains incorrect information, based on who-knows-what, but definitely not based on the FIFA Laws of the Game. If the American Fan is going to develop a passion for the game of soccer as is the case in many other countries of the world, they need to understand “the beautiful game.” This blog intends to debunk the bad statements of soccer game commentators.
Let’s begin with John Harkes during the 3/25/2010 Philadelphia Union vs Seattle Sounders FC game. Mr. Harkes stated in the 12th minute of the game after a Philadelphia Union’s player is flagged for offside, “I think he’s even, actually. The referee has the right back. You can see
Mr. Harkes stated in the 14th minute of the game that he did not think the foul also deserved a booking. If Mr. Harkes were a trained soccer referee, which obviously he is not, he would understand the booking. But while he is not a trained referee he voices his uneducated opinion on the referee’s choice to caution a player. Fans learn bad information from Mr. Harkes comments.