Bi-Weekly Instructional Message – Issue 3

As we round out September, non-conference play has mostly concluded and teams will finish out the season over the next month with a loaded slate of conference play. For many teams in the conferences we serve, winning the conference tournament is the only guarantee to make the NCAA tournament in November. Conference games will see more physical play, more emotions, and will demand more from our officials.

In part of our preparation as match officials, we must be fully vested in our knowledge of the NCAA soccer playing rules. There have been several misapplications this year, including instances of video review in situations where video review was clearly not permitted, incorrect application of substitution rules and goalkeepers being forced to leave the field when not required to do so, and coaches being ejected for “dissent.”

Additionally, we have received a greater number of clips than usual from coaches pertaining to valid goals being taken away by erroneous offside decisions. In some of these clips, attackers were more than FIVE YARDS onside at the time the ball was played. Assistant referees MUST be focused for ninety minutes. When in doubt, please leave the flag down. It is much easier for us as a staff to defend a goal that was given from a tight offside decision where the attacker may have more than likely been offside, albeit by a small margin, than it is to defend our members when they take away a goal that was yards onside.

Our success over the remaining portion of the schedule will largely be aided by sticking to common sense refereeing. This includes giving simple free kicks in the midfield, letting things come to you as opposed to “looking for the big decision” and managing emotions without overreacting.