Referees - what can we all do to improve the situation?

Discussion in 'SoCalScene' started by Paul Spacey, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. watfly

    watfly Silver

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    I think most refs know the LOTG well. However, what parents need to understand is that individual interpretations of the LOTG are highly subjective. Spend anytime in the "C'mon Ref" forum and you will realize how true that is. There is a video of a play in the forum right now that the Refs' opinions range from no call to a penalty and a red card. What is one refs "careless" is another refs "excessive force". Refs may also not make "by the book" calls based on a number of factors including age, ability and in the name of game management. How is this subjectivity different from most other professions? It's not (see doctors, mechanics, attorneys...). We all carry bias as to how things should be done. That's normal human behavior. Refs make mistakes like anyone else and most do their best to get the call correct in real time without the benefit of replay and slo mo which we have the luxury of using to second guess ref decisions. However, I'm not condoning those refs that come physically or mentally unprepared to officiate game, those refs should be weeded out.

    If refs are human, they would be best served to show a little humility when warranted. I'm going to echo what others have said about communication. Refs don't need to become Facebook friends with the spectators, but a simple icebreaker like "How's it going today parents?" or "I hope your kids have a great game today". Little gestures like that go a long way to building rapport and disarming parents. It also helps to dispel that "us vs them" impression. Will this always work, of course not, but I've seen it be effective in quite a few situations. I know some refs say they're instructed not to talk with the parents, which is particularly good advice when things are contentious. But seriously, this is youth soccer, I don't think their should be any prohibition on refs exchanging pleasantries with parents. It should be noted that included in USSF's last published Referee Administrative Handbook was the following number one listed item in the "The Referee Commitment":

    1) Officiating matches in a fair and safe manner that ensures player and spectator enjoyment.

    Unfortunately, some refs believe they have no obligation to the spectator, and instead categorize all parents as stupid and don't understand the LOTG. Here is a little article about refs leaving their ego at home. http://nisoa.com/instruction/interc...2011/04/08/attitude-and-ego-leave-it-at-home/
     
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  2. Paul Spacey

    Paul Spacey Silver

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    One of the biggest issues I have is that referees who don't know the LOTG correctly become so ignorant and dismissive if you mention, even in a friendly way, a point of law which they are clearly getting wrong. Two examples below; the first one being the most common type of response I get when talking about points of law with officials.

    1. Player with small part of the front of his foot on the field and most of it on the touchline. AR flags for foul throw.
    "Assistant, he is allowed to be on the field providing part of his feet are on the touchline."
    "No sir, you're wrong."
    "Sorry ref, I'm not trying to be a dick but that's how the throw-in law works. The foot on the field thing is a myth among referees. Don't take this the wrong way but check it out later, no big deal." (those are exactly the words I used).
    "No, you are wrong coach now shut up."
    I gave up.

    2. Opposition pass a firm ball through to a player clearly 10 yards offside and it takes the slightest deflection off one of our players' jerseys who wasn't even looking at the ball. AR signals offside but referee waves play on and does the two hands 'friction' motion that all refs seem to do now, signaling a deflection. The player didn't score but when play stopped, I told the referee a very minor deflection like that does not invalidate the offside call. He told me that any deflection means it is no longer offside. Again, it was pointless trying to argue the issue and help him. He was a young guy and seemed very confident (he told me he was mentoring his younger brother who was AR) but again this is an example of a referee being too arrogant to consider that they might be incorrect and that will not serve him well moving forward.

    Yes, referees may find it uncomfortable or patronizing that someone is trying to teach them (I see it as 'helping' not teaching) about the LOTG they don't fully understand so I do appreciate why they usually just say, "no sir, you don't know the laws, that's not correct."

    If you go to see a paid lawyer and they don't know the law, you are going to shake your head and ask what's up. Sure, lawyers get paid more than referees but if you get paid for something, you should know the rules/laws or procedures relating to what you are being paid for IMO.
     
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  3. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    I had the situation in a game this weekend. I took a second to run Surfref's discussion on the ref forum about this on my head. Player onside kicked it into the goal but not hard enough to go in...it defected against a defender's knee but the defender did not attempt to play the ball (even if he did, it would have been a block)...went to a striker in an offside position....striker scored....I hesitated for a second running the play and Surfref's points in my head....flag up, CR waives me on to discuss, CR backs me and disallows the goal. Parents side line of course goes crazy....how is that offside.

    I agree that like most professionals there is room for disagreement. But there's a lot of room for disagreement now. For example, is raising the knee by a keeper when an opponent around and the keeper is going for a high ball reckless or dangerous play. Then there's also a very wide span of disagreement over what's trifling...I've had ref coordinators tell me that refs should try to interrupt the game as little as possible so the kids can have fun and ref coordinators tell me that every law is there for a reason and we should call all of it...that's a failing of the organizations, and in a diverse area like SoCal with lots of different soccer cultures (from the possession game, to the English physical game to the Mexican anything goes game [seriously saw a Latino coach this weekend calling for his players to "Bajalo" which means "take em down"]) that's just a recipe for disaster. The orgs owe it the coaches, refs and players to provide guidance on how these things should be called and they are just failing at that right now.
     
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  4. Just A Dad

    Just A Dad Bronze

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    I don't see a lot of bad refs, some but not a lot but do see a lot of over reaction from parents. My daughter is on the smaller side for a center back and when she gets in trouble on a play she is really good at making it look like she gets fouled by the larger player. sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't work the parents on our team go crazy yelling she took her out but what they didn't see was my daughter hook her and pull the girl on top of her and the ref made the right call.

    As a parent with a senior and sophomore I look back now and i'm embarrassed how i acted towards refs when my girls were U-little's.
     
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  5. zags77

    zags77

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    This thread is the biggest waste of time. End of the day we have a shortage of referees in this country because of the verbal abuse they take every Saturday and Sunday. Number one rule for coaches to remember is THERE IS NO UPSIDE IN YELLING AT A REFEREE during a game. ALL referees will miss calls and make mistakes, but they will do it for both teams. When you yell at a referee it will always be the coaches word vs. the referees and the REFEREE will always win that battle no matter what youth league you are playing.

    Coaches, focus on your players and coaching your teams. The coach is ultimately in charge of the sideline and if the parents see you getting worked up and animated they will follow suit. If your players see you complaining and getting animated they will follow suit. Coaches are the role models and set the standards, the only time you should talk to a referee in game is if your players are not in a safe environment. Your job as a coach is to protect you players and make sure they are safe, yelling at a referee will not help in that regard.

    Coaches you will get bad calls, you will also get calls in your favor, its the nature of the game. Yelling at the referee for EVERY call will get you nowhere. Its ok to plant seeds as a coach but you can do it in tactful manner where you don't disrespect the referee in front of everyone, end of the day these men and women all make mistakes. I would be hard pressed to ever blame an outcome or a result on a referee and it happens to often in youth sports. You didn't win because you didn't score more goals than the other team, you didn't defend well, you didn't finish your chances. The list goes on and on. Focus on what you can do better vs. putting blame on the referee.

    Treating a referee like HUMAN being goes a long way them, lets be thankful of the job they do for our youth. Talking to them with respect before, after and in game makes them feel appreciated and might even help earn you some calls!!

    Thanks refs, your job is not easy!
     
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  6. mlx

    mlx Bronze

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    No, that's a bunch of baloney. Yes, there are mistakes but there's also bad referees that take sides. They can be intimidated by a coach, or they can "punish" a yelling coach by having all of his "mistakes" on that coach's team.

    Two weeks ago, opposing coach was yelling at the ref all the first half in a bully way. The ref got intimidated and did nothing. By the second half, the ball is out of bounds by 2 inches and the ref didn't see it. Our coach just yelled "Hey! at least make an effort to run so you can see it!!"; well, that was enough for that ref to call an nonexistent penalty against our team. That single yell by our non-bully coach.

    Refs like that should not be officiating matches, the fact that "there's a shortage" doesn't mean that we must take the bad ones and be "thankful" for them. No.
     
  7. Keepermom2

    Keepermom2

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    I really appreciate the information refs. share on here when there isn't unnecessary fighting. I always read Surf Ref's entire posts and have come to appreciate his take on a given situation.

    I think the refs. should have to take a test periodically (like quarterly) on the laws of the game including examples of real life game situations (most commonly experienced that require quick critical thinking especially with Goalkeepers (sorry I want my Keeper protected. LOL) and receive a grade on it. The higher the grade, the more they get paid. If teams want the best refs. than they should pay for it. Someone mentioned giving a tip for quality reffing. While in theory that sounds good if everyone was ethical, unfortunately that would probably produce some payments for one sided calls. I think if there was motivation to get more money through knowledge, then the desire for knowledge would increase.

    Maybe a grading scale:

    a. Years of experience
    b. Physical fitness test (Quarterly tests)
    c. Knowledge of the game (Quarterly tests)
    d. Periodic review of ability to control the game (I am pretty certain there is widespread knowledge of which clubs/teams have the most issues and those are the games that should be reviewed)
    e. Center refs. evaluate AR's every game

    The higher the grade, the more they cost.

    Generally I have to commend most refs. because they generally seem unphased by the stupidity they experience on a regular basis and have an extraordinary ability to ignore the stupidity that I myself would never be able to do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  8. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    I agree the abuse is part of it. But like most divorces, that's not the entire story and there's generally more than one side to the story. I've been on both ends of the stick now and can see both sides of the story. Yes, many [not all] parents are obnoxious...my own father once got told off by a ref for yelling "offside" on a throw in o_O. But parents also have, in many cases, good cause to complain against the [again, not all] clueless refs, refs that just don't care, and the let 'em play refs that create dangerous situations. New referees aren't provided sufficient [what should be free] support, and that was the thing that discouraged me the most from USSF reffing last year, not to mention a few latent examples of sexism. The soccer orgs [from FIFA to USSF to CalSouth] don't provide sufficient guidance for how things should be called. The soccer orgs don't provide sufficient transparency for refs ratings or to protect the refs.
     
  9. Eagle33

    Eagle33 Silver

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    Most of this already in place. Higher level referees get higher level games, which in turn pay more. They also have to be present at monthly meetings and pass pretty rigorous physical test. They also get assessed on a high level games. Referees who do DA games, gets assessed almost at every game. Those refs you most likely don't see, since they are doing those high level games. The one you see every weekend is the ones who get their Grade 8 and "I don't give a shit" attitude.
     
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  10. watfly

    watfly Silver

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    I agree completely. What I'm, and a few others, are trying to point out is that this is a two-way street. I think everyone would be better off if refs, coaches and administrators took more of a customer service oriented approach to parents, particularly in regards to communication.
     
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  11. Keepermom2

    Keepermom2

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    Interesting...I wondered about that. Good to know.
     
  12. Mystery Train

    Mystery Train Silver Elite

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    You bring up some very good points. I'm just starting out as a volunteer AYSO ref. The way I resolve these conflicting applications of the LOTG is by remembering the purpose for that particular rule. What's the purpose of the tripping foul rule? In this case it's player safety and gaining advantage. So if a player goes to kick a ball and misses but glances the boot of the opponent, but the opponent continues on without being impeded, I don't blow the whistle. Accidental contact that was not dangerous or unsafe and which didn't give anyone an advantage. But there are many cases where it's debatable if the contact swayed the play or might have hurt. There's a lot of gray area between a glancing blow which doesn't slow a player down at all, and a blatant trip. So the ref has to be given the leeway to make these decisions without being harassed or second guessed constantly.

    I had a tough no-call myself this weekend on two players going shoulder to shoulder in the box. It was on the verge of being a foul, but both players were using their arms to fight the other off the ball. The defender just happened to be twice the size of the attacker, so I was inclined to blow the whistle and grant a PK, but the attacker was still able to get her shot off, though it hit the post. I hesitated, and had the urge to call it, but in the end, I could not see that the play was unsafe, the arms were not ever extended into a full push, and both players were doing it to each other. So I swallowed my whistle much to the unhappiness of the dad of the attacker. After the game, he came up to me in the parking lot. We had a 15 minute discussion about all the things he was unhappy about. He was definitely too emotionally invested in this game, but I treated him respectfully and explained why I didn't call a foul here or a hand-ball there. I told him that it was close and that I understood why he thought it should have been a foul, but that I simply didn't see enough to warrant it. I complimented his daughter on her play and I acknowledged his concerns. This diffused most of his anger and I let him vent a little bit. In the end, he shook my hand and we parted on good terms. But I'm an EXTREMELY patient person who has been paid to counsel and manage conflict professionally for years. I wondered how many refs out there have the benefit of my background? This was a U10 girls AYSO game. I can't imagine why anyone would want to ref a competitive club game for the paltry sums they pay and be subjected to this sort of confrontation or worse on the regular. If I had been in a bad mood, or a bit more irritated myself, that conversation in the parking lot could have gone bad in a hurry. Nobody needs this crap, especially if you're VOLUNTEERING.
     
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  13. jpeter

    jpeter Silver

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    For which leagues are you referring to?

    For the discovery division of DSL I heard the association they contracted with don't have enough of the higher grade types to cover the games. For the older boys there were CR's this past weekend that couldn't keep up physically according to mutiple sources I heard from about all the commotion.
     
  14. Eagle33

    Eagle33 Silver

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    I don't think any association have enough higher grade referees to cover games during any weekend of Fall season - Discovery or other leagues.
     
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  15. Grace T.

    Grace T. Silver

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    Had the opposite again, different game. o_O 2 players battling shoulder to shoulder, defender raises his arm up towards the chest to push the striker...classic "swimming". Nothing that endangers either opponent. Striker did not fall. But it was enough for the defender to get advantage and win the ball away, which he promptly kicked out. Otherwise, the striker might have passed it to a winger running down my side. I shook flag for DFK, CR hadn't seen since he had the players backs, I signaled swimming to the CR. Does it rise to the level of careless "a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge"? I'd argue it does and the definition of careless is a very broad one. The "let it play" refs would never have called that, saying it was trifling. But if you go by the letter I don't see how it isn't. Exactly why more guidance is needed.
     
  16. baldref

    baldref Silver

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    I guess then it’s up to us don’t give a shit grade 8s.
    Sorry bout that
     
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  17. Simisoccerfan

    Simisoccerfan Silver

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    Been happy so far with the quality of the refs at our DA games. I like most of them wear communication devices and the center ref and AR's can discuss their calls.
     
  18. socalkdg

    socalkdg Silver

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    My daughter has done travel and rec basketball. Soccer refs, coaches, and fans are way ahead of the basketball culture. Very inconsistent calls, coaches on the court yelling at refs all the time, and fans that are so close to a ref that you worry they will jump one of them when they are cussing them out. Youth basketball is crazy. :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Paul Spacey

    Paul Spacey Silver

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    The level of games is obviously a factor. DA and the other ‘top’ leagues likely get the best refs and that’s fair enough. The best referees want to be doing the top games and that makes sense. I’ve watched a few DA games and the referees are undoubtedly more confident (and often more competent) than most I see officiating in CSL or other leagues. That said, I think it’s important to point out that there are some good refs at lower levels, they are not all bad, it’s not all doom and gloom!

    I’ve personally not seen a difference in the quality of referees between bronze/flight 3 and the higher level brackets (gold, premier, flight 1 etc) though. My guess is the best refs do DA and ECNL etc and then the rest of the leagues are just potluck in terms of how refs are assigned and assessed/rated.

    An Uber-style rating system that everyone has access to (for rating refs, coaches and sidelines) would be a helpful addition I think.
     
  20. JCM

    JCM Bronze

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    My son is 12 and has AR'd his first games. Whether on purpose or not, he's had four very experienced centers in every game including one who the same weekend was officiating DA, a USWNT u17 scrimmage and a Pac 12 college game. To say there aren't experienced refs in these lower leagues isn't true. There are of course newbies like my son. But there is such a shortage of refs that if you can't accept refs that make mistakes then the only solution is for you to replace them.

    My son has had an uneventful first few games and I've watched him make numerous mistakes with throw in calls. He's getting better though and the centers have corrected him when he was wrong. Oddly the only bad parents were Presidio u12 girls parents, everyone else has been great. In that game a parent yelled at the center ref and swore at him. It really changes your perspective when you are watching to support the ref than to support a player or team. My son wasn't being yelled at, but my view on the parent certainly was that he is a psycho and I can't believe how worked up he's getting over a kid's soccer game.

    I'd ask any parent who thinks it's appropriate for them to yell at an official or view themselves as a customer instead of a spectator to think how they'd want their son or daughter treated. Having coached for a long time and met refs for 25 years, I know that most are doing their best even when they aren't up to the standards we hope for them. And now having a second child who refs I know that the assignors do pay attention and try to get good refs more games, but often it comes down to having whatever ref is available versus no game at all due to shortages or injuries.
     
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