To Whistle or Not to Whistle?

Things you didn't know about things you know well !

Many more fun videos and instructional vignettes here, on the AYSO website.

White #9 has control of the ball. Red #7 approaches white #9 and kicks him from behind, stomping down on his calf, using excessive force. This is a foul, which becomes violent conduct instead of serious foul play, because red #7 was not challenging for the ball. 
Things that will help the referee evaluate this as a violent conduct include:
0:09 - The ball is up in the air, in front of white #9, and red #7 is looking down and does not have a chance of getting to the ball.
0:09 - Red #7's leg is stretched out and ends up knee-locked when contact is made.
0:09/0:10 - Red #7's only effort is to stop white by kicking him.
0:11 - Red #7 acknowledges to the referee that he had done wrong.
0:11/0:13 - White #9's body language is projecting the pain.Unfortunately, sometimes teenage players feel that they have to play tough and accept this type of incident without major complaint at first. Notice that even white team players did not react to the foul in a drastic manner. However, as the game goes on, players who have been victims of violent conduct that go unpunished will find an opportunity to retaliate in a similar or worse manner. 

Referees need to identify and properly manage violent conduct. In this case, the referee should stop play immediately, check on white #9 and allow the trainer/coach to provide assistance, show the red card to red #7, send him off for violent conduct, reassure the white team that he will control the game, and restart it with a direct free kick for the white team. 

This video provides an example of a charging foul that is reckless. Just as blue #11 gets to the ball, a white player running at full speed charges into him sideways. This causes blue #11 to fall to the ground. The referee can look for the following actions by the white player to identify this charging offense as a reckless foul:
  • He is looking more at the opponent than at the ball
  • He has a chance to play the ball in a fair manner but decides to charge without regard for the safety of the opponent
  • He charges the opponent sideways, then turns his back and upends him in a dangerous manner
  • His move appears designed to intimidate
Therefore, the referee should stop play, show the yellow card to the white player, caution him for unsporting behavior and restart the game with a direct free kick for the blue team.

This type of charging is not normal play and it must be eliminated from the game to keep it safe for all participants. It is recommended that the referee take the following steps to properly manage this incident:
  • Talk to the guilty player when administering the caution, "Be careful."
  • Be sure to get acknowledgment by asking. "Do you understand?" Pause and after receiving the player's response say: "Thank you."
  • Talk to the fouled player to make him feel safe. Say: "I'll take care of this. Please keep playing soccer. Thank you."
  • Stay close to the players involved in the incident to influence good behavior by presence, including verbalizing awareness as needed.