Week #21 July 26-27

The Non Verbals

Body language is an important element of good communication as well as always using proper mechanics. Both are ways that good assistant referee’s effectively get their message out. Standing at attention and not moving up the field after a goal are examples of two ways that we say, “I’m not happy with the goal until I get some feedback from the referee.” This past week MLS and LigaMX combined 4 teams each to play the first round of the “Leagues Cup”, which may become an annual mini-tournament. Joe Fletcher, PRO Performance Consultant walks us thru a couple of scenarios where language could have been a barrier.
Why do we run the ball back with the back pass? Read on. Why do we have Call of the Week? Because quality needs to be recognized. It was another good week for PRO assistant referees.

Non Verbal Communication

Effective communication is one of the most important skills that the PRO Assistant Referee needs to possess. While we always want to sound confident, concise, and convincing, at times there are complications. There is the message going out, interference, then the message being received.
In the next clip, that complication comes in the form of language. It is a Leagues Cup match, and the Referee’s first language is Spanish, while the Assistant Referee’s first language is English. However, they both manage to do enough using other non-verbal communication to help make the correct on-field decision.

The positives that happen:

  • The eye contact & body language is actually what completes the communication for the AR to know that the flag must go up.

  • The timeliness of this is to be commended, as it just adds credibility for the match officials.

  • The AR realizes in this match, it was helpful for him to communicate with the VAR to confirm the on-field decision.

A reminder for all that despite having VAR, the on-field decision is so important as that is the starting point for the VR team. Video review can only change something that is clearly wrong, and cannot decide to change something credible to what they feel is better decision.

Law 12 Help

The phase “At least a yellow” will tell the Referee to produce a yellow card.
Do not think that this is your safe place when the answer is clearly red. If your answer is Red, say “Red”. If your answer is “Yellow”, say “Yellow”.

If you are unsighted, didn’t have an angle, or don’t actually know the answer; be very clear to let the Referee know that you are uncertain with any advice. Sometimes that 50% gut feeling when asked for is helpful to the Referee….but they need to know what it is they are getting. Saying “I’m not sure, but I’m thinking yellow” is quite appropriate in cases where the AR might not see the incident due to competing demands or great distance.

As the assistant referee, there are times when you should not be offering advice. While encouragement after the decision is liked by some referees and maybe needed for others, the AR should defer giving an opinion when:

  • The referee called the foul themselves AND

  • The referee has reasonable proximity AND

  • The referee’s actions look credible (as does the colour card they are reaching for)

Quite simply put, the Referee saw it, the Referee called it, I like or at least support the decision, no input need. Job Done!

Why We Sprint To Cover the Possibilities

For the PRO assistant referee, there should be little question as to why this clip is shown:

  • While this was one example, both ARs in this match could be seen sprinting to cover possibilities when the ball was passed back to the goalkeeper

  • This clip happens at minute 90+5

  • The AR ends up off screen, but is in excellent position to make the next decision

  • Whether it is goal/no goal, foul/no foul, goal kick/corner kick; one misplayed ball or misplaced pass can lead to a match changing decision.

  • It takes a lot of desire and self-motivation to seemingly sprint aimlessly after a ball where almost no danger exists. However there is only one match official that everyone in the stadium and watching on TV expects to see that exceptional circumstance (or at least making an effort to see it). Don’t be the person seen walking when that circumstance occurs.

Winner - MLS Call of the Week #20 - Micheal Barwegen

The award goes across the border to Canada, for Barwegen’s first win.

The award goes across the border to Canada, for Barwegen’s first win.

MLS Call of the Week #22

Who shone this week? Lots of you did. Check out the first two goals in LAFC v Atlanta if you want to look at close decisions where the benefit of doubt was given to the attack. But those two were not chosen by the Call of the Week Committee as two other decisions had some extra sauce in them that made them special.

First off is Jeff Hosking, who does not give offside because on the header back into the fray the attacker was even with the second to last defender. There is good movement to make sure that he didn’t lag behind after the original clearance. Was there are deliberate play in there as well?

Brian Dunn has, what on freeze frame, does not look to be all that surprising of a no-flag decision as the defense clearly steps up late, but I am sure that all the ARs who have worked as AR2 in Yankee stadium with the crosshatch of grass lines, diagonal strips of grass and the less than optimal footing will be cheering for this decision.

Jeff Hosking

Brian Dunn

Who had Call of the Week #21?
Jeff Hosking - Chicago v DC United
Brian Dunn - NY Football Club v Sporting KC