All season we have been working on improving our communication with the referees and this week’s report has two excellent examples of PRO assistant referees getting involved in red card incidents. There are several take aways that you will get from watching their demeanor during this highly emotion time. but also it is very important that you listen to what and how it was communicated. Good learning here.
As always, we love to spotlight the PRO AR who puts it on the line and gives it their all. You will want to watch a good example of goal line coverage and then try to match it in your next game.
AR Assistance and Red Cards
There were a number of teachable moments that appear in this clip:
Covering your area of responsibility:
The AR keeps enough awareness to recognize the actions #31 black and #22 blue.
While play is close to a boundary line, the AR avoids the pitfall of being too focused on the ball and is able to see the upper body contact.
Teachable – Keep as wide a peripheral view as possible when play is close
If you call the foul, you are responsible for any misconduct:
Our goal is to get in the information to the Referee in a manner that the correct sanction is given and nobody notices who gave the decision
The AR signals for the foul and sees that the Referee is at distance and now approaching the incident.
While flagging, this is the 1-2 second window to get the information to the Referee
The AR then communicates what the action was, explaining that the player came through with the elbow. The Referee then shows a yellow card, which is NOT what the AR wanted
Teachable – The first thing the AR should say in this scenario is “RED”.
By saying “RED” first, the Referee might change the pocket they are reaching for, or at least slow down from raising the incorrect card.
Any other considerations, facts, or descriptions must come after saying “RED”.
The Referee gave the 100% wrong answer despite my involvement
At this point, play will not be restarting immediately. The job for the AR isn’t done because the decision is wrong. She does fantastic to remain calm realizing that the call on the field must still be corrected
The AR gains nothing by yelling at this point since we are outside the aforementioned 1-2 second window before the decision is made.
The AR tries to talk to the Referee, but the he is distracted by the surrounding players and resulting noise
So the AR says the Referee’s name and calls him over to her. This is best practice since the ball is out of play, we have time, and everybody at this point will realize that the Referee got help from someone.
Once she has the Referee’s attention, the AR speaks in a relaxed fashion and with confidence states the facts of what occurred.
The explanation is convincing enough that the Referee shows trust and changes the decision from yellow to red.
Teachable – We have time once the original decision was made to still calmly give input and correct something that is clearly wrong. Remember the on-field decisions is of utmost importance vs reliance on VAR.
Mass Confrontation but similar instruction
The ball is out of play and we have a rare spitting offense. These are difficult to spot, so the AR does fantastic to recognize the incident amidst a mass confrontation.
Some points to consider:
While it is easy to get caught in the middle of the confrontation, one AR remained at distance, allowing him to see the spitting offense.
The AR immediately states what happened, but the Referee is caught up with all the players, and thus does not hear the information.
The AR would gain nothing by yelling at this point since we already have plenty of outside noise.
Same with the previous clip, the AR gets the Referee’s attention, the AR speaks in a relaxed fashion, and with confidence states the facts of what occurred.
The explanation is convincing enough that the Referee shows trust and gives a red card
AR work rate and goal line coverage
In this clip the cross by the attacker is deflected by the closest defender and the ball is headed towards the goal line. The goalkeeper is going to do his best to keep the ball in play. The AR is left with a 12 yard sprint to get into a position to determine ball in/out of play
This requires 100% “burst” from the AR. It goes from needing full speed to slamming on the brakes
The AR ending up beyond the corner flag is not a bad thing. When anyone looks at the still image of your position at the moment of truth, you will be closer to the goal line.
While a seemingly innocent play, incorrectly giving a corner kick could lead to a goal that cannot be overturned by VAR. This effort becomes hugely important as a result.
Winner - MLS Call of the Week #22 - Mike Kampmeinert
MLS Call of the Week #23
How often does an assistant referee get involved correctly in sending a player off for violent conduct? Not often. So the Call of the Week Committee had no choice but to select the two interventions that resulted in red cards.
We know that you will want to vote for both, but rules and rules. Who did it better? Katy Nesbitt, with her calm demeanor, getting the referee attention and having him change the yellow card to a red or Brian Dunn, with his correct positioning during a mass confrontation and spotting the spitting action behind the referee’s back.