Week #24 August 14-17


Football knowledge is somewhat of an abstract term, but it is important for the assistant referee to use in reading the game and anticipating what is most likely to happen next. Years of experience on the field and thru watching many matches helps to expand that football knowledge to a point where very little comes as a surprise. Unless its your birthday, no one likes surprises. This week we look at reading and anticipating and what actions the assistant referee should take in setting themselves up to make the right decision.

Anticipating and Reading

If a person were to read assessment reports or instructional material, a repeated statement would be about anticipating play.  However, it’s not often that we discuss or teach this topic.  
The question is always, “What is going to happen next”?  
Through our personal experiences and by watching games, our knowledge base improves.  In short, we get better at predicting “What is going to happen next”.  
What the best Assistant Referees can do is see “What is going to happen next” AND determine “What does that mean for me”:

  • Will I need to square up and take an “offside picture”?

  • Will I need a burst of speed to keep up with play?

  • Will I need to get to a certain spot for a future decision?

  • Is my focus going to be on Law 11 or Law 12?

Have a look at this clip and notice the thought processes that appear at different times.

Fact #1: Attacking players get a running head start

Reply: Assistant Referees need as quick a start as possible and must have an excellent burst of speed

Fact #2: Many law 12 decisions happen near the top of the penalty area after a long run

Reply: Assistant Referees cannot afford to “slow down to think”

Fact #3: Many goal line decisions happen as a result of a heavy touch or pass

Reply: Assistant Referees must pay particular attention to any touch taken towards the goal line and be ready to burst into position

The Assistant Referee in this clip demonstrated good anticipation and reading.  Had there been a better pass, the AR would have been ready for whatever resulted.

Competing Responsibilities

Going along with anticipating and reading comes moments where the Assistant Referee will have competing responsibilities. 

  • Have a look at the captions to appreciate the thought process of the Assistant Referee.

  • These moments require switching responsibilities within fractions of a second.

  • Remember these thought processes guide our movement.

  • That movement, especially within the penalty area, often requires a BURST of speed

Balancing these competing demands is very important, because the teams, players, and spectators won’t accept us missing this handball by saying “we were looking for offside”!!  
The Assistant Referee might be off camera but did flag for this handball and communicated the offence to the Referee on the radio.

Next Decision

We look at one last clip where, despite our best reading and anticipating, things just don’t play out like we predicted.

  • Have a look at the captions to appreciate the thought process of the Assistant Referee.

  • In boundary line decisions such as these, the AR wants to be ahead of play and not behind. Otherwise we surrender positioning for the next phase of play

  • Despite being surprised by what happened, we must recover both mentally and physically

  • Mentally, we must quickly move our focus to “what’s next” and get "On to the next one!!"

  • Physically we must increase speed and avoid slowing down to think.

The Assistant Referee does very well here to get to the goal line and be in position for the decisions that follow.

Winner - MLS Call of the Week #23 - Katy Nesbitt

Both were worthy, but Katy wins in the end.

Both were worthy, but Katy wins in the end.

MLS Call of the Week #24

Brother vs Sister in this week’s Call of the Week and if you don’t want to get into a family squabble then you can vote for Corey Parker’s decision in Cincinnati.

Eduardo Mariscal

Felisha Mariscal

Corey Parker

Who had Call of the Week #24?
Eduardo Mariscal - Portland v Chicago
Felisha Mariscal - Cincinnati v NY Football Club
Corey Parker - Cincinnati v NY Football Club