Meet the ‘sorry-ref’ – Rodric Leerling

Meet the ‘sorry-ref’ – Rodric Leerling

He did a pretty good job as 17-year old rookie ref. I shot some videos to see how he handled fouls and restarts and while doing that, I noticed something weird. He apologized for almost every decision he made.

He probably didn’t realize it himself, but I caught it on video: every time he blew the whistle and a player came to him asking what for, he used his hands in a gesture saying ‘sorry, but I have to’. It became a little sad after a while and it clearly weakened his position as umpire.

During half-time, we walked through some minor things and I asked him why he apologized for every major decision. Just as I suspected, he had no clue. I told him to be more brave and just blow the whistle for a foul, point to the spot for the retake and walk or run away to take his position. Saying ‘sorry’, or his typical hand gesture would lead to more questions and players’ efforts to undermine his judgement. He nodded and said he would take notice.

Another remarkable habit I noticed:  pointing to his whistle in a raised arm on every retake and corner. Basically telling players at every free kick to wait for his signal. He measured the right distance to the defense wall when necessary and then nothing. No signal. The retaker totally confused – ‘you clearly told me to wait for your signal, then why don’t you blow the whistle?’ Glad I still have the video clips. It should help him to clean up his act.

And while I started walking to the other side of the pitch during the last official minute of the game, he blew the whistle for the last time. 10 seconds too early, not taking into account the three subs and injury time. Why? Well, he would explain to me, some players were asking him how long they still had to play and he decided to punish them and call it a day even before official time. Ouch.


One thought on “Meet the ‘sorry-ref’ – Rodric Leerling

  1. Good mentoring! Never heard of a ref punishing players for asking how much time is left. We get asked that countless times, every single weekend – occasionally mildly irritating, but just part of the game.


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