Tag: Assistant Ref

“I decided to, whatever people say, always stick to my approach” – Rodric Leerling

“I decided to, whatever people say, always stick to my approach” – Rodric Leerling

It felt like another satisfying game last weekend. A pretty good U17 match under nice Spring weather conditions. But not everyone would agree. As usual.

Once on the pitch, the home coach shook my hand and asked me if I hadn’t reffed them before this season. I confirmed but wasn’t sure which game exactly. He suddenly seemed to realize something and took his AR apart and started a secret looking conversation. Was he telling his club AR how to support me?

Maybe he remembered my stubborn way of reffing, not blindly following the (often biased) AR signals. So what would his advice be, exactly? I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but guessed he had just two options: either be very honest especially on off-sides, and thus gaining my confidence. Or wave the flag from kick-off on anything that looked suspicious. Again, I’m just guessing, but I assume he took the first option, for at least 60 minutes, right until the away team scored the well deserved equalizer (1-1). His flag was up and I heard shouts of “hands ref!” As I hadn’t seen anything, I signaled him to drop the flag. And he should know why, as the instructions were clear: no signals from the AR for fouls, especially in the box.

The home team soon after started wiping the floor with their opponents, scoring four more goals and I decided to call it a day after the official 80 minutes and score 1-5. The away team was complimenting me with a “terrific game”. The home coach, though, walked towards me clearly hesitating whether he would shake my hand. I didn’t wait for his decision, but just reached out to him, leaving him no choice. He started to say something about fouls I missed, but I immediately ‘overruled’ him saying I thought it was a great game, despite his teaming losing big time.┬áHe shouldn’t complain. He nodded and wished me a good weekend. See you around coach!

“How it feels to be rotation ref again” – Rodric Leerling

classic footballTo my own surprise I was assigned as AR1 to one more final play-off football game. A real final in which the winner would earn promotion to a higher U16 league. An appointment that doesn’t happen too often.

For the last four weeks, we worked as trio consisting of two 50+ and one 65+ ref. The first two had their turn as CR so the senior (in age) gets the final. Logical. Or?
Well, the oldest ref is acting in a lower ref league than his two assistants and didn’t show much power during his AR roles so far. Quitting warming-ups and not supporting the CR a lot during the two previous games. I was getting a little worried and took a daring step: I consulted the FA. They confirmed he got the CR role as part of being in rotation and it also was based on his performance during the past season. Nothing they could do about it.

I decided to behave like a pro and colleague, and not judge him prematurely just on his AR roles so far. He might have been hiding so far and just perform like a FIFA ref in this final.

He and his wife arrived late. They decided to take the bus for the last 35 km to do some sightseeing. My eyes went big but I refrained from any comments. Focus on the game. Lots of things went wrong from the start. One goal net had a whole in the back. The score board didn’t work properly and changed to 9:9 during first half. I had to shut it down at the start of the second half. But that was not the main thing. The CR just performed lousy. Let fouls go unpunished, had a terrible pace and followed most of the action on distance. No eye-contact with AR’s and basically ran the show on his own. And no fair self-reflection afterwards.

And who was receiving the scorn? Right, this AR1 walking the line with two sets of angry team coaches and bleachers full of parents. They got angrier during 2nd half when some heavy fouls were not even noted or just waved off. Both AR’s were losing it and lost concentration, just praying a finishing goal would end this 80 mins of torture. To our relief, the winning goal was scored 10 mins before regular time and we walked off the pitch as colleagues. Scorned by supporters from losing side, not being thanked by the losing coaches or players. And I even found a tweet later commenting our ‘lousy trio performance’ which included the Dutch FA.

Well, I don’t feel guilty, but it took me two days and a blog to get rid of the bad aftertaste. I had imagined this Season Finale totally different.