To my surprise and excitement, I was assigned to another pro U16 game this season.
Only disappointment was the different game location. Due to some Christmas event it wasn’t in a real football stadium this time, but just at the neighboring amateur football club.
I can hear you think: hey, it’s the game, stupid. I know, but at 3pm with fog, in mid December and darkness closing in fast, you need good lights. Unfortunately that was not the case at this club with just basic training flood lights, leaving the middle parts of the pitch in twilight. Especially the goal areas were tricky at times.
But there was no way back, despite comments from the away coach (a former pro player) complaining he at times couldn’t see where the ball was. Glad I spotted most fouls though and had pretty good AR’s working the lines.
Everyone happy the game finished in a good manner despite the poor conditions. Especially the home team, who won and beat the table leaders for once.
It was a real pleasure to watch the 16 year young girl ref, acting with confidence this weekend. A promising performance at a boys U17 game where the rookie, long-haired, slim girl controlled the game from start to finish.
The boys looked surprised at first but once she started running and recognizing their fouls, they showed respect and behaved. With a slighr hick-up early 2nd half when a player was tackled and reacted lashed back. Suddenly two players were pushing their heads against each other and the ref clearly was holding back where shw should intervened and showb yellow. it didn’t blow over and at the free kick the ball was replaced by the fouled player. again a yellow card would be appropriate. I couldn’t resist and hit my chest to signal the neeed for cards. She picked it up and recovered quickly by taking xontrol again.
In our evaluation, we talked about the incidents and what went through her mind. It happened to me often and more than once realized I just didn’t have the guts to penalize more than one player. Told her that frankly to comfort her. It’s all very human.
People sometimes ask me what I do for a living. No, it’s not sailing and while refereeing is just my way of letting off steam, during weekdays I’m an all-round media sales guy and in essence a story teller.
I am passionate about media concepts in any shape or form. I am interested in people and their communication skills. Especially the tools they use to convey a message. From storytelling around the campfire to today’s social media, technology has come a long way, but people’s emotions and social interests have stayed the same. I know how to use all tools available today to tell other people’s story and get resonance.
I’ve experienced an exciting journey through the colorful media landscape since I left university in 1988. From a small media rep house to the world’s largest news magazine, working through dotcom bubbles, mediabuying and outdoor advertising on ski slopes, to my career dream of living and working in the USA. I spearheaded the concept of crowdsourcing whereby video content is collected for international brands. Developed native advertising concepts, working with social media video stars to promote brands, and currently helping a start-up in the HR sector.
Key to all this: I like to tell great sales stories. Find the right listeners and make them respond to the pitch. It could be your story. Need sales power? Call or email me. Over the years, I’ve built up a large business network in various industry sectors and use social media to sustain it with blogs, tweets and managing forums on LinkedIn.
The 15-year old rookie ref had a fair U17 game to handle. Boys slightly older than himself. But he did a good job despite being slightly timid and shy.
As experienced ref, it’s interesting to notice how some coaches react once they notice a rookie ref is assigned to their game. The smarter ones, seeing me too, realize there is a ref coach accompanying him and are careful what to say and how to behave. The less smarter one play the intimidation card and get booked (by me).
The rookie ref noticed most of the fouls, but missed a few tackles in the 1st half. It even happens to me. But when the young ref noticed a sub entering the field without a shirt number, he made note of it and asked their coach for an explanation during half time, with me present. The away coach mumbled something about shirts still at home, in the washer etc. But decided to get even and pay him a return visit, just when I was getting my tea. I noticed him walking to the locker room, thinking he would confirm the shirts being sorted. But instead he told him off, telling him he had a bad game so far, not noticing tackles and his players getting injured as result. My pupil ref looked shocked and intimidated as I missed the first part of his lecture.
When I walked to him, the less smarter coach looked at me and asked “what?” as I pointed to the exit. He will hear from us this week and hopefully become smarter, but also politer and more respectful towards rookie refs.
This week, starting last Saturday, everyone in the Netherlands working with referees is invited to issue a special ‘thank you’. It might still happen to me, but nothing noticeable last weekend.
I had a busy day assisting a rookie ref at 10:30 and was rostered to ref my own game at 3pm. I just made it driving from one game to the next to be told my game was 20mins late.
The rookie ref had a pretty good U13 game, despite start-up problems checking the player passes. My U19 game was the last on the schedule. The pitch didn’t look very appealing and after almost a full season on astro turf, I was now facing playing on grass which hadn’t been mowed for some days. On top of that the two teams had similar jerseys and the home team had one alternative color but without numbers. According to the rules I should have refused, but took the risk.
Whether it was the long grass preventing a good passing and control of the ball or just two teams that didn’t like each other, I will never know, but it turned out to be a real ugly game. I had to step on the brake regularly resulting in comments from one coach I was too strict and from the other I was tolerating too much.
Towards the end the game things almost got out of hand after a nasty foul. I blew the whistle for a free kick but the players decided they would like to start their own party. At least 8 players including both goalies started pushing each other but I couldn’t tell who started it as he had no shirt number. How stupid of me! And the ‘numberless’ team captain even asked me why I didn’t issue more cards for the brawl. Well, I couldn’t tell to whom unless I would have to point out players and ask their names.
I had my share of ‘ref bashing’ in the Week of the Ref. Putting it all aside and back to work. Next week a nice U16 pro game was assigned to me. Trust that will be played under better conditions.
It’s not quite their habit to introduce themselves. As ref you tend to recognize them though, walking around your pitch with a notebook. Making notes when you made a call, take a free-kick position or other things happening during the match.
This time, however, the assessor made himself known. While I was doing my warming-up he came to me for a chat. About the weather, my game expectations etc. and wishing me a good game. But he did gave me a stern look when I walked off the pitch, looking at my socks pulled down due the warm weather.
And then on top of that the game didn’t start as I wanted it, and normally agree with both teams: 5mins before the game I will collect you at the lockers. The away team told me they would stay on the pitch after the warming-up as it was too far to walk back. Ok, fine with me. But the home team had to change their jerseys and made the walk back just when I headed for the pitch. No brownie points for starting on time, that’s for sure.
The game was pretty fair and ended in a 1-1 draw. I only had to issue 3 yellow cards, all for shirt pulling after giving several verbal warnings. And then the assessor was there again. I made a complaint about the stupid late start and he said he would have to make a point about it in the report. But, overall, it was a very good game. He had to agree with all my decisions and thought I had full control and was clearly at ease. Which I was. No mentioning about the socks.
We will have to see the official assessor report first, but one thing I know for sure: I didn’t perform differently because of the assessor. I might keep my socks up during warming up, though. With Ref Report nr.1 in the pocket it’s a better start than last year, for sure.
The new footie season has only just started and I’ve already issued two red cards. Both for similar fouls, by the way. This weekend it was a U17 player taking his opponent down just before the box. With no more defenders before him, the attacker had only the goalkeeper in front of him and positioned himself in a strong goal scoring opportunity.
The defender claimed he was playing the ball and accidently also clipped his opponent. Well, young man, the ball wasn’t going the direction of the tackle and you took him down from behind, a rather clumsy way to try to play a ball in my opinion.
He walked off the pitch, swearing and hitting the boarding, probably to demonstrate everyone it was not him who made a mistake, but the referee. The consequent free kick (not a penalty) would go in as well. The sent-off player (or his coach) could have started a formal discussion with me referring to the new FIFA rules. And what if the foul would have been two meters further towards the goal and inside the box? Should I not have issued just a yellow card and a penalty kick (double-punishment) or maintain the triple-punishment rule? The answer must be ‘no’ as IFAB clearly says: “only players committing accidental fouls that deny a goalscoring chance will now be cautioned instead” and this was no accidental foul, but a clear “deliberate foul“.
Thinking about it again when filling in the foul report, I learned about this important distinction and will need it, no doubt, at a later stage. I can almost feel there are more red cards coming.