Tag: soccer referee

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. Continue reading “Meet the ‘sorry-ref’ – Rodric Leerling”

After talking to the doctor and my physiotherapist ….. – Rodric Leerling

After talking to the doctor and my physiotherapist ….. – Rodric Leerling

It’s finally time to get into physical action again! A gradual build-up of physical exercise is on the roster after talking to the specialis this week. Continue reading “After talking to the doctor and my physiotherapist ….. – Rodric Leerling”

The orthopedist finally showed his face and left again – Rodric Leerling

The orthopedist finally showed his face and left again – Rodric Leerling

The student doctor invited me in and left me again sitting in a small room. He had to consult his superior and left me waiting. Consulting the actual specialist who hadn’t shown his face yet despite my third visit to his assistant.

But just before the student left me, I suggested the orthopedist to come and see me this time. Which he did. But the questions he asked made me wonder if he really grasped the situation. He couldn’t find any mechanical cause to the swelling. Neither on the X-ray, nor on the MRI could he find anything that could be the root of the swelling. His job was done. He was going to refer me to a rheumatologist to see if he could find the cause of the inflammation. Goodluck and have a nice day.

It felt like a cold shower. After eight weeks of blood tests, x-rays and various medication, I was back to square one. At home, I had the urge to call my GP, and ask his opinion as he mentioned (non-classic) rheuma as possible cause, but he was on hols. I instead called my insurance company what to do. They suggested to have a sports medical consult, in the same hospital. I only needed a referral from the orthopedist or my GP. The latter being on hols, I called the orthopedist’s assistant. To my big surprise, he refused to refer me to his colleagues at the sports unit. No explanation, sorry we can’t be of help.

So now we wait for another week till my GP is back. Ask for a referral and a ‘2nd opinion’. That’s 12 weeks since the knee started swelling. I have given it a proper rest, I would say, but still no changes. Oh, and the rheumatologist can see me late September. Maybe I should give them a call as well.


“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.¬†He shouldn’t complain. He nodded and wished me a good weekend. See you around coach!

“Proud to ref the best Dutch U16 players” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, CoolBrandsPeople, Sportief Westfriesland.

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.

“Changes in football: great to see more female refs” -Rodric Leerling

“Changes in football: great to see more female refs” -Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, Sales Power Provider, RefRod, CoolBrandsPeople, Sportief Westfriesland.


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.

“How I was Treated in the Week of the Ref”- Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, RefRod, Sportief Westfriesland

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.

“A Sudden Flash-back to My first Ref game” – Rodric Leerling

“A Sudden Flash-back to My first Ref game” – Rodric Leerling


My first ref coaching game is on the roster for this weekend. It brings back memories of my first official game as FA ref back in the winter of 2004. I was assigned to a ref coach I never met before. We chatted in his car on our way to the U14 game. I told him had been reffing U12 games at the local club for two years so I felt quite relaxed. On top top that, I wasn’t that young anymore, I even could be these kids’ dad.

The game is still fixed in my memory after 12 years. I was in control but in second half, after the away team scored a goal, out of the blue, one home player flipped and started strangling his opponent, throwing him on the ground. I was completely taken by surprise, in kind of shock but instinctively tried to intervene. Other people jumped in too and could barely stop him from suffocating his opponent. I showed him my first red card, which made him even madder and had to be dragged off the pitch by three adults.

Because of the sudden incident I totally forgot what happened shortly before and what the re-start should be. I looked around to find my assessor and he nodded to the centre point. Of course, I totally forgot, a goal was just scored. I finished the game shortly after and walked back to my locker room. My coach predicted a knock on the door shortly after. It only took 2 minutes and, behold, there was the home coach. If we could talk about the red card. We refused to withdraw the red card despite the story of the opponent having challenged him.

I was happy I had a coach with me who helped me to look through the complex situation. Let’s hope things won’t get out of hands this bad on my first coach game. Not for me, but for the new rookie referee.

“How some Assessors kindly announce themselves” – Rodric Leerling

Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, RefRod, Sportief Westfriesland

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.

“Explaining new Football Rules: Deliberate vs Accidental” – Rodric Leerling

Image to illustrate my blog on reffing FC Utrecht-Willem II U16 teams, Jan 2016
Rodric Leerling, Leerling.biz, RefRod, Sportief Westfriesland

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.