It is so unfortunate when the outcome of a game is determined by questionable refs. It happened 3 times this weekend for my daughter's team. The refereeing in each game got progressively worse.
I am not one to complain about the refs, but I could not contain myself yesterday. I know that they are not professionals. I know that it is not easy to ref a game. I know that they take unnecessary abuse. Still, I needed to say something about the terrible refereeing at a tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
Game one featured a disabled young man at center ref. I was happy to see this guy putting himself out there when some in his situation would shelter themselves away. I thought to myself, that no one was going to ridicule this young man. I was wrong. The head coach from the other team was riding him all game long. On one play, the right halfback from the opposing team kicked a long pass to a wide open right winger. The ball was kicked too hard and went out of bounds. The line judge and the ref called for our team to throw it in. The head coach of the other team screamed at the ref. He was explaining that it was their ball. I was shocked, as I was trying to figure out how he could think that at all. None of our players were near the passer nor near the winger to cause a deflection. The ref made the mistake of approaching the opposing coach. They had a conversation and somehow the coach convinced the ref that it was their ball. The ref changed his call deep in our zone. This particular play did not impact the game, but other wishy washy no calls may have.
The line judge on the coaching side had a spring loaded arm. His flag kept going up non-stop. He called our team off sides 6 times in the first half. Three of the plays were legitimate offside, but three were not even close. An offensive player can move beyond the last defender after the ball is kicked. Our forwards know this and aggressively time their runs to get behind the defender when the ball is kicked. The line judge clearly did not know the rules because he called our girls off as soon as they gained position even though the ball was already in the air. The most painful offsides call came late in a 0-0 game. Our right halfback made a great run with the ball and connected on a hard shot. The goalie made a good save, but deflected it to our striker who buried it into then back of the net. The line judge called the striker offsides. She was not offsides at any point as she tailed the play and she was not involved in the play until the deflection. A player is only offsides if they are a material part of the play. We should have won 1-0.
I had to step in a coach because the head coach was as sick as can be the entire night before the game. As the girls were warming up the game, the ref approached me and introduced himself with a slight Irish accent. I was thrilled to hear the accent thinking that we finally have a ref who knows the game. He was fairly short man had a red beard and a reddish-greyish hair pulled back in a small ponytail. I thought to myself that he looked a bit like a leprechaun. This is going to be good luck.
The game started and within the first two minutes, the ref called a foul on our team, then another and another. In a closely contended game of two very equal teams who have played each other many, many time, we had 5 fouls and the opposing team had none. I yelled out to the ref that the fouls were 5-0 to give him a gentle reminder that he needed to call the game evenly. There were no fouls for 10 minutes. Then foul number 6 came right outside the box. When the whistle was blown, I thanked God, that he finally called one against the girl who was manhandling our player. I was wrong, he called the foul against our player. Our team formed a wall about 10 yards away, but the ref moved them back another 5 yards. He did not walk off the distance. He quickly blew the whistle and the ringer guest player from the other team buried the ball into the corner. It was 1-0. The ref was deciding the game.
Two minutes later, foul number 7 happened in the center of the field about 40 yards away. Again it was a questionable foul. We moved the defense up which forced the offense to move with us. The ringer guest player served up a high looping ball over the players and toward CC. CC had to made a quick decision. Run up and catch the ball in traffic before it bounced or wait on the line in front of a full size goal. She decided to run up a fraction too late. The ball bounced right in front of her and over her head. The score was 2-0. CC should have saved it, but again the ref was deciding the game.
Our girls did not give up. Our smallest player made a nice run into the box. She was met by the guest player, who throw her down like a rag doll. No foul. Our top scorer made a run 1v1 with the goalie, but before she could get a shot off she was tackled from behind. No yellow card, no foul, no penalty kick. "Play on" the ref said.
The final tally on fouls was 10-0. The final score was 3-0. The opposing team scored all three goals on penalty kick plays. This ref decided the game.
Two other things this egotistical ref did.
1) His whistle broke. So he stopped play and walked over to the side judge to get a replacement. Our assistant coach asked if he was going to add game time. The ref did not reply in words, but his actions said it all. He walked back into position at a snails pace. When he got to his position he waited a few seconds for dramatic effect then blew his new whistle.
2) At the end of the game, he gave a yellow card out to one of our players on a very questionable foul. He took about 2 minutes to book the player. He told the player that she was stupid for causing her team 2 minutes of time. He did not add any time onto the game.
The Main Point
I can deal with bad calls. I can deal with bad refs. I cannot deal with the inflated ego of a bias ref. It is a shame when the ref decides the outcome of a game played by teams that have worked so hard to prepare for a game.
We had 2 ties and a loss and did not advance. We would have advanced to the semi-finals even with the loss in the last game if the offsides goal counted in the second game.