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Tips for doing lone center at U-littles

Discussion in 'Referee' started by Barciur, Oct 9, 2012.

Moderators: IASocFan, MassachusettsRef
  1. Barciur

    Barciur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    Poland
    I've been a ref for a year now and while I feel fairly comfortable at doing center at any age level up to U-15 and AR, the area I'm struggling quite a bit in is, maybe to some surprisingly, the lone center at U-10's U-11's.

    I know a lot of you might have done those games, so can anyone share some useful tips and just general advice on how to handle those games? It's really difficult to catch offsides being just one person and you simply can't see whether the ball really crossed the line or not unless you're there. It's also impossible to follow everything as closely since you have to run everywhere and not have assistants with you.

    So just in general, what kind of helpful tips and advice could you give me to help me handle those U-little games where I'm the only one there?
     


  2. sjquakes08

    sjquakes08 Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Country:
    United States
    It's a hard one, for sure. First tip is run your ass off, obviously. Offside is going to be difficult, of course. With older players, I'll usually say to the captains something along the lines of "I assume you guys understand the unreliability of calling offside with a single referee, but I will do my best." However, that's probably not really appropriate with the younger players. Perhaps use your whistle a little more liberally on ball in/out of play situations than you normally would, and then make sure to emphasize to the players to play to the whistle, as it's very possible that you might miss some of those. Other than that, I don't have anything other than again, you'll have to run a lot. Good exercise :)
     
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  3. SA14mars

    SA14mars Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Country:
    United States
    Not the same thing but here's what I do in a men's solo:

    1) Run, run, run. Even if its in place or in circles, run. If you slow down its just that much harder to speed back up and having to change from a walk to a full sprint just kills you in these games. Also run so you can maximize your view of play (usually that means wider).

    2) Stay with either a) the second to last defender OR b) the first attacker (e.g the one closest to goal), whichever is closer to the ball. If the ball is ahead of both, stay level with the ball.

    3) Realize you are human and there is virtually no way to fully cover the entire field by yourself for the whole game. Do the best you can and learn from your mistakes.

    Solos are hard but they can teach you a lot. Good luck!
     
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  4. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Pray for lines you can see . . .

    More seriously, for OS accept that you won't have a perfect view and do the best you can. That includes anticipating what is about to happen (which is admittedly harder at that age).

    Remember it's just a game . . . no one is getting a scholarship based on this game.

    It sounds like you aren't drafting club assistants -- if you're having trouble gauging in and out, make each team give you one, and teach them how to tell when the ball is all the way out. It won't make it perfect, but will help when you aren't close enough.
     
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  5. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    I am not really an authority to answer this question as I am not an official.

    However, I did officiate a lot of friendly games with no linesmen who can make any real calls including offside. Also in youth games in the CJSL if the official did not show up the games are not replayed at another date. You have to agree on someone to do the game.

    I did a lot of those games because I could divorce myself from my team and my club at those times. You have linesmen, but they can only call of the ball is out and by which team. I could even over rule them on that if I saw it differently.

    Mistakes on offside mostly happen on long passes.

    The main reason why it happens as I see it. Is not where the receiver is after the pass is made, but where the receiver is as the pass is made.

    Linesmen position near the farthest player up field. What they have to do if they are calling offside is watch the dribbler, and or hear when the dribbler hits that pass. If the receiver is on side at the time when the pass is made it is not offside. No matter how far past the last defender the receiver is when he actually plays the ball. That is also what the center official should do.

    He can be 15 yards past the last defender and be onside if he left as the long pass was made.

    I think linesmen miss a lot of onside passes, and call them off side because they don't always see when the dribbler makes the pass.


    As a player you can tell when the dribbler is going to lose the ball. So that is when you can start moving in the other direction. Just think about your off ball positioning as a player would if your officiating. Thinking about your off ball positioning is a mental thing you will get less tired if you do that at least I did.
     
  6. fire123

    fire123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    I have called U-9 to U-12 or even older age group single center. 8v8 or 11v11.
    For offside, if the ball is in possession of the attacking team for a while, the trick is to turn your head often, look at the ball and look at the attacking player in the most forward position, back and forth, back and forth.
    If the ball just changed possession from one team to another, once the ball is kicked the other way, turn quickly and look for the next to last defender. At first, you may not know which side of the field to find him/ her but as the game goes on, you will notice which defender likes to play further back, which attacker likes to push up high, look in the direction they normally position themselves.
    You can not catch the very close offside, you may miss the one where attacker runs onto the ball from onside position but you can catch most. Coaches and players will adapt to the close ones, they will hold back longer. At the younger age group, they are not that sophisticated on timing their run anyhow.

    For ball in and out of touch, for the close one that dances on the line, wait a little bit, don't call it early, wait and make sure you can see the ball completely out-of bound. If the ball goes out completely by an inch and you don't blow your whistle, what does it matter, if one side can dribble that close and take advantage of that, my hat off to them. Most of the time, it will be in or out completely.
    Wait for players to indicate to you if it was in or out. Younger kids are pretty fair, they will stop when the ball goes out and the one who should get the throw in will go grab the ball. On the rare case where they dispute, make your judgement call to the best of your knowledge. For young kids a throw in will result in possession of one team half of the time anyway.
     
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  7. fire123

    fire123 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    This is the worst advice, stay with the ball or last defender as a single center?
    It's not humanly possible, even with U-10. What if you do that on one end of the field and the ball is kicked the other way? Run like heck to get to the other end? What if the ball is kicked back again?
    You will quickly look silly trying to run from one end to the other and never get there.
    You can't not do that for the whole game, let alone 2, 3 consecutive games.
     
  8. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    I tried to position myself always 8 yards from the ball who ever team had the ball. Sort of like I was a wing mid but inside the field instead of on a flank.

    But I did have a slight problem when the ball was at the goal line on a flank. We taught our players not to react if the ball went over the goal line, but to make the the in swinger cross any way. Let the official make the call if the ball was on the field or off the field. Most of the time I could tell if I was officiating the game.
     
  9. JimEWrld

    JimEWrld Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    As Socal said, hope that the field is in decent shape and that you can see the lines. I don't really do U-little solos any more but I will occasionally get a HS game or two solo. The biggest piece of advice I have is to accept that you WILL NOT see everything. Such is the failure of a solo referee. As to keeping with the play, I will still try to stay 10-15 yards from posession, though I am more likely to extend this when I am by myself (to see the bigger picture).

    Anticipate! If you have played soccer, use your knowledge to figure out where the ball is likely to go next. This is much harder at U-10/11, but in that case, assume the ball is always going to end up going towards goal. Make sure your head is constantly up. If a player is not under duress, steal a glance at the defensive line and get a "picture" of where everyone is. You should also adapt to the skill. If one team dominates, you should be cheating more towards their offensive third. If it is kickball, don't follow in a long ball, etc...

    For throw-ins and gk/ck, make sure you are as close as possible and if it is a questionable in/out, I will tell the kids to keep playing or I will blow my whistle. You can gauge the reactions of the kids/parents/coaches but DO NOT rely solely on them. They may have the best intentions but I find are wrong over half the time on close in/outs (plus there is some bias).

    Finally, cheat! When I work HS games, if they are on a football field, I will use the football yard markings to gauge offside. On a fk, I will get deep and even with the 2LD to get the best view of the OS line. Also, use player reactions if you are unsure. Thought you saw a handball but aren't sure? See if the "guilty" player reacts.

    Finally, finally. Run! You are less likely to be hassled on close calls if you are "right there". Bust your tail in the game and you will be amazed how much more you can see but also how much less you will hear.
     
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  10. oldreferee

    oldreferee Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Tampa
    1) Be sure you don't step on any of them (I'm only partly joking)
    2) Be the smartest and hardest working "soccer" person at the field that day ("Oh, we were sooo lucky to have HIM as our referee")
    3) Deal with all obstacles to the kids having a great day (like a parent or coach who CANNOT believe that you didn't see that ball was over the line)

    Enjoy.
     
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  11. Scrabbleship

    Scrabbleship Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    Are your U10-U11s being played on a full-size field, or on a small-sided field? Just curious. Here in Toronto, U11 and below and on a smaller field with a single CR, everything above is full size with a full crew.

    Strangely though, I discovered during the year that the association next to Toronto play U11s on a full field. Figured there would be some sort of consistency within the city/state.
     
  12. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Here are my tips for solo matches at the younger levels:

    I dont use club lines at all. I always hated getting dragged into doing it when my kids were playing so I vow not to use them and so far it works out.

    Now, YMMV, but I enlist the two head coaches at the beginning of the match by saying the following: "Guys, you know throw-ins at thislevel are no big deal, so if you dont mind if the ball goes out raise your hand and I'll call direction." I have yet to have a problem.
    I then go over to the parents and give them the speech about how I hated to be enlisted to be a line runner when I was a parent, so I'm going to take it one step further. Just yell "out" when all of the ball crosses all of the line. I'll call direction." Haven't had a problem with that either.

    On the OS, make sure you look around to find the defender still talking to the GK before you call the breakaway back. And at the u-10's, the OS calls kind of present themselves to you, especially when the coaches and parents alert you to the players in the OS position!!!

    The most important calls to make in any game are the fouls. Make sure you get your foul calls correct. That will go along way to helping you with the coaches and the parents when you blow the
    OS call once in a while.

    On corners, I go stand on the end line to watch everything from there. But, you MUST be able to shift into a high gear if there is a counter attack. However, for the most part you can run faster than anyone dribbling a ball at that age group.

    You will get a ton of credit from the coaches and the parents IF you put out a top notch effort on the lower age groups. They are so used to not getting good (or older referees) that if they see someone busting it out there, they will treat you nicely and with respect. (again, YMMV). I can't tell you how many times I have been complimented by parents and coaches after a match at that level. I only do a handful of them a year, but I treat the players, coaches, and parents with respect and it seems to pay off. The games are under an hour, and if you can't but a full and best effort in for an hour, you shouldn't be doing games at any level.

    And be alert for crazy stuff. The kind of stuff that makes you say "Did I just see that?" Like a player just reaching up in the PA and grabbing the ball out of the air. Like a player starting to cry when you blow the whistle and call her for a foul. Like fire engine player changes. I once counted the right number of u-10's on the field to start the half, but when I blew the whistle the GK decided that was a good time to head for the bathroom. Expect the unexpected, put out the effort, and you will be rewarded with a good time!
     
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  13. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Yep, Atlanta
    +1 to everything Jim, OldRef and Rufus had to say. I had never done anything below U11 until I got drafted to do six U10 boys solos one day in a tournament last month. It was a lot of fun!
     
  14. Barciur

    Barciur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Country:
    Poland
    Thanks for all the advice so far, I have one more specific question; cards. How do you handle cards at this level? Will you still strictly follow red card for DOGSO for example or yellows for bad fouls at U-10/U-11 or more likely to talk to players? I guess you should technically give a red for a DOGSO, but what is a DOGSO at that level anyway? :eek:

    I think after doing only a handful so far, I noticed the thing that you said about the fouls. I wasn't very strict with them as I like to see the game played, but I've had problems with that because parents and coaches didn't like that and it's easier to get hurt at that age as well. So I think I'm gonna be stricter on fouls at that age level than at any level otherwise and hope it all works out.

    As for the size, it's usually small sided 8v8 at that age with one CR, so that's a positive. I once had a situation of a U-14 match on a full field where.. none of the other officials showed up, I was supposed to be doing lines, but of course I had to do CR all by myself. Incidentally, that was my first CR ever, so nice baptism of fire. But everyone was OK with that because they knew it was an abnormal situation.

    I do find it difficult to use the reaction sometimes because then it might look like I'm using parents and then they might become biased etc. Most of the time it's fine, but I don't wanna get caught out by that.

    As for expect the unexpected, I find that a lot even up to the U-14 girls level, as an AR. The ball is going nicely to the GK so you don't feel pressed to run to the line as fast as you can to judge if it crossed or not, because naturally the keeper will pick it up, right? Yeah, nah. I think more often than not a girl U-13 or 14 GK is likely to drop it and you have a weird situation etc. So definitely at that level that is a challenge that one might not expect if they reffed at higher levels.

    Anyway thanks a lot for all the advice, it's very helpful, and if anyone else has more to add or share interesting stories about lone CR, keep them coming.
     
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  15. njref

    njref Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I usually run a little to one side to help with the offsides. But I would not try to stay even with the 2d defender, stay a little behind the play so when the ball reverses course every 6 seconds, you are still in position. Don't get too close to the ball, it can go anywhere when a u-little kicks it.

    Also, never run backwards, you will end up running over some 3 foot kid.
     
  16. JimEWrld

    JimEWrld Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    For U-10/U-11 there is a 99.99999% chance you will never need to show a card. That said....

    I had a tournament game between two teams fighting to get into the final. It was U10 Boys and it was a high-energy game with the parents being very vocal and both coaches screaming their lungs out (not at me thankfully). Red went ahead 2-1 with about 10 mins left and reds coach I swear was celebrating more than the kids. White was not too thrilled about the player or coach celebration. At this point, I warned both coaches to tone it down as they had started to yap at each other. White evened the game with about 4 mins left in the second half and the white forward who scored ran up the GK and wagged his finger in his face. This for me was the 0.00001%. I showed the kid a YC for UB because a talking to probably would not have been enough and there was no way his coach would have chastised the behavior. That calmed the game down real quick.

    This situation for me was unique. Most fouls at this age level are careless, the kids are just clumsy. You may have an occasion where you would award a yellow, but instead you give a talking to or you let the coach know that the player needs to "cool down." Very rarely, you may feel there is no recourse but to give the card. Just be aware of your league rules (do they allow YCs to U-littles?)

    As to DOGSO, I have never seen anything close to DOGSO in a U-little. That is not to say it doesn't happen, but keep in mind the 4Ds (Distance, Direction, Distance, Defenders) These are pretty hard to achieve in a U-little game because the players simply are not that skilled. IF I saw a DOGSO, I would probably talk to the coach and let him know that player # commited a SO offense and should not be playing the rest of the game. I doubt I would actually show the card though.
     
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  17. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    You need to know the expectations of the league you are doing and whether they expect cards or not. Some may expect cautions and dismissals if necessary, but expect them to be managed in a discussion with the player and coach rather than by shownig the plastic. As others have said, the conduct warranting a card at this age is pretty rare -- but it does happen.

    And I think you pretty much nailed DOGSO . . . not much at all is going to be an obvious goal scoring opportunity in those games.
     
  18. oldreferee

    oldreferee Member

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    Tampa
    Axiom for controlling temperature in U-little:
    "The younger the players, the more the temperature is controlled by the sidelines."

    Especially when adults ref U-little, there is an instant dynamic that the players all understand:
    adults and kids.
    Make the day about the kids, as much as possible.
    If an adult wants to enhance the kids' day (say by coaching or cheering), cool.
    If an adult wants to detract from or take over the kids' day (in any way, really), deal with them.

    In U-little, if a coach (or mom) goes nuts, of course the kids are going to follow along.
    Deal with the adult. Don't let it get that far.
    Where I live, I don't even have to fill out paperwork for tossing a parent ;)
    Nothing tells a bunch of 10 yr olds to settle down more than tossing an adult from a game.

    All that said, sometimes a card is a card.
    (note: some leagues have ROC against red at U-very-little.)
     
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  19. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    In my years of doing games, I don't think (or I can't remember) showing a card to a u-little player. I have done what other posters have suggested and told the coach what had transgressed and what they can do about it. I have gotten a coach sent away for a long time for trying to go after the center in a u-9 match.
     
  20. iron81

    iron81 Member+

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    For me, it's about 2%. (DOGSO for U11B last week)

    This was a competitive league that specifically made provisions for DOGSO being a red card and suspension and specified a $25 fine for a red card down to U8. I certainly hope 8 year olds aren't the ones paying the fine.

    Most of the comments in that thread were supportive in theory of sending off U11s.
     
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  21. oldreferee

    oldreferee Member

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    Holy CR@P!
     
  22. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

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    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Yep, Atlanta
    I think this is a question of defining "U-little." For me that's U10 and below. Once you get into U11 competitive, you're into real soccer. Everything from there on is a sliding scale of "what the game requires" right up to U19.
     
  23. blueboy

    blueboy Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    I would not enlist the coaches or parents to "help" call ball out. During your checking of equipment and passes with each team, the coaches are almost always present. I tell the players that if the ball goes out and back in, but they don't hear a whistle, to keep playing. I then tell each coach that at this age, chacnes are the throw in won't make a difference in the outcome of the game. So if I miss one for their team, I'll probably also miss one for the other team - it just happens. I would always stay near the ball, as probably 99% of the fouls will be around the ball. For offside, do the best you can. The most important thing, as the players, coaches, and parents really don't have a lot of experience with the game, is to make a quick, decisive call with appropriate voice and body language that shows you have absolutely no doubt in what you just called. This also applies to all games at any level - be decisive and make sure your voice and body language show you are correct.
     
  24. JimEWrld

    JimEWrld Member

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  25. refontherun

    refontherun Member

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    Georgia
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    I remember giving a caution in a U10B tournment final a while back. As an attacker started going away from an opponent, the player did an angled, jumping tackle and caught the kid with cleats in the back of the ankles. From his reaction, the attacker didn't appear to be hurt, but it was still quite dangerous and could have turned out much worse. At a higher level, it might have been red, but everyone seemed content with the caution.

    RE: DOGSO. I could see a kid knocking a goal bound shot down with a hand, but is it deliberate or reflex? They all rotate at keeper at that age. In fact, the league has a rule stating if a player plays in goal, he/she must spend and equal amount of time as a field player during the same match. When I coached U10, no player spent more than a quarter of the match in goal to give me more flexibility with subs.

    I have seen VC at U10 before. I had a kid take a swing at another once. He sat the rest of the match. Actually had a young girl referee send off a player when he started pushing down (with extended arms) every opponent he came across.
     
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