Soccer officials generally like to avoid having penalty kicks decide the outcome of a soccer match. For the uninitiated, a penalty kick is warranted when a defending player denies a goal scoring opportunity to the attacking team within the penalty area.
When teams have played the regular time allotted for a match and remain tied, the match goes to overtime periods for most high school competition. If no winner is decided but a winner must be determined for one team to advance, a penalty kick shoot-out is in order. In the shoot-out, each team has five players take penalty kicks against the opposing goalkeeper.
Whichever team scores the most wins. If it’s still tied after the first five, the shoot-out continues with single players from each team until there’s a winner.
From this explanation you can hopefully understand why officials prefer to avoid penalty kicks to determine a winner…but that does not mean referees give an unfair advantage to one team or another to avoid a shoot-out.
During a recent tournament for high school varsity teams, it was imperative that a winner be chosen to advance to the championship bracket or be relegated to the consolation bracket. Two of the three matches we officiated required a shoot-out to determine a winner. They were tied after regulation and went direct to penalty kicks as the rules didn’t allow overtime periods.
It is rather common for officials to award a direct free kick from just outside the penalty area instead of signalling a penalty kick to influence the outcome of a close match.
In three successive matches–two junior varsity and one varsity game–I awarded five penalty kicks. In both sub-varsity matches the penalty kicks (PKs) influenced the final result because the kickers scored goals against their opponent. In the varsity competition, the keeper stopped both shots but the opponent still won the match by making other shots on goal.
First, allow a definition. Standard transmissions enable a
driver to shift gears in a vehicle by depressing a clutch before changing from
one gear to the next. This is in opposition to the standard in most vehicles on
the road today: Automatic transmissions. Avoid confusing “standard issue”
automatic transmissions with standard or manual transmissions. I know, we can’t
call it a manual transmission because it implies only males can operate them. Malarkey!
It is my firm belief that driver education vehicles should
only be equipped with manually shifted standard transmissions. Anyone learning with
a manual transmission should be able to drive anything.
The tricky part was going from low to high range. You had to
coordinate pulling up the low/high lever on the gear shift correctly as you
changed during clutch depression. Many times, double clutching was required to
properly engage gears. Going down from sixth to fifth was also a slowing down challenge.
I learned to drive a farm tractor when I was 12 years old.
Knowing how to drive a standard enabled me to get a job driving flat bed trucks
for a lumber yard when I earned my driver’s license at 16. The trucks were 10-speeds
(not counting reverse or neutral) requiring you to start in first gear, low
range, and work your way up to fifth gear, then shift to high range and work
your way up from 6th to 10th gear to increase speed.
Technical stuff, I know, but learning to drive with a
standard transmission teaches you how to keep proper distances from vehicles in
front of you, especially on hills, and how to ensure you have enough room to
slow down and avoid collisions. The coordination to stop involves clutch,
shifting to neutral to disengage gears, and braking; all requiring conscious thought.
Most passenger vehicles with standard transmissions only have five speeds and
the shift pattern is tight compared to a larger truck’s gear shift. There’s
also a reverse gear set slightly apart from the shift pattern to avoid
accidentally shifting into reverse; that’s hard on the transmission.
Learning to drive with a standard transmission usually involves the grinding of a few gears as you get the hang of the pattern, clutch smoothness, and shift requirements. Try it sometime; some place safe.
For more than 20 years I have officiated high school soccer matches for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). My officiating career started while I was coaching my children when they played soccer.
Two of them played at the competitive or select level and it was important that there be at least one licensed official among the team’s parents. The reason: Too often there were not enough referees to conduct a match.
Yes, there was a shortage of officials 25 or more years ago, and today the problem is exacerbated by rude treatment. When players, coaches, and fans disrespect officials they risk the potential of shortages. Young (and older) referees only tolerate abuse for so long before quitting.
State associations are pleading for schools to tone it down and control unsporting behavior so more officials can be recruited.
What players, coaches, and soccer fans may fail to realize is the role of soccer referees.
The job is three-fold:
Make sure the game is played fair;
Make sure the game is played safe; and,
Respect the spirit of the game and keep it moving.
Lord knows I’ve considered hanging up the cleats several times, but the camaraderie of the pitch keeps me going…now more than 700 matches.