Kohl’s American Cup Soccer Tourney

So, I refereed several games this past weekend (3/29-30), 2 centers and an AR on Saturday, 3 centers on Sunday.

Saturday’s games weren’t bad – first game was a U12 girls game, nothing really out of the ordinary, game ended in a 1-1 tie, with both goals being scored on penalty kicks (one was a handball, the other was tripping).

Second game (U14 girls) was a handful. Team from Santa Barbara, CA, playing extremely physical. Warned a player twice about following through with the body way after the ball had moved on. Apparently, the player’s parent took exception to the warning (which was near the parents’ sideline) and complained to the referee tent during halftime that I was telling his daughter “don’t play so hard”. Riiiiiiight.

Third game, I was the AR for a U12 girls game. The center ref was having trouble remembering to look at his sidelines for offsides, so there were a couple of times I had to hold position and wave the flag to get his attention. However, nothing really was affected. In fact, multiple parents on my sideline seemed to have fun with it and asked me technical questions during the game about offsides, throw-ins, and specific fouls.

Sunday, all three of my games ended up being U14’s, only one of which was originally scheduled. The first was a referee change – one of the teams (green) had already been reffed by the referee scheduled and objected to having him again, feeling that he let too much go on. The other team (yellow) had two players out, one due to injury (fractured wrist), the other due to red card (dissent), so they had to play a man short (10 men). That game ended up as a blowout, 4-0 for green. Two yellow cards were issued, one for a reckless forearm, the other for a very late tackle.

The second game was also a blowout, but for the wrong reasons. This was a U14 girls’ game, and the blue team was well-represented by a large Hispanic/Mexican contingent of fans, who also derided any and all calls that went against them, including throw-ins! Blue wasn’t particularly stellar, winning 4-1, but one goal was an own goal by the red team, and the other was scored on a quick counterattack after red penalty kick was blocked by the keeper. Take away the OG and score the PK, and this game is 2-2. Also, blue had a player sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a blatently late charge, the second was for a tackle from behind endangering the safety of her opponent.

The last game was actually a really good game. U14 boys, blue vs white. Blue went up quickly 2-0 after the first half, and they were on another attack starting at midfield when I blew the halftime whistle. I was told in very angry voices that “we were going to score again, why did you stop it?” and I just simply replied, “It’s halftime. There is no extra time here.” In the second half, blue and white exchanged goals to put blue up 3-1 with about 10 minutes left, and that’s when everything changed. Blue was caught in an offside trap with THREE forwards offside. Flag went up, whistle blown, ball set quickly and kick taken before blue could set up. White outraced everyone to the ball, took control just outside the box on the left side of goal and beat the keeper with a nifty outside-of-the-foot shot into the bottom right corner. On the ensuing kickoff, blue took possession and did a pass back to their midfielders like usual, but white flooded blue’s half of the field with 7 players, leaving only their back three defenders. It only took two minutes to force a corner kick, and white beat the GK with a header off the corner into top right goal. Now, it’s 3-3 with about 6 minutes left. And for 5 of those minutes, it was just back-and-forth, no one really getting an edge on the other, and finally white decides to pull the desperation play off yet another offside trap (blue was caught offsides for the game about a dozen times, no kidding) and kicks deep to the right side of the field. One white player beats three blues to the ball, but the momentum carries him to the far side of the box away from goal. So, he turns, fakes one blue out, enters the box dribbling, beats the next blue player by putting the ball between blue’s legs, then attempts to spin and get around him, but blue reaches out and grabs his arm and jersey to prevent him from getting past. Flag up on the near side for infraction, whistle blown, PK given. White scores with 20 seconds left on the clock on the PK shot and ends the game a 4-3 winner.

I wish more tournaments had games like this. 🙂