So last week I was surprised by the note that I was approved to be a referee at the 2015 State Cup, which is the three week tournament of all the best of the best teams in the state. I was given a U17 girls center and a U18 girls AR.

I should have known I was in for a long match when I arrived half an hour before my game only to find that the referee tent was not where it has been for the ENTIRE YEAR. Instead, it was stationed all the way on the southwest side of the fields. By the time I found it, it was about 10 minutes until kickoff. Great.

As my AR’s, I had a grade 7 and a grade 8. Good thing, as I had forgotten one of the key rules for State Cup – once a player has been substituted, then may not return to the game in that half.

Things started off ok, a quick goal by both Red and White teams within the first ten minutes, then it started slowly going downhill. Midway through the first half, I had a caution for Delaying the Restart for a Red girl that took too long with her throw-in. Granted, she did take WAAAY too long – I gave her the usual 6-8 seconds, then told her to hurry it up, then another 5 seconds, then whistled for the caution. After that though, her team’s coach wanted a quicker restart of EVERYTHING White did. That’s when I knew the second half was going to get dicey.

The second half saw six cautions, four of which were to Red, one of those was to the head coach. In order, they were White Unsporting Behavior (#6 late tackle), Red Dissent (#17), Red Dissent (Head Coach), White Unsporting Behavior (#4 late tackle), Red Unsporting Behavior (#21 running through White player from behind), and Red Unsporting Behavior (#3 late tackle). And that last one was more of an “orange” card than a yellow – borderline red, but since the studs of her cleats were down, I chose to go yellow.

The final was 3-3, but after the game I heard parents talk that the White team was eliminated from the tournament due to points. Doesn’t really matter to me, as I have no stake in either team.

The second game had me switch places with the grade 7 ref, and boy that game was physical. And it didn’t help that the ref’s body language really suggested that he didn’t want to be there. He called at least 75% of the fouls against the Red team, but in my opinion, the Black team was the one that should have been called for way more – or at least, more early in the game to set the tone. Instead, it very nearly became a blood bath, with two injuries near the end of the game that could have totally been avoided had the ref maintained control.

The final was 1-1, and Red was lucky to get a tie out of it. As for me, a mental note on what to avoid in a State Cup game in the future.

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