Offside or not…..

So Sunday I was AR 1 on a State Final game for U18 girls.  The two teams were the U18 Les Bois United (LBU)Girls (Several time state champions) vs Kaos (Their first time to the show).  LBU’s coach Steve Lucas is also the women’s head coach for Boise State and is a well respected coach in the WAC.  Lucas approached myself and the center prior to the game and asked us about a set up he planned on running during the game.  He wanted our take on how we would call it…..I am glad he was smart enough to ask ahead instead of working us over during the game….

So here is the play in question:  They knew that Kaos would run an offsides trap on them.  (Kaos actually lived by this offsides trap).  LBU camped a player in the center of the field 5-10 yards offsides.  They would send a through ball from the midfield to the outside to a player running on to the ball from an onside position.  This player would carry the ball to the corner looking to play the ball in towards the 6-12 yard area to the player that was originally offsides but is now either onside by 2 players or behind the ball. 

The center and I both agreed that this was a ligament play and would be not be flagged unless the girl in the offsides position attempted to play the through ball or was still offside when she received the centering ball. 

Kao’s coach went nuts during the game saying that she can’t receive the centered ball because it is still the same play.  We explained to him she pulled herself out of the play by not playing the first ball and was now in an onside position when she played the centered ball.  Kao’s coach didn’t accept this and continued to rant for the next 40 minutes almost to the point of getting run from the game. 

Couple side notes on this:

  • LBU didn’t run this play until the second half when they were up 3-0
  • LBU scored twice directly off of this setup and missed 5+ scoring chances off it.
  • Kao’s coach complained the entire time but never made any coaching adjustments to it. 
  • I did flag the girl in the offsides position 3 times, once for making a move towards the ball and twice for still being offsides when the ball was played back into her.

So what do you guys think…..Is it all one play and she is offsides at any point in the play she is off or did we call it correctly…

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2 Responses to “Offside or not…..”

  1. CSR Says:

    Another knucklehead coach who doesn’t understand Law 11. At the time the ball was played over the top, the player in the offside position is not interfering with play, is not interfering with an opponent, and is not gaining an advantage from the position – so she cannot be whistled for an offside infringement. At that point, the AR must adjust his snapshot with the new position of the ball and the SLD – both of which are dynamic and constantly moving.

    The question that must be asked is AT THE TIME THE BALL WAS PLAYED BY A TEAMMATE, was this person in the center in an offside position and interfering with play, gaining an advantage, or interfering with an opponent? For the first ball over the top, the answer is no – play continues. Then. . .when the centering pass comes back in, this same player is now onside when she receives the ball – so she is onside and the flag stays down. So you guys did it correctly.

    Kaos’ coach’s arguement that “that she can’t receive the centered ball because it is still the same play” is laughable. As I mentioned, play is dynamic and the position of the ball and SLD constantly change and as such a player being in an offside position or not will change second-to-second. This is why being an AR – especially at high levels – requires a lot of focus. Now. . .if the ball over the top would bounce off a defender to this person in an offside position, then yes. . .you’d have to raise the flag because she gained an advantage from the position. I guess you could say that was part of the same play, but otherwise this he needs to better learn and understand Law 11. Also. . .in USSF’s “Lessons Learned” the theme all year regarding raising the flag for offside infringements is to give the benefit of the doubt to attacking soccer.
    I constantly find it amazing how many coaches, even at high levels, will live and die by the offside trap – and then to expect the AR to bail them out when the trap is inevitably beaten. Too many coaches teach offside trapping because it’s easier than teaching proper team defense.

  2. isualum Says:

    “Too many coaches teach offside trapping because it’s easier than teaching proper team defense.”

    I couldn’t have said it any better……

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