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From the VSOA Rules Interpeter

October 26, 2016

I have been asked to send a note about the offside rule.  Here it is as written in the book.

A player is offside and penalized if, at the time the ball touches or is played by a teammate, the player is involved in active play and interferes with play or with an opponent or seeks to gain an advantage by being in that position.  A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.


Gaining an advantage by being in that position-

A player who plays the ball that rebounds to him/her off a goal post or the crossbar after having been in an offside position, or a player who after being in an offside position plays a ball that rebounds to him/her off an opponent, who has not deliberately played the ball or made a deliberate save.

In summary, if a player is offside and a shot rebounds to them from a crossbar or goal post or save/rebound from the keeper is considered offside.  A player who is offside and receives a ball that a defender deliberately plays (header that skips or muffed kick attempt or mistake pass) is not considered offside.  Also a player cannot come from an offside position to challenge a play and thus gain an advantage.  This is also considered offside. 

I hope this helps.


October 21, 2016

Dear Fellow Officials,

As always, please keep in mind that I have this sent out by the secretary/treasurer to all officials.  Please do not reply to the message.  If you have a question or comment, please send me a note at martyadamsvt@gmail.com or call me at 802-384-7881.

The regular season ends tomorrow (Saturday 9/22) and the tournament brackets are released on Monday.  The playoffs start Tuesday and Wednesday.  Please keep in mind the OT is different in the tournament.  Below I’ve copied in the OT procedure from the VPA soccer guide.  The periods are 15 minutes each as opposed to the regular season 10 minute sessions.  Proper protocol for setting up for the penalty kicks should include the following.  The officials decide which goal will be used.  This should be determined based on footing for the keepers, the ability to have no fans on the end line, unless seating in bleachers as stated in the book and any other factors that are applicable to that field.  All players should be at midfield or at their benches. The goalie that is not actively defending the kick should be off the end line, outside the penalty area and should not be allowed to be any sort of distraction during the kick.  If the score is still tied after the initial round of 5 kicks, subsequent kicks are in rounds of 5 as well. Any players (not disqualified during the match) may take the kicks.

a.  There will be a five-minute mandatory time out after the regulation time.


b. There will be a maximum of two 15 minute sudden victory overtime periods, eleven-on-eleven.



   c.    Teams will switch ends at the conclusion of the first eleven-on-eleven sudden victory overtime with

          a 2 minute break. If the score is tied after both sudden victory overtimes, each team will select any

           five players to take penalty kicks in an alternating fashion.  Order of kicks will be determined by a

          coin toss.  The same players or different players may be selected for each round.  Additional kicks

          will be conducted in rounds of five.  The team scoring the greatest number of these kicks will be

         declared the winner.


   d.    A game interrupted before the completion of the 1st half will be replayed in its entirety.  A                                           game interrupted during the 2nd half will be replayed from the point of suspension unless both                                      teams agree not to complete the contest, in which case the score will become final.


The following situations were forwarded to me by an official from a game this past week.  They are good reminders of proper procedure and when a goal counts or does not count based on time expiring.  The second is a good protocol when issuing cards and the process thereafter.

1. Goal counts if the entire ball is over the entire goal line before time has expired. 7.1.4.Sit. page 36. it is not like hoops where a ball in flight can count, etc. Had a shot rolling toward the goal line and then horn went off indicating the half was over and then the ball went in the goal. No goal. Thankfully we had a horn...behooves officials to check with table personnel before the game to ensure that the scoreboard clock has an automatic horn at 00:00 or a hand-held horn that sounds at 00:00.

2. When a card is issued, officials are required (5.3.1.e/f) to notify the player being carded, the two head coaches, the scorer, and the other official(s) as to the nature of the infraction. Do not assume these people know. Clock is stopped. 

One or more officials needs to watch the field/players while this information is being conveyed and written down.

Lastly, there has been some confusion regarding restarts after a caution or ejection.  The restart is whatever the restart was prior to the card being issued.  A caution does not change the possession or alter the restart.  If it was a corner kick, throw in, indirect kick, direct kick etc prior to the card being issued, that is still the restart. 

To all who officiate post season matches, please continue to be professional, work hard, have fun and remember we are there for the kids and the teams.  Keep everyone safe and try to be in the best position possible.

Oct. 11, 2016

1.       If you have a disqualification please keep in mind there is no substitute allowed.  This applies to a  straight red card or a subsequent caution.  It is always a good idea to count each team before restarting after cards are issued, an injury timeout or similar.  Also, please remember if you are issuing a subsequent caution the procedure is to show the yellow card, immediately followed by the red card.  If the offense is a straight red card offense, just the red card is shown.  It is an important distinction because the penalties for the player are different with regards to the VPA policy for potential suspensions.

2.       A team can play with as few as 7 players, but no less.  If they are unable to field at least 7 (except in the case of a brief suspension to allow for blood on a uniform or similar, that can quickly be corrected) the game is terminated and reported to the appropriate assignor.  If a team is playing short (7 or more but less than 11) the other team is not required to also play short. 

3.       As Gary mentioned in his message yesterday on Arbiter please keep in mind as the season winds down that some teams are gearing up for the playoffs and some are “playing out the string.”  This can affect the way games are played and sometimes lead to issues.  We need to be extra diligent to make sure games are being called in such a way that keeps everyone safe.  Also know that teams may be playing each other for the 2nd or 3rd time and there can be carryover from previous matches.  We don’t always know the history but if it is brought to our attention, we should make sure we pay extra attention to behavior after the play or behind the play.  I had a situation this week where a player went down behind the play and accused an opposing player of an unsportsmanlike act.  I did not see it, but let the accused player know that I’d be watching going forward.  It is always best to keep our eyes on the play and players for just a second after the ball is played away to make sure there is nothing extra going on. 

4.       Contact with the keeper while in possession of the ball.  My rule of thumb is if there is enough contact to stop the game or award a free kick to the keeper it is usually a cautionable offense at a minimum.  Every situation is different but if you are taking the ball out of the keeper’s hands (a free kick coming out) it probably warrants a yellow card.  Please also do not allow players to “play a keeper in the air.”  It is permissible to jump straight up but not into the keeper, especially if they are attempting to play a ball over their heads so they are exposed and more vulnerable.  It is worth taking a moment and reading rule 12-3 section 4 Charging on pages 54 and 55.

5.       Lastly, do not allow players to interfere with the keeper as they are attempting to carry the ball to the edge of the penalty area or when they are attempting to punt, drop kick or throw it back into play.  I had a coach and player argue with me this week that once the keeper bounces it, it is fair game.  It is not.  If they relinquish possession by placing/rolling the ball on the ground, then it is fair play.  This also covered on page 55, 12-5 article 3.

September 27, 2016

Dear Fellow Officials,

I have just a couple quick notes about coaches this week. 

1.       Do not take abuse from assistant coaches or other bench personnel.  The head coach should have some leeway to discuss calls or situations with the officials in a professional and calm manner.  The assistant coaches typically not so much.  My procedure is to let the head coach know that I’d like to hear one voice from their bench, the head coach.  I do not go looking for trouble but it an assistant coach is overstepping their bounds, that’s when I try to get near the bench and quietly remind the head coach of my preference.  Abe used to say it best when he would tell them “Coach there is a little in my check that says I have to listen to you, but there is nothing in there for your assistant coach(es)…” 

2.       Once we stop the clock for an injury, let the coach of the injured player know they can come on the field immediately.  The player must be removed so there is no reason not to waive on the coach ASAP.  If you are checking on a player to see if they are injured and you are going to have to stop the clock, you might want to give the coach the stop sign for a moment while you check on them.  Please also remember both coaches are able to coach their teams during this time.  It is a good procedure to try to keep the players on the field near their bench while they are getting water and or instructions, but it is not required.  It is just good practice to keep players that are in the game separate from players not in the game.  Lastly, it is always best to count each side before the restart to make sure they are each at 11.  I had a team start a half with 10 this week because my partner was quick with his whistle to start the 2nd half.  I alerted a player near me and they let their coach know.  We also have had at least one case of 12 players on the field after a substitution which required a card to the 12th player once the situation was recognized.  In both cases it could have been avoided with a quick head count or by keeping better track of players coming and going.

3.       If you do have an overzealous coach dissenting from the sideline, do not hesitate to deal with it.  By ignoring it, it often only gets worse.  Players will follow their coach’s lead, positively or negatively.  If the coach is harping on the far side official, it is acceptable for the bench side official to warn and/or caution the coach.  Often it will calm everything down much quicker than trying to reason with the coach or having a running dialogue. 

September 20, 2016

Encroachment is the one item that has been brought to my attention from a couple different angles this week.  There have been several instances of coaches saying to officials “we were told this would be called differently this year and cautions would be issued without warnings…” or something to this effect.  Some of you may have heard this.  I am not sure where this is coming from, although I’m told it was discussed at a coaches/league meeting.  It is not a point of emphasis from the NFHS.  If anyone has any insight about this please let me know.

There have been some encroachment situations with walls this season.  .  Rule 12.8 Misconduct states that “a player, coach or bench personnel shall be cautioned (yellow card) for:…F.#5 encroachment.”  What I believe is a good procedure is to get to the area quickly and to verbally tell the players to move back if appropriate, without interfering with a quick restart should the offense be so inclined.  If a player or group of players tries to stall the game and/or refuse to move back quickly, stop the clock and pick a player (usually the one standing the closest or setting the wall) and card that player.  The rule does not stipulate that you can only card one player as it is an unsportsmanlike act but typically picking one player is sufficient.  If the offensive player(s) ask for the requisite 10 yards (and the 10 yards is required, it does NOT need to be asked for as some defensive players and/or coaches will try to tell you), move in quickly, tell everyone that a 2nd whistle will be the restart and that it will be the lead official’s whistle, point to your whistle to the kicker and get them to acknowledge it. Set the wall, move into position and either sound the whistle if you are the lead, or let the lead official know you are ready when they are, if the wall is set by the trail official.  I hope this helps.

On another note, I was excited to be involved in a positive situation the other night.  There was an obvious foul during a quick transition and the ball went forward to another offensive player going toward goal.  I yelled and signaled for a “PLAY ON”.  The player ran onto the ball and struck a beautiful 30+/- yard shot into the upper corner for a goal.  What a great feeling to award an advantage/”play on” and have it result in a true advantage with a goal scored (eventual game winner so even better as it meant a regulation winner in the flow of play.)  It reminded me of the benefit being patient with the whistle if an advantage may be in the offing, especially in the offensive half.  But don’t forget if the advantage does not immediately present itself as you thought it might, the call can be brought back to the original foul and restarted with the appropriate direct or indirect kick.  

September 12, 2016

I witnessed a situation last week and would like to share it so that we all may learn from it.  A player was given a subsequent caution and the corresponding red card disqualification.  As the official was preparing to give the card(s), an opposing player started mimicking the act of a card being given.  He “pranced around a bit” and applauded as if he was celebrating the opposing player being ejected.  This was at a minimum an unsportsmanlike act and very likely was taunting and deserving of a red card.  It is important for the official that is not administering the card to watch everyone else while the card is being given to make sure this type of behavior is not happening.  Sometimes we can be proactive and get there quick enough to stop it before it gets too far, but if not, we need to be ready to immediately deal with it.  Otherwise, not only does the team receiving the disqualification lose a player (for that game and sometimes the next one as well) but they also are subjected to watching the other team’s player celebrating it.  I find watching other officials allow me to put myself in situations and realize what might make the game better for the officials and the teams.  We can see and learn from situations that we might not otherwise have seen.   Game Management is something we all need to continue to work on.  Please note taunting is a 2 game suspension so it obviously is something the NHFS and VPA do not take lightly.  If safety is our first priority, sportsmanship should be a close second.

On a related note, when a card is being administered, please make sure the “off” official is observing and not writing.  There will be time for the other official to record the information after the card has been given and thus there are always eyes on all of the players.  Too often both officials take their eyes off the situation to record the infraction at the same time.  This can get us into trouble if something happens that everyone else sees and we don’t.  This also applies to after a goal is scored.  Do not both write at the same time and take your eyes off the players/field.

Additionally please make sure players are not excessively celebrating goals.  Anything that appears planned or choreographed should not be allowed or as the book states “any excessive or prolonged act that focuses attention on the player and/or does not allow for a timely restart, shall be cautioned.”


September 7, 2016

Dear Fellow Officials,

As always, I will start with the disclaimer, please keep in mind that I have this sent out by the secretary/treasurer to all officials.  Please do not reply to the message.  If you have a question or comment, please send me a note at martyadamsvt@gmail.com or call me at 802-384-7881.

Check the goals to make sure they are secured or counterweighted.  Do not start the game with goals that are unsecured or not counter weighted.  We should never hear “but the previous officials didn’t say anything…”  We’ve also had our first issue with a cast being covered with packing foam or multiple ace bandages.  The book is very specific about “at least ½ inch slow recovery foam”  The corresponding comment of “the other officials said it was ok…” was then voiced. Please do not take their word for it, nor overlook it because someone else allegedly did before you.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  The player wants to play; the coach wants the player to play, we want everyone to be safe.    

OT Procedure! I’m resending this because in the last week there have been two recap articles in the newspaper that indicated confusion about regular season OT.  The first article indicated that the officials were not sure if it was “golden goal” or if the entire OT periods were to be completed. According to the article, they referred to the rule book and got it right.  The second instance, at least according to the paper, was not followed properly as the score was reported as 4-2 in 2-OT.  If proper procedures are followed we should never have an OT game decided by more than one goal.  

If you have a game tied thru the end of regulation, the VT High School OT procedures are as follows.

A 5 minute break at which time you have another conference with the captains (coaches are welcome but not required).  There is a coin flip to determine possession and position on the field (same as the pre-game flip).  Please keep in mind the team that wins the flip has the choice of ball or an end to defend.  The teams’ then play up to 2-10 minute sudden victory periods with a 2 minute break in between at which time they switch ends.  This changes for playoffs to 2-15 minute periods but the regular season is 2-10’s.  

Here’s another common “explanation” from players and coaches when a foul is called on a tackle.  “But I got the ball.”  Please remember there is no mention in the book about a foul not being a foul if the ball is contacted during the process.  A foul is a foul!  There are instances where a clean tackle is accomplished and the offensive player then stumbles or trips over the defenders legs.  If the defender does not raise their legs to cause the trip or somehow otherwise foul the player, then the play should be allowed to resume.  Just as contact does not always equal a foul, “getting the ball” does not justify a foul to be allowed.  

Lastly, if a subsequent caution is given, show yellow, then red to indicate that it was a subsequent caution that results in a disqualification/ejection.  If the DQ’d player then says a magic word to the official a 2nd red card can be displayed.  Report the sequence of events to the respective assignor and they will notify the VPA.  It is then up to the VPA to sort out the appropriate suspension.  This is similar to a basketball player getting two technical fouls and then continuing to cause problems and receiving additional technical fouls on top of the two that got he/she ejected.  In basketball it adds to the number of free throws that will be awarded.  In soccer it adds to the eventual penalty to the player as far as number of games suspended. 

August 31, 2016

Dear Fellow Officials,

Here we go, another season is upon us.  Below please find some reminders as we get started.  Some of this message has been copied from the note that Gary previously sent out via Arbiter to the southern officials.  Sorry for the redundancy but I want everyone to receive the same information.  Please keep in mind that I have this sent out by the secretary/treasurer to all officials.  Please do not reply to the message.  If you have a question or comment, please send me a note at martyadamsvt@gmail.com or call me at 802-384-7881.

Please remember to check in with your partner by email or phone, at the very least, the night before.

Be on the field at least 15 minutes ahead to check the field and to check in with the school personnel and coaches.  Look and act professional, Try not to be too friendly with either coach. This is also when we should be performing the “informal equipment check.”


Check the goals to be sure they are secured.  This is always crucial but plan a few extra minutes early in the season as many schools won’t have planned ahead and may have to scramble to comply.  Do not start the game with goals that are unsecured or counter anchored.  We should never hear “but the previous officials didn’t say anything…”  Safety first.


Conduct a short and friendly pre-game conference with head coaches and captains.

Be sure to ask the head coach "Are your players legally and properly equipped?"

Discuss good sportsmanship.  Be brief but make the point.  Mine is something like this “The VPA asks us to remind everyone that we expect good sportsmanship from all involved.  Play hard, play fair and be respectful to all participants.  Have fun.”


Be in position during the game.  It is easier to sell the call.

Be consistent with your calls.  A push should be the same for both teams. It is hard to rein in a game after a tough start. 

Don't be afraid to get a call right.  If you realize you got it wrong and you can correct it.  Do it. 

Discuss the game with your partner before, at half and post game.  Use every game as a learning experience.

Keep track of the score so the lead official can record it and any issues that took place.

Notify the assignors of any cards yellow or red with the school, the #, the name and the offense.  They need to communicate this to AD's and the VPA the next day.

Also, if something out of the ordinary happened during the game, let them know.  They’ll probably hear about it from the other side.


Please remember the difference between a defender intentionally playing a ball vs. a deflection with regards to whether or not an offensive player that started the play in an offside position is in fact offside or not.

During a penalty kick once the kicker starts his/her approach they may not interrupt their movement.  Failure to kick the ball as specified shall be considered a violation by the attacking team and the appropriate penalties apply.  Make sure you review this in the book to know what the restart is based on who the violation was on, offense or defense.


Be aware of rough play, especially as two players are contesting a ball in the air.  Do not allow high elbows near the head/neck area.


Also, make sure we are consistent with the intentional handling call.  It must be a deliberate act to handle, carry strike or propel the ball with a hand or arm.  Just because everyone is screaming for a handball does not mean it is the right call. 


If you have a game tied thru the end of regulation, the VT High School OT procedures are as follows.

A 5 minute break at which time you have another conference with the captains (coaches are welcome but not required).  There is a coin flip to determine possession and position on the field (same as the pre-game flip).  Please keep in mind the team that wins the flip has the choice of ball or an end to defend.  The teams then play up to 2-10 minute sudden victory periods with a 2 minute break in between at which time they switch ends.  This changes for playoffs to 2-15 minute periods but the regular season is 2-10’s. 

Lastly, please remember if you stop the clock to check on an injured player they must be removed and may or may not be replaced.  The replacement player/sub can come directly from the bench.  Then any previously reported players can be beckoned onto the field.  It is ok to check on a player quickly to see if they are ok, prior to stopping the clock.  Once the clock is stopped there is no choice.  It does not matter whether the coach and or medical personnel have been beckoned or not, they must leave the field until the next legal substitution opportunity.


Have a great beginning of the season.  Remember this is about the kids and not about us, but we should try to have fun too.  It will be noticed.


Watch the 2015-16 NFHS New Rules Video:




Hello all,

It took almost an entire season but here is my first significant Mea Culpa of the year.  Earlier this week I sent out a message via Terry that included a section on allowable hats for the goalkeeper.  I said that typical baseball caps with a cardboard bill is allowable as the bill will give on impact.  I am incorrect according to the National Rules Interpreter.  Her response is copied in below.  I owe a couple of officials an apology as they disagreed with my ruling and questioned me on it, which is why I sent the note to the NFHS for clarification.  I am reaching out to them directly as I don’t know if they would like to be credited with such information publicly or not.  If they decide they’d like to be credited, I will let everyone know.


The typical baseball cap with a cardboard bill is illegal because it does not give. Injuries to other players especially to the eyes could occur.  The bill has to be soft and give way when impacted. Because it does give way, all of the goalie hats or caps that I have seen worn have very small bills or no bills at all. 

Theresia D. Wynns

Director of Sports and Officials

National Federation of State High School Associations

PO Box 690  l  Indianapolis, IN 46206




I think there a couple of important takeaways from this.


  1. This ruling is different than what most of us have seen/allowed over the years, in my opinion.  I do know of at least one official this season that determined it to not be legal and didn’t allow the keeper to wear the baseball hat with a cardboard brim.  Because it has generally been an accepted practice, you will likely hear “but we have been using the same style hat all season/for years…” type of response from the coach and/or player.  I think our response should be, “I understand.  It is only recently that a ruling came down from the National Association that these hats should not be permitted.”  Do not make it sound like a new rule, just a clarification on the rule, which we recently received.
  2. Please know that as the Rules Interpreter I am not the “end all and be all” and don’t want to be.  I try to understand the rules to the best of my ability and to communicate the information to the membership.  Please don’t hesitate to question me if you do not agree or if you don’t understand a rule or how it is being applied.  I am not perfect by any means. It is because this interpretation was questioned that I sent a note to Theresia and we received the clarification.

As always, if you have comments or questions, please contact me directly (do not respond to the message from Terry) at the information below.





October 14, 2015


Dear fellow officials,

We are in the final week of the regular season.  The last day to play is this Saturday the 17th.  The picks come out Monday and the tourneys start on Tuesday the 20th.  Below are a couple of reminders with the playoffs in mind.


OT Procedures for Playoff games-taken directly from the VPA Soccer Guide.


B. In the playoff games through finals the Brine Championship Soccer Ball will be used by all schools.

C. In games, all tournament games where a winner must evolve, the following procedure will be used for breaking ties:

a. There will be a five-minute mandatory time out after the regulation time.

b. There will be a maximum of two 15 minute sudden victory overtime periods, eleven-on-eleven.

c. Teams will switch ends at the conclusion of the first eleven-on-eleven sudden victory overtime with a 2 minute break.

If the score is tied after both sudden victory overtimes, each team will select any five players to take penalty kicks in an alternating fashion. Order of kicks will be determined by a coin toss. The same players or different players may be selected for each round. Additional kicks will be conducted in rounds of five. The team scoring the greatest number of these kicks will be declared the winner.

d. A game interrupted before the completion of the 1st half will be replayed in its entirety. A game interrupted during the 2nd half will be replayed from the point of suspension unless both teams agree not to complete the contest, in which case the score will become final.


With the Playoffs comes the likelihood of colder weather.  Players are allowed to wear soft material hats/and or headbands (nothing with a hard knot), gloves, leggings and long sleeves.  If sleeves and/or leg coverings are worn they are supposed to be of a similar color (solid) as the rest of their team.  With this in mind, as long as it is not confusing as to which team is which, do not make a huge deal of this.  If it is confusing or can easily be corrected, it should be.  Goalies can wear a hat with a soft brim.


It has come to my attention that some games are being played with a goalie’s sox not being different from the opposing teams’.  This is typically a correctible situation, especially if it is noticed during the “walk around” of the field.  When this was mentioned to the keeper/and coach the comment was “this is the first time anyone has said anything.”  


As always, have fun, keep the players safe and feel free to contact me with any questions or situations you are confused or would like clarification about.


Marty, martyadamsvt@gmail.com, 802-384-7881.


We are roughly half way thru the season and I hope that everyone is having fun, staying healthy and making sure the games are safe for the players.  Here are a couple more reminders that have been brought up over the last week or so.


  1. OT procedures-if tied at the end of regulation there is a 5 minute period for the officials to have a coin toss with the captains (coaches not required, but welcome) and for coaches to meet with their teams.  Just like at the beginning of a game the team that wins the toss has the option of taking the ball or defending an end.  The “golden goal” OT sessions are 10 minutes in length with a 2 minute break in between at which time the teams will switch ends.  First goal wins.
  2. Thunder/lightning.  “If you hear it or see it, then flee it.”  Any sound of thunder or sight of lightning requires the field to be cleared and the teams and officials to seek safe cover.  You MUST wait 30 minutes since the last sight or sound of lightning or thunder.  Every time you hear or see it, the clock must be reset.  If it is looking like the storm will not quickly pass or that you will run out of time (night game during the week and the visitors have a long trip) or light (daytime game with darkness approaching), get with the coaches and/or administrator on site and determine if you are going to try to wait it out or go home.  If the game has reached half time it is considered a complete game.  If it has not reached half time it will be replayed from when it was stopped.  The officials should sign the official scorebook (home team) with the score and time.  Do not make any declarations of who wins/loses etc.  Let the teams work that out with the VPA. 
  3. Restarts-please know which official is responsible for the restart after a foul or to start play after a stoppage.  It is usually the lead official, except the start of a period, goal kick or after a throw in (can be either, depending on where the throw in takes place).  Make sure you make eye contact with your fellow official to make sure they are ready when you blow your whistle.  On a related note, please mirror your partner on indirect kick signals so everyone knows it is an indirect kick.  Leave your arm in the air until the 2nd touch, especially on a potential goal scoring opportunity.  If you have a card, after the play was stopped for a foul or other stoppage, do not change the restart because of the card.  It is still the same restart as prior to the card being issued. 
  4. Lastly, please don’t forget that we must ask the head coaches if their players are “properly and legally equipped” prior to the game starting.  This is why head coaches are required to attend the pre-game meeting with captains.  We also must stress good sportsmanship to the captains and coaches per the NHFS and VPA.  My partner and I had a situation in a game last week that was a bit unique.  The head coach for one of the teams was temporarily disposed during the pre-game meeting with the captains (she was nursing her baby).  We did the pre-game conference and then just prior to the start of the game my partner asked her if her team was “properly and legally equipped.”  The purpose of this question is to offload the liability in case of an injury caused by a player not being properly equipped (no shin guards or jewelry).  Do not miss this step.
  5. After the game, get together with your partner and leave the field together, unless the game was contentious enough to warrant staying to make sure there are no issues during the post game handshake.  Do not visit with the crowd or stay to discuss a situation that occurred during the game with a coach (re-explaining a card that was issued or an odd play that happened).  There is typically a lot of emotion involved, especially for the losing side, and thus it is not the best time to be having these types of conversations.  On a related note, make sure you are reporting any odd/unusual situations that occur to the assignors as soon as possible so they don’t get blindsided by a coach/AD or the VPA.  If you and your partner want to visit about the game make sure you are out of the way or perhaps meet up somewhere away from the field.  Conversations can be overheard by fans etc and taken out of context.  It is best to avoid this situation.


Here are a couple of reminders based on some situations from last week.


  1. Knotted kerchief headbands.  Anything with a knot is not permitted.  It is a safety issue for the person wearing it and others.  If there is head to head contact the knot can hurt someone.  Please be diligent about this so the next official doesn’t hear “he/she has been wearing all season and nobody has said anything…”
  2. Corner kick management.  Try to be verbally present during and prior to corner kicks, especially regarding players being around the keeper.  I usually try to remind everyone to “play the ball…”  If a player is trying to obstruct the keeper and it not making a play on the ball, call it immediately.  It should take care of the issue.  On a related note, the keeper cannot push people out of the way to get to the ball.  They have no more rights than anyone else that is trying to play the ball.  Lastly, do not allow players to “play the keeper” that is in the air catching the ball.
  3. Also regarding corner kicks, please remember that in the unlikely scenario that the ball hits the goal post and rebounds to the kicker, it can not be played by them again until it has been played/touched by another player.  This happens more frequently on penalty kicks, but can happen on a corner kick as well.

September 14, 2015

  1. As the assignors have pointed out previously, please be careful about how much you talk to each coach, teams, fans etc. as you arrive.  It is a perception issue and we don’t want to appear to be buddies with one coach and then just say hi to the other.  It is understood that you may see a “local” team more frequently, but it is best to say hi quickly and move along.  My preference is to check one goal on the way onto the field and then stop briefly at half field to say hi to the coaches, if they are not actively involved in their pre-game warm ups, then move on to check the other goal.  THE GOALS MUST BE COUNTERWEIGHTED OR ANCHORED!
  2. Unless determined otherwise prior to entering the field, the official listed as the Referee on the assignment should be the primary voice for the officials for that game.  The umpire obviously has equal rights when calling the game, but the pre-game and any questions from the coaches/captains should be addressed by the Referee for the most part.  It keeps things orderly and gives the appearance that everyone is on the same page.  It is certainly ok for the umpire to add something if the Referee accidently missed it.  For instance if the Referee has not yet asked if the players are properly equipped or addressed sportsmanship.  I like to do both of those things immediately after welcoming everyone and introducing myself and my partner.  That way you don’t get sidetracked and forget.
  3. Please remember a substitute is allowed for a player receiving a yellow card.  A player receiving a red card cannot be replaced.  The substitute can come from the bench or from the substitution area. 
  4. I’m sure we have all heard “but he/she got the ball…” on a hard tackle.  Please keep in mind, it does not matter if the defender “got the ball”, touched the ball, and/or successfully stole the ball, if a foul has occurred.  Getting a touch on the ball does not mean that they are free to foul the opponent. 



Here are a couple of items that have come up this week. 


  1. make sure you ask both coaches during the pre-game conference (the head coach must attend for this purpose specifically) “coaches are your players legally and properly equipped?”  The reason behind this question and their affirmation is to off-load the liability for an illegally equipped player in case someone gets hurt because he/she is illegally/improperly equipped.  Do NOT skip this step.  I do it first so as to not get sidetracked or forget.  I also typically follow it up with “players this means when you are on the field of play, your shin guards are in and being worn properly and that all jewelry is removed."
  2. Please make sure we are reminding the captains and coaches about the VPA’s emphasis on fair play and good sportsmanship.  I say something to the effect of “the VPA requests that we remind everyone that good sportsmanship is expected from all participants, everyone wants you to play hard, play fair as well.”  Find a statement that is comfortable for you.  It should be short and to the point.  Frankly the kids will likely tune it out but it sets the bar for being able to deal with dissent and or unsporting actions during the game.  It should also serve as a self reminder to us as officials to be respectful to all the participants as well.
  3. Be careful to not fraternize with either side (coaches, players or fans) too much.  It can be perceived by the other team negatively.
  4. Be in position to make the offsides call.   Then make sure the player is a part of the play or is affecting the play in some manner before making the call. 
  5. On plays where there is a foul against the defense but a shot is going toward the goal, hold your whistle briefly to make sure whether or not the goal is scored.  This is especially important when a defensive player, other than the goalie, is attempting to stop the goal by illegal handling.  Please remember if the goal is scored (and you haven’t blown the play dead) you count the goal and yellow card the player.  If the goal is not scored, then it is a red card and a penalty kick.  There may be no worse feeling than blowing your whistle and then seeing the ball go into the net.

August 28, 2015

Rule #1-Safety first
My partner and I showed up to officiate a scrimmage tonight and the goals were not anchored or counter weighted.  The coach thought it was no big deal b/c it was "just a scrimmage..."  They literally told us "if you aren't comfortable with it, we can just ref our own..."  Do not fall for the "nobody else has had a problem with it..." type of excuses.  We made it work by using some benches turned upside down and some heavy gym bags, but I was certainly ready to walk away.  It is not worth the chance. A quick google search of "soccer goal post injuries" brings up several articles outlining the number of injuries and the severity of said injuries.  Here is a link to just one of the articles if anyone is interested http://www.anchoredforsafety.org/incidents.html
This is crucial during the beginning of the season, but it can happen at any time during the season as well b/c so many schools have multi use fields/facilities and the goals are moved often.  
If you run into situations like this, please make sure you notify your assignor so they can contact the school/AD.  This is not in the same class of infraction of illegal uniforms or mis-lined fields.  This IS a SAFETY issue and is one of the few reasons we should not start a game.  Some coaches will look for the easy way out and hope you will ignore it, please don't.  Try to find a reasonable solution, but don't take the chance if it cannot be rectified prior to the game starting.

August 24, 2015

Dear Fellow Officials,

Here we go.  The season is here.  The regular season starts at the end of this week for some teams and many, many teams have scrimmages this week.  Hopefully you have all been able to work a scrimmage or two to get re-acclimated to officiating soccer. 

Just a couple of quick reminders as we head into the season. 

  1. mouth guards are recommended but not mandatory.  If worn, they can be any color (including clear).  Please note, the NHIAA (NH’s governing body for high school sports) has made a point of emphasis that if a game is played in NH (under NH rules so schools like Rivendell that are located in NH but play under the rules of VT and the VPA do not count) all participants must wear mouth guards.  Otherwise the game will not be played.  I share this with you just in case you know of a team that plays against NH teams, in NH as the rule will apply to them.  I have also passed this info along to Bob Johnson at the VPA so he can send it out with his weekly message to AD’s. 
  2. OT-during the regular season we are to follow the OT rules in the VPA Soccer guide (www.vpaonline.org under athletics, fall sports, soccer).  There is a 5 minute interval between the end of regulation and the start of OT.  There is a coin flip to decide possession and respective sides of the field to defend.  There is a maximum of 2-10 minute sudden victory periods.  There is a 2 minute interval in between the OT periods and the teams switch ends.  If still tied at the conclusion of the OT periods the game is a tie.
  3. Please re-read the points of emphasis and rule changes.  The big ones to me are to make sure before you stop the clock for an apparent injury that you give the player a chance to remain in the game if they are not injured and are just slow getting up, as they will need to be replaced once the clock is stopped.  That being said, please error on the side of caution if you are unsure.  Our job is to make sure the match is safe and fair. 
  4. Tape on socks.  Yes the book says “similar color” for any straps or tape or similar that are on the outside of the sox.  The VPA has stated they are not asking us to be uniform police.  My belief is that is you can be pro-active (especially early in the season) and convince teams to willingly abide by the rule it will make it easier on everyone as the season progresses.  Do NOT get into an argument about this with a player or coach as the VPA will not back us up.  If you believe it to be egregious please let either Gary or Frank know and they can handle it thru the league and/or schools.

Have a great season and feel free to contact me with any rule interpretation questions.





August 13, 2015


Dear Fellow Officials,

Today is the first day of practice for VT high school soccer teams.  This means scrimmages are starting as soon as this weekend and the season is only two short weeks away.  Here’s wishing you all a healthy, successful, fun and controversy free season.  I’m shooting for the same.

This quick note is to let you all know that I have checked with the National Rules Interpreter and we did come to the proper conclusion at the annual meeting regarding substitutions during an injury.  1. the injured player, assuming he/she is being replaced, can be replaced from anywhere (bench, scorer’s table, JV team etc.) 2. anyone previously reported should be beckoned after the injured player’s sub is identified. 3. additional subs can also be sent from the bench to the reporting area and then beckoned by the official. 


Also, as we discussed if a player is sent off due to communicable disease concerns (blood on the body or uniform), they can be replaced from anywhere, but the only additional subs that should be beckoned are players that previously had reported prior to the dead ball.  This is only if the player is not deemed to be injured, but has a blood issue.  The way around this is to declare the player as injured due to the blood and then anyone can sub as long as they check in and are beckoned. 


The only other times that the book states subs must have previously reported in order to be able to be beckoned are on throw-ins, goal kicks and corner kicks.  The proper mechanic is to be aware of subs at the reporting area and/or looking immediately to see if there are any when the ball goes out of bounds and the restart is going to be a throw-in, corner kick or goal kick.  Do not allow a player to come running up to the reporting area after the ball is out of play and be beckoned. 


Please remember you must take the online test (instructions at vermontsoa.com) and your results emailed to Eric Evans at eevansvtlax@gmail.com before the end of August.  The test will close at the end of the month and then you can log back in to view the questions and answers.


If anyone has any questions regarding the rules or situations, the best way to reach me is at martyadamsvt@gmail.com or on my cell phone at 802-384-7881 between the hours of 8am-9pm. 


Yours in officiating,




October 19, 2014

Fellow Officials,

I hope the last couple of regular season weeks went well for everyone.  I for one am very thankful for the great weather we have experienced this fall, so far.  Good luck and good health to everyone heading into tourney time.  Please note the OT procedure below.  It is different than the regular season.

Here’s a situation I was asked about this week.  A player or coach is disqualified from a game either because of a subsequent caution or a straight red card.  They continue to argue and/or will not leave the field/premises. (a player only needs to retire to the bench, but should not be allowed to continue to be a problem.  The coach is required to leave the immediate area “out of sight and sound.”)  Is it permissible to give them another card for this behavior?  The answer is yes.  I would suggest we be as proactive and patient as possible but if they refuse to comply or simply will not let the issue go, we are certainly entitled to giving additional cards.  This applies to after the game in the parking lot as well, as awkward as it may feel to give a card at this time.  The proper procedure is to report the situation to the assignor and they will report the information to the VPA.  It is then up to the VPA to determine the consequences for such actions.  The response will most likely be “you can’t card me, I’ve already been ejected/disqualified…”  Do your best to calm the situation and not make it any more confrontational than necessary but do not allow someone a “free pass” just because they feel they have already been penalized as much as possible.  Ultimately the officials do have the authority to terminate a game if the player refuses to calm down or if an ejected coach will not leave the immediate area.  Hopefully if this is explained in a calm manner the player/coach will make the proper decision and it will not come to game termination by the officials.  That should be the absolute last resort.  On a related note, it is important to review the roster provided during the pre-game to ascertain if there is another coach/bench personnel listed.  If there is not another coach/bench person listed the game is automatically terminated if the coach is ejected.  It is not permissible to have another parent or bus driver etc to step in after the fact.  I always ask the coach if they would like to list anyone else on the roster, just in case.

Tournament OT procedures.

From the VPA Soccer Guide, located at http://www.vpaonline.org/cms/lib6/VT08001199/Centricity/Domain/12/Soccer%20Guide%202014.pdf

C. In all tournament games where a winner must evolve, the following procedure will be used for breaking ties:

a. There will be a five-minute mandatory time out after the regulation time.

b. There will be a maximum of two 15 minute sudden victory overtime periods, eleven-on-eleven.

c. Teams will switch ends at the conclusion of the first eleven-on-eleven sudden victory overtime with a 2 minute break. If the score is tied after both sudden victory overtimes, each team will select any five players to take penalty kicks in an alternating fashion. Order of kicks will be determined by a coin toss. The same players or different players may be selected for each round. Additional kicks will be conducted in rounds of five. The team scoring the greatest number of these kicks will be declared the winner.

It is my suggestion that you print this information and carry it with you during all tourney games.  My personal procedure is to explain how OT will proceed and then explain the penalty kick process, if the game is still tied after the OT periods. 



Here are some friendly reminders and a couple of situations that have occurred over the last couple of weeks that I believe we can all benefit from.

1. Once the clock is stopped for an injury to ANY player on the field, the player must be removed from the game.  I try to get close to the player to quickly assess if they are hurt or just catching their breath.  If they don’t respond to “are you ok?” I will stop the clock and either summon the coach/trainer or have the player leave the field if they don’t require help.  I had a player say to me “I don’t want to leave, I’m all set…”   I simply said, “I’m sorry but once we stop the clock you must leave…that’s why I was asking if you were ok, but you didn’t respond.”  I also had a coach say “but I didn’t come on to the field…”  I politely explained the same to him. 

2. Please err on the side of caution with potential head injuries.  I was involved in a game this past week where two girls collided head to head and both went down to the ground and appeared to be “stunned”.  One was bleeding from the nose/mouth area.  After both were attended to on the field and assisted off, I inquired of the AD on site as to the availability of medical personnel to assess their potential head injuries.  Having none, we advised both coaches that the girls would not be allowed to return to action for the day.  Related to this situation I later read in the local paper that both girls did not play in the next game due to “concussions from the previous game.”  At half time the AD thanked me because he said last year he had an official tell him it was the “coach’s call” if they could return. 

3. OT is “golden goal.”  After regulation there is a 5 minute break while the coin flip is performed to determine ball possession and which ends will be defended by each team.  If neither team scores in the first 10 minute period, there is a 2 minute break and the teams switch ends.  If neither team scores in the 2nd period the game is a tie.  It is worth noting the OT procedures change for the playoffs but that will be discussed as we get closer to tourney time.

4. Here’s another situation.  There is a hard foul where at a minimum a yellow card is appropriate and it may warrant a straight red.  The near official immediately gives a yellow.  The other official makes his way across the field to ask his partner if a red may be more appropriate.  After discussing what each of them saw, it is decided to leave it as a yellow, but it was discussed with each coach.  The offending player’s coach decided his player was “done for the day” because he realized his player was very close to receiving a red and did not want to risk it.  After the game the officials discussed the play further (quietly, and out of earshot of anyone) and determined that if they had gotten together before giving the yellow card it would have been easier to be completely on the same page and it wouldn’t have looked like one official over ruled the other if the card had been changed to a red.  It is also worth noting that the coach of the player that was hurt on the play wanted a red card “because I lost my starting back…”  It is not the result of the play/injury that determines the card, but the foul itself. 

Interpreter’s message 10/5/14

Below is a copied in message from President Evans.  I could not say it any better.

NFHS and VPA are committed to good sportsmanship during athletic contests by players, coaches, and spectators. The high school soccer game is an extension of the classroom. Behaviors during a game should be consistent with behaviors during the day in class.

How do we, as officials, cope with spectator behavior that is unacceptable?

1. Identify the game site administrator prior to the game. Often it is the AD but sometimes the home team coach. Where is the site administrator going to be during the game?

2. By rule, spectators must remain at least 10 feet from touchline and goal line...and no fans behind either goal unless in bleachers. If fans are improperly situated prior to the game, politely request they move to a legal spot (you might build some rapport with the fans with this interaction). If they don't or won't have the site administrator move them.

3. A fan is short for "fanatic" so you can expect a certain amount of behavior to be partisan and vociferous.

4. But when does partisan behavior cross over into unacceptable behavior? Remember the "5 P's"

    a) Profanity. Needs to be stopped immediately.

    b) Persistent. You have to live with the occasional "Terrible call, Ref!" but if it is persistent, deal with it.

    c) Personal. When "That was awful" evolves into "You are awful"

    d) Provocative. Language or actions meant to incite or encourage unsporting acts by the players. (Applauding fouls by the fan's team, "Knock 'em down!!", "Take out #27!!" etc.)

    e) Players. High school students must never have to listen to abuse from spectators.

When behavior crosses the line:

Stop the game. Stop the clock. Remember the restart. Have the site administrator address the issue/remove the offenders. When the situation is resolved to your satisfaction, then the game will restart. By rule, the home team coach cannot be cautioned for fans' poor behavior.

After the game. If needed, have the site administrator walk with you to your car(s). Do not verbally engage with spectators. Avoid comments to your partner while walking that might be misconstrued by spectators you may pass. Mention any issues in your game report so that your assignor can follow up with the AD.

Have a great week.




2014 NFHS Soccer Rules Test Answers

1B, 2T, 3T, 4T, 5D, 6A, 7C, 8T, 9T, 10F, 11D, 12T, 13C, 14F, 15A, 16F, 17F, 18F, 19T, 20T, 21T, 22F, 23D, 24F, 25F, 26F, 27F, 28D, 29T, 30C, 31C, 32T, 33C, 34C, 35A, 36T, 37T, 38D, 39D, 40T, 41B, 42F, 43T, 44T, 45T, 46T, 47A, 48T, 49A, 50T, 51A, 52F, 53T, 54B, 55C, 56B, 57F, 58A, 59F, 60C, 61F, 62T, 63F, 64T, 65F, 66C, 67T, 68T, 69F, 70F, 71B, 72T, 73C, 74B, 75T, 76T, 77T, 78T, 79F, 80F, 81C, 82F, 83D, 84F, 85C, 86T, 87F, 88F, 89C, 90T, 91A, 92T, 93B, 94F, 95T, 96T, 97F, 98T, 99F, 100B




Two items for this week: handling and allowing a play on with an injury.


Handling Rule 12.2, page 52:

“A player shall be penalized for deliberately handling, carrying, striking or propelling the ball with a hand or arm.”  Please read the three situation/examples in the book on page 53.  We should not be using the term “hand ball” as there is no reference to such a term in the rule book.  Yes, fans and coaches and players will all scream and holler every time a ball touches someone’s hand or arm. This does not mean it is a foul, nor does it mean we should call it.  Please make sure it is a deliberate and intentional act to handle the ball. 

Please also remember that the penalty for intentionally trying to stop a goal by intentionally handling is a yellow card if the goal is scored and a red card if the goal is stopped.  The player may not be replaced in the case of a red card.


A situation was described to me this week regarding a “play on” or a continuation of play with an injury on the field.  If the player that is injured is not in immediate danger, due to the play being near to them, or does not appear to need immediate medical attention, it is ok to allow a “play on” (if there has been a foul but you are applying advantage) or if one team has possession and you determine they have an advantage if play continues.  That being said, always err on the side of caution.  A few years ago I had a situation where a player went down with an apparent ankle/foot injury but was not in excruciating pain.  The play went away from her up field with an advantage to her team.  I allowed the play to continue away from me (I was the trail official).  I stayed near to her to make sure she was ok.  Once the play was completed we stopped the clock and she was attended to.  In this instance it was in OT and the game winner was scored on the play.  I felt we made the correct decision to allow it to play out, but each situation is going to be different.  Many teams now are versed in the sportsmanship act of kicking the ball out of play when a player is down.  If this happens, we cannot tell a team to give the other team the ball, but hopefully their coach or players are in tune with what is going on and will do so on their own.


One last reminder to check your goals to make sure the nets don’t have holes in them and that the goals themselves are secured or counterweighted.  Many fields are multi-use and the goals do not always get re-secured.  We had a game this week that one goal was not secured.  We helped the coach/AD find the anchors and made sure they were in place before we started play.  It only takes a few minutes to make sure you are not putting yourself and your partner in a bad position of liability.




When signaling for an indirect kick, use the arm not holding your whistle and hold your arm straight up.  You should hold the signal until the 2nd touch or the play is stopped for another reason (goes out of play or an infraction occurs).   Both officials should signal for an indirect kick.  I’ve seen many instances of only one official signaling for an indirect after an offside call for instance.

The proper signal for substitutions is the arm held at a 45 degree angle.  Please remember that a whistle is needed, by the official closest to side line/end line where the ball is to be thrown/kicked back into play, to restart play after a substitution.  Officials should always make eye contact before restarting play to make sure both are ready.

Coaches are now allowed to coach players during an injury.  This can be done on the field while attending to an injured player or at the bench or on the field if the injury is on the other team. (rulebook does not specify where this coaching must take place).   Once the injured player has been removed and has been replaced (assuming the team does not choose to play short), then  Rule 3.2.b states "either team may substitute an unlimited number of players from the bench, provided they report to the scorer's table or nearest official and are beckoned in." 

Goalie possession/lost possession/illegal handling.

Once a goalie catches a ball, picks up a ball or pins a ball to the ground it is considered possession.  Do not allow an offensive player to knock the ball loose due to contact with the goalie or to kick at the ball while the keeper is in possession.  Blow the play dead and play it out with an indirect kick. 

Once a goalie has possession, if they lose possession, or voluntarily relinquish possession, and then pick the ball up again it is considered illegal handling and is an indirect kick for the other team.  A goalie can toss the ball in the air or “dribble” but if they completely lose possession they need to play the ball out with their feet or wait until an offensive player plays the ball before they can handle it again legally.  Sometimes offensive players will “make a run” at a keeper that is gaining possession and bump the keeper.  If the contact is slight and seems like it could have been unintentional, speak to the player about making sure they pull up if they can.  If the contact is malicious a card can be given.  It is also appropriate to verbally warn or card the keeper if they initiate the contact.  Lastly, if a defensive player throws the ball in directly to the keeper who plays it with his/her hands it is illegal handling and is an indirect kick at the spot of the infraction. 



Fellow Officials,

Here are this week’s reminders.

Please do not allow jewelry or “adornment” of any kind, unless it is religious or medical and it is taped to the body (rule 4-2 art 2-4 pg 26).  Tape over earrings or other jewelry is not allowed.  You may hear “last game the officials allowed it” or “I just pierced my ears and the hole will close…”  Be professional, but be consistent and explain that it is for their safety and the safety of others.  When necessary, simply explain to the coach that either the jewelry is removed or the player is not eligible to play.  Hair ties are allowable as long as it is not for decorative purposes and poses no safety hazard to anyone.  Bandanas tied in a knot at the back of the head are not allowed.  Soft head bands with no knot are ok.  I usually try to remind the captains after the coaches have been asked if their players “are properly equipped” with the follow up statement…”captains, this means that shinguards will be worn properly and all jewelry is removed…” or something to that effect.  My experience is that the players know who their teammates are that may try to get away with this, and by reminding them they will likely remind them to remove the jewelry etc.  

Please make sure that if the clock is stopped due to injury, the player must be removed from the game.  This is regardless of whether or not a coach and/or trainer attend to the player on the field.  The player does not have to be replaced.  The team can play short if they wish.  If the goalie is the injured/removed player, someone must assume the role of keeper.  If the team plays short the player may return at the next dead ball opportunity.  If the player is subbed for, the player may not return until the next legal substitution opportunity.  It is ok to check on a player without stopping the clock to see if they just need a minute to make sure they are ok.  It is a good proactive practice to ask the coach if they would like to remove the player in question.  Many will.

 Please make sure all bench personnel is listed on the roster when it is presented at pre-game.  This insures the coach in case he/she is ejected and allows the game to continue.  If there is no other bench personnel (assistant coaches) listed on the roster and the coach is ejected, the game is terminated.  The old practice of a parent and/or “bus driver” stepping in after the fact should not be allowed. 

Lastly, goalies are required to have a number on the front and back of their uniform.  On the front it can be on the shorts or jersey.  I have seen several instances of no numbers on goalie’s uniforms.  PLAY the game and report it to your respective assignor so they can contact the school as appropriate.

Have a great week.


802.384.7881 call/text


September 6, 2014

Dear Officials,
Below is the OT procedure from the VPA guide online at www.vpaonline.org.

Please remember it is “golden goal” so the first goal in OT ends the match.

OVERTIME: (Regular Season)
There will be a five-minute mandatory time out after the regulation time.
There will be two 10 minute sudden victory overtime periods.  There will be a 2 minute break in between periods and the teams shall switch ends.   If the teams remain tied after the two overtimes, a tie is declared.

A couple of offside situations have come up so far this season.  Here are two that can be confusing in real time.

1. a free kick from ~25 yards.  An offensive player on the weak side is in an offside position at the time of the kick.  The shot bounces off the cross bar to the player in the offside position.  The goalie may or may not have slightly deflected the ball before it hits the bar.  The play is offside, no matter if the goalie deflects it as the offensive player was in an offside position at the time of the kick.  If the goalie were to catch the ball, have possession and then bobble it to the player it would be onside.
2. a defender goes to clear a ball and it deflects off his own player to an offensive player who is in an offside position.  Not offside as the defender played the ball and it was not played by an offensive teammate to the player in the offside position. 

Lastly, I was asked about substitutions.  If a player is reported and waiting to sub, he/she must be beckoned when the opportunity arises.  A coach cannot decide to not sub once the sub is reported and a proper substitution opportunity happens.  For example, the offensive team is trying to make a throw in quickly b/c they feel they have an advantage.  Be proactive, know if you have subs waiting and immediately stop the play and beckon the subs.  A coach may pull back a sub, after they have reported but prior to the substitution opportunity happening. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact me at 802.384.7881 or by email at martyadamsvt@gmail.com




Dear Fellow Soccer Officials: Below is an article that copied and pasted from ESPN.  I have edited the article down to the pertinent information.  The entire article can be found on ESPN’s site.  The article concerns the filing of a law suit against FIFA for negligence regarding head injuries. For the past several years the issue of perceived head injuries has been a topic of conversation and concern at our Annual Meetings. I would ask that you take the necessary pre cautions when officiating VSOA assigned games to monitor any and all perceived head injuries with the utmost discernment.


Please remember “safety first”.  Our participants are high school students with their entire lives in front of them.  Sometimes it is our responsibility to help everyone keep the proper perspective.  At the end of the day it is only a game.


Good luck with the first official week of the season.  Be safe, have fun and as always please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.




A group of parents filed a class action lawsuit in California on Wednesday that would limit how many times children under 17 can head the ball and permit temporary substitutions in pro leagues while a player is checked for a head injury, according to a report.

The suit, filed against FIFA in U.S. District Court in California, names U.S. Soccer, American Youth Soccer Organization and other U.S. youth organizations, charging negligence regarding head injuries, according to a New York Times report.

"There is an epidemic of concussion injuries in soccer at all levels around the world, including in the United States, from youth to professionals, from elite players to children playing for the first time, women and men, girls and boys," the filing, which seeks no financial damage, reads. "FIFA presides over this epidemic, and is one of its primary causes."

"If FIFA made the Laws of the Game different, they would be different at every level," he said.

World Cup organizers repeatedly failed to follow their own concussion protocol and then did not take advantage of the international interest in the tournament to teach fans and young players about the dangers of head injuries, concussion expert Chris Nowinski said after the World Cup.

Several times in the month-long tournament, players sustained obvious concussions but continued to play -- a practice doctors agree can put them at risk of severe brain damage.

In the final, Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer played on after colliding with Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay. Kramer later had to be helped off the field and said he couldn't remember much from the collision -- signature symptoms of a concussion.





August 22, 2014

Dear VSOA members,

As the pre-season is underway and the regular season is just around the corner, please find below some friendly reminders.

The VPA is not asking us to be the “uniform police.”  If anything they are asking us to not worry about the little things.  One item I forgot to mention at the annual meeting is captain’s arm bands.  Some players prefer to wear them on their legs just below the knee.  As long as it is not confusing to the officials (for instance if it makes the sox appear to be the same color as the opponents), please feel free to allow it.  The common argument against wearing them on the arm is they don’t fit/won’t stay up.  If there is a uniform issue that cannot be easily corrected (like tape on the sox), simply remind the coach of the issue, PLAY THE GAME, and notify your assignor and let them bring it to the proper people’s attention.

  1. Make sure goals are anchored or counter weighted prior to starting the game.  This is a safety issue and a game must not be started without this being taken care of.  Incorrect field lining, missing bench area designations etc are not safety issues and the game should be played, but please make sure the goals are secured during your pre-game walk around.  Some goals are now designed with a thick piece of metal along the back bottom.  These can be considered to be counterweighted if they are solid/heavy enough.  If you can easily pick up the back of the goal, then some form of anchor or counterweight must be utilized.
  2. Don’t forget to remind coaches and players during the pre-game that if the clock is stopped due to injury the player must be removed from the game until the next legal substitution opportunity if the player is replaced.  If the team elects to play short, the player may return during the next dead ball.  Someone must be designated as the goal keeper so if a team decides to play short after a goalie injury and removal, a field player must assume the role of GK.
  3. Please remember that we are there for the kids.  It is not about us.  Always keep safety in mind and have fun. 
  4. First impressions count.  Once you are at the game site, please know you are being watched and be careful what you say and do that could be construed the wrong way.  Keep your communication with the coaches short and professional.  We should not appear to be too friendly with one coach over another for instance.
  5. Be consistent with issues like proper padding for casts, splints etc.  If we all apply the rule correctly, we shouldn’t hear “the refs in the last game(s) didn’t have a problem with it…”  My response to this statement is “I’m sorry, but during today’s game it is my responsibility to make sure everyone is safe so the proper padding must be in place before the player may participate.” 

Have a great beginning of the season and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I can be reached at 802.384.7881 or martyadamsvt@gmail.com.

2014-15 NFHS Soccer Rules Changes Video:  http://www.nfhs.org/sports-resource-content/nfhs-nisoa-soccer-rules-changes-video-2014-15/



The NFHS Rules Test will be available on line June 1, 2014-Sept. 1, 2014. VSOA members are encouraged strongly to take this voluntary 100-question test.

got to  www.exams.nfhs.org

On that page you will be instructed to either Login using your email that is already in the system or, more commonly for most of you, you will be instructed to Create a New Account. (Even with  an email or a username that is already in the system, I have found that I need to reset or get a new password every time. They send it instantly to your email upon request).

Follow the exam instructions.


You may start the test, stop before finishing it, save it for later (hit the button), and then return to it at a later date and continue.

2014 Soccer Rules Test   PDF of the test you can print out.

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