This past weekend was one I can remember for a while, which includes my first ever abandonment of a soccer match due to a refusal to leave the playing area when asked to a coach - one of three I had to toss for that day.
First, let's get to my first game of eight total Centers I had for this weekend out of 10 games that I did. I did not ask for more Centers but the assignor needed me to do a number this weekend. The first game, a U16 Girls Match, went rather dull as it was 0-0 after the first 50-55 minutes of play. Then the White team went on the attack, made a cross and right before the cross made it, the Red player tripped up White inside the Penalty Area to give a Penalty Kick to White. The White Coach argued the ball was not even in the Penalty Area - which even if it was true, that does not matter as it is where the foul occurs, not where the ball was at when the foul was made except for the matter that it was in play (which it was). The ensuing PK was successful to give White a 1-0 lead. Red proceeded to make an own goal to White about 8 minutes later to make it 2-0 which proved to be the final score.
My second Center - which immediately followed my first Center on the same field, a U15 Girls Match - wasn't as smooth as the game actually went. Green's team was called for two early fouls which got on me on the coach's bad side early. Red committed and was called for a couple fouls in the same half which the Green coach failed to notice before quipping about not getting a single call the entire match in the second half. He continued to quip about every action I had done to the point where he was not coaching the players anymore and just wanted to rant. It was a 0-0 match at that point and there really hadn't been many fouls or there were any fouls to call. Instead of coaching to find a way to score, he continued to quip until he said a magic phrase that pushed me over the edge. Using the ATD (Ask-Tell-Dismiss) method I went straight to the Tell part and said to him one more quip like that and he's gone. It wasn't but two seconds to test that threat out and I had followed through on the threat and sent him to the nearby parking lot where he stayed quiet for the remainder of the match, where the Green team fought to a 0-0 draw. The game was played "between the 20s" much of the match and offered very few scoring chances.
My third match was an AR spot for another U15 Girls match. It involved two Cincinnati teams. For those that know me well, I have family that lives in Cincinnati, so this was a fun match to see and - although frowned upon usually - talked to the coaches prior to the game about what part of Cincinnati each team was from. One was from the west end of the City, the other to the North along I-75. The team from the North struggled for a bit as it was 0-0 at half, but found their offense in the second half (helped with the wind that aided their kicks downfield) to what turned out to be a 4-0 blowout.
After having a break, my fourth match was the first of three really good matches I had this weekend that I had Centered. The Mississippi Flood (which is near Oxford) and the local Lobos team in a U14 Girls match. It was a game the Flood dominated 50 of the 60 minutes, but couldn't hold off an offensive assault by the Lobos which went from a 3-1 game to a 3-3 tie.
My fifth match was my first Boys match - a U17 Boys match - and I was supposed to Center this game, but switched with one of my assigned AR's to do the match instead. Lucky that I did that prior to who I knew who was playing - this Flood team had several members of the OHS Boys Soccer team on it. It would have been the most uncomfortable Center I would have ever done. As the AR for that match, I did not have to deal with much of it. The Flood lost to an Orange team 3-1.
The sixth and final match for Saturday involved a Blue U15 Boys team from Kentucky and a Red team from my state but not from North Mississippi. The first half went rather smoothly and the Red team scored at will, leading 4-0 at half. Blue was getting frustrated and much like many teams that get behind do, seem to blame the referee among any call that did not go their way. After I had called a pushing foul against Blue by means of using an elbow to gain an advantage to the ball, a Blue player dissented with a "soft foul" comment, earning him a Yellow Card. The Blue Head Coach started going out of his way and started to verbally assault me after asking why his player got a Yellow - after plainly point out that he dissented to the referee (the entire thing happened 25 feet infront of their bench), he proceed to say that does not earn a card and not in the rules (which couldn't be further from the truth). Again using the ATD method, I had to go through Ask and Tell before he finally stopped, using the same way I went this morning, I said one more out of that area and he was gone. Red team proceed to score off the ensuing free kick which didn't help matters. It was about three minutes later I had my rabbit ears going hearing yet another insult to my refereeing style from the Blue bench after a physical but legal play had been made and the ball had went out of play. I had made a 180 to their bench and told their coach to leave. He didn't oblige. After telling him a second time to leave and didn't do so, threatened to abandon the match with more than 12 minutes left of the 70 minute match. He finally left after a minute and constant warnings about when I was going to abandon the match - warnings I had followed through on all match. Later on in the game with about 3 minutes left, I had called a foul in favor of Blue - again infront of the Blue bench. Blue wanted a quick restart but rolled the ball on the ground and before the ball stopped, kicked it. I called it back as the ball had to be still for the kick to be legal and to be put in play. Their Assistant Coach completely overreacted to this and threaten him his tossing then continued on. After he continued on, I tossed him but he wouldn't budge. Seeing this same scenario happen just 10 minutes before, their team trailing 5-1, and just more than two minutes left, I abandoned the match.
This was reported to the Kentucky SRO directly. I cannot say as I do not know what happened after having this being reported what will happen to their coaching careers. I can't imagine he would be coaching much in his next tournament.
So after all that excitement I finally get into the hotel room at 9:40 PM, ordered Pizza, ate some of it, and slept.
My first match on Sunday was a U11 Girls Center, where a Black team defeated a White team 4-0 in a snoozefest. All four of my games on Sunday were Centers.
My second match dealt with the U12 Boys Oxford Team and the Lobos - an Oxford team I knew nearly every player on the team for. Unlike the situation with the U17 Boys match, I felt more comfortable refereeing this match as these kids were 11 and this was their only team they played on and not 15-16 years old and keep their stats for OHS Boys Soccer. After a competitive and action-packed but scoreless first half, Oxford used the wind to their advantage in the 2nd half - still blowing from yesterday - and earned a 2-0 win.
The third match pitted another U11 Girls Flood team and a Blue team. Blue controlled much of the match but only mustered out a 2-0 win. The Flood had their chances but couldn't convert any. It was a competitive game where I did not have to get involved much unlike the day I had Saturday.
The fourth and last match was a U11 Girls Final Match in a separate U11 Girls Bracket where a separate Flood team faced off against a Madison team in an all-Mississippi final. Madison team jumped ahead 1-0 in the first half on a PK after a slide tackle by the Flood from behind inside the Penalty Area prevented a possible scoring chance (and earned a Yellow Card because of all that). The PK was deflected by the keeper right back to the kicker who scored it. Some from the Flood peanut gallery wanted a Double Touch be called except that the ball was deflected by their Keeper which prevented the call from being made. Madison added a goal to make it 2-0 in the second half on a cross play that found the net before anyone else touched it. The Flood Keeper had gone out to stop the ball before the cross attempt was made but missed. The Flood found the back of the net with 3 minutes left to give themselves a chance at 2-1. Several injuries had forced stoppage time in the second half. With just under a minute left, a collision between a Flood attacker and the Madison Keeper occurred with both members going for the ball. The Keeper for a fraction of a second gained control of the ball pinning both hands with the ball to the ground before the Flood's foot knocked it free and proceeded before the attacker could stop herself to trample the Keeper injuring her inadvertently. Madison parents wanted a card from that which I could have given but did not show because with the game this close to completion and both players went in for the ball bracing for impact during the play. The Madison Keeper stayed in the game. She stayed down for two minutes and being the game as close as it is and with such importance added time to the end of this game to in my opinion insure a fair match with all 50 minutes being played. A furious rally ensued with the ball staying on the Flood's attacking end for the majority of that minute but couldn't push one through before time expired, giving Madison a much earned 2-1 win.