Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blue Devils season in review

I have to say, this was the best season I have had in a long time as a player or coach. When I first got this team, like any rec coach you don't know what to expect. We had about a month to practice and put this team together. I remember our first scrimmage with another team how we danced around them and Greg and I looked at each other like we won the lottery.

We had our first game and our team really gelled as we won our first game with an exciting last minute goal by MN. We were high. Maybe too high as we decided to go up against a class 3 team. We did and while we gave them something to chew on, we did lose. Still we took it to them and I felt we could do the same on our next game.

However, that didn't happen. We played the same team again after a week bye. It was demoralizing after we warned the girls they were hungry for revenge, they got it 4-0. We actually played better against the first place team later on that day.

The following week we played the Super 8 team. We knew this was going to be the future comp team but we had the size advantage. We tied 0-0. I felt it should have been an easy win, but nobody was really shooting and if we don't shoot, we don't score.

We still we're in a good spot but the top two teams that were undefeated, we're getting so high up the ladder that first or 2nd was getting far out of our reach. We played the first place team again. They beat us 5-0. Got to a point where we put MH in goal. Her father was worried, but we had a slaughter rule. However, it had to get past 6-0 for that to happen and since they were not sure, we held them by one point. It also gave MH a GAA average of 0.0 since it wasn't an ideal position for her to be playing.

So we played the next team who hasn't had a steller season. It was a battle royal, but VH and NH did a sister act and put us in the win by 1-0.

So we played the other team tied for first. I didn't have any high expectations at this point, but I still wanted my players to give me their best effort. And they did. While we didn't win, we made the other team sweat. Sweat to the point they were worried we would kill their undefeated title. One of the other coaches was an ass. Kept going around my bench to coach until I asked the referee in a coy like fashion "Ref, is he allowed to coach over there?" Pissed him off. At the end, the score was 3-2, them but my girls were proud how they took it too them.

We faced another good team. I felt we could have beaten them. However, our defense was not playing up to par. We held them all half, dominating them. We had the first goal. The answered in stoppage time because my defense quit. Even though we tied, we could have taken them the second half, but they were demoralized. And for that we lost the match.

I wasn't happy with the team and I made them run in practice. Then I sat them down and I said, this season can be whatever you make of it. And I asked what they wanted. Most said to win. Everyone said to have fun. However, SS said the most profound thing. She said, "I wanted us to be complmented on our efforts when we do good." So that is how I appraoched the rest of the season. We had a bye so we just practiced and things seem to come together in practice. We also were making arrangements to scrimmage the class 3 team again.

So we come off our bye and play the same team again. This time they played a different team. We dominated most of the game but they answered every goal with one of their one at the most inopportune time. However we find the tie was as good as a victory as it insured we would not move down any further in the standings and we had Dublin Cup to look forward to.

Greg decided we were going to practice 3 times a week and we then got our field for a scrimage. A night game under the lights. The girls were charged up by this. Now the class 3 team thought they were going to walk over us. We thought they were going to win. However after the opening whistle, I saw something different. I saw the Blue Devils playing like a team. We had several chances that were squelched and they had chances that were either squelched by our defense or by great goalkeeping on both sides. At the end we tied 0-0, which to me was a solid victory as we took it to them. Great way to get pumped up for the Dublin Cup.

A good thing too. You see we had problems with the Tournament Director. I asked her about the format of the tournament and she told more then I wanted to know...or hear. Basically we fought to stay in 5th place for nothing. The first place team got a bye the first round. We were faced not with the cheetahs but with the Dolphins who were also undefeated. We felt screwed in that drawing. Dolphins were also feeling cheated as they felt they should have been faced with the last place team. We should have played the cheetahs the first round. But because the Super 8 coach whined about facing the top team then it was done pretty much at random.

So why was it a good thing? Because we just came off facing a class 3 team with a tie and with that kind of victory, there was no reason why we couldn't beat any team. We almost did too. We tied them in the regulation. This was even after the beginning of the 2nd half the Dolphins forward took out my keeper. I have to admit I was worried about my 2nd string even after a good performance in the goal during the scrimmage because trying to get her to give me her best effort was tough. Even to a point where I sat her down and I said, "MS, I need your best effort. Nothing less.." I must have gotten through to her because that is what she gave us, and then some. She came up big on some saves. SS, kept us in regulation with a goal mouth block. As much as I didn't want her to hang in defense, this was the one time I was not going to scold her for it. I was even more harsh on the referee then I usually am. Rememeber that forward who took out my keeper. She was still fouling and I finally broke down and yelled, "How many more fouls is she going to get to do before a card comes out?" The ref knew I was watching (yes he knows who I am) and the other team knows I was watching.

We went into overtime. Still no goal. We went into golden goal period. Unfortunately it didn't take long for the other team to score, but if I were to lose, that is the way to go. My team gave 110% out there and they never wavered. Not once. So at the end of the season, I was extremly proud of the team I had and wouldn't trade them for anyone or anything. They really came up big when they needed to.

So how did the Dolphins do? Well they walked over the other Dolphins with ease and then the championship, they out scored them 4-0. So basically there was any consolation...the Dolphins will remember how they nearly missed the championship due to the Blue Devils.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Full moon on the pitch

Last weekend was a full weekend of soccer. Several weeks back I was asked to take a game on a specific date to a potentially volatile soccer match. I accepted because I know there is not many in my league who could handle this.

I'm just going to call these teams green and red for a little sake of animitity. The problem first starts with the home league. Friday mid-afternoon I had a full crew and some good referees who could assist. I felt it was a good start. Friday night I get an e-mail from that league's coordinator stating the usual song and dance about needing more referees and provided the list. I was shocked to see an AR missing from my game. I was pissed. I then discovered early the next morning that same AR on a class 4 U12 girls match? I was like, "WTF?!?!" I was pretty pissed a the referee and I was about to let him have it at the field because my game was where he was coming off but he was first to inform me he was pulled off by the coordinator. I was fuming. I spent that morning calling referees out of my little circle but knowing in the back of my head, it was a no go because they had games already.

I did the unthinkable and went to the U13 boys game next field and politely recruited a referee to AR my match. I had worked with Patrick before and I know he could handle it, but a part of me felt bad because I broke up one band to fill the other. I found out later his U13 game went well which made me feel better and he noticed my game was pretty heated.

You see I broke out with the cards already when things were getting out of hand. I had one kid in particular who did a two footed tackle, just clipped the player. I played the advantage and informed him I was coming back to him. Ball goes out of play and I issue the card. 15 minutes later a ball goes out for a green corner kick and red blasts the ball to the parking lot. I pulled the card out to caution him and noticed he looked familliar. I looked at his number and looked in my book and saw there was already a number 3. So I showed the red. Parents went ballistic. Coaches went ballistic. They kept whining and compaining for most of the first half. I heard, "let them play ref." Which I have now concluded that is code for, "Let us kick the crap out of one another." I do know this. The second half, it was much quieter.

On Sunday I did another game, U19 Boys copper...by myself! Still I felt I could handle it. After all I have done amatuer 2nd and 3rd division alone. Again it will be green vs. red (a different league). So as the play goes, red is fouling like it was out of style. 2 players are flirting with persistant infringement and one green player was getting fouled so now flirting with a team persistant infrindgement. The first card came out was from number 9 red who took part of fouling this one green player. He said, "But ref, it was my first foul of the game." I said, "Maybe, but I stated there was a pattern being noticed after the 3rd time this one player was fouled." Then a couple more players earned their own PI but the one star player was left alone after that. So I have 3 cards for red, none for green.

Second half comes around and now green is starting to get agreesive. I carded one for an reckless challenge and another for Delay restart. I figured with that, red didn't feel I was singling them out. However, I had one red player do a two handed push off the ball. I said play on and just like the day before was going to come back to caution. Well the next stoppage happened with red scored a goal, so I awarded the goal and a caution to that one red player.

16 minutes later ball moves on and in my periphial vision I just notice the same player who did an off the ball foul tripped a player. So he left me no choice but to send him off. I could have done 2 more with the PI players but I told each one of them they were on borrowed time and they got the message.

The worse part was at the end of the game after I told the coach i would write it up in a way they would give him the minimum (1 game) and we shake hands, some overzealous parent comes my way with the camera wanting to show me something. I said something short of get that *(&^ing camera out of my face and of course he accuses me of a bad attitude.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More on the DOGSO

After bouncing this off with a friend, here is my problem with DOGSO in CYSA (Denying an Obvious Goalscoring Opportunity). The player gets a minimum of 2 games suspension for a foul and misconduct that doesn't phyiscally hurt the player (trip, push, hold), but if you commit serious foul play, where you can really hurt someone, the minimum suspension is 1 game. Tell me that isn't messed up?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day of blowouts

Last saturday was a busy day for me in soccer. First I had a double-header with my U10 girls team. Who decided to give us two games in one weekend was really heavy on the vino. Our first game we actually had a good first half. We were standing them up pretty well. We should have since we beat them in the last game. Somehow we fell apart in the 2nd half and we just got scored on . Our defense was really terrible. Mid-fielders couldn't get back to save our lives. Our GK was a mess. Make matters worse, and I don't blame them for our loss, but the refereeing was terrible. I had a center who couldn't blow his whistle and a real lazy AR who was way off the second to the last defender. I let Greg have a chat with them.

I put a new keeper in on the second game which was the original plan. However, again we had a good first half, even as we only let one goal in. Again our defense was flat. We got scored on again in the second half, but one of those there was nothing the keeper could have done about it. The others again I blame our defense. The refereeing was much better the second time around.

Then came my center. U17 boys. Spartans vs. B Oaks. I have to say the Spartans don't belong in this division. They were out played and out classed. I had to pull a red card on a Spartan player for a DOGSO. You know the worse part about that red? It was as they were losing 7-0. I could have turned a blind eye some may say, but the laws do not dictate you can ignore the 4 D's if the one committing it is on the losing side, none the last getting their asses handed to them. I felt bad but I had to do it. What's even worse is I have to supporting documents that say this DOGSO is a 2 game minimum suspension.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blue Devils won their first game

My team won their first game. Some people are still talking about the late heroic goal that won the game, but had I not spoke up, we would have never had that goal. So let's talk about what happened.

Before the game: Greg (the other coach) and I hashed the game. Being that we're U10 house we play with 8 players on the field instead of 11. This left us with a formation of 3-2-2 which is what I had in mind because I wanted a solid back. Greg wanted a 2-2-3 because he wanted a strong attack and he noticed that those who played it did well for scoring. So I made a deal with him. We used one of our girls as an anchor player and observed the formation of the other team. If they played a 3-2-2, then we were going to play a 2-2-3. Which is exactly what happened.

During the game: With the exception of one player who suddenly developed stage fright at the beginning, we played very well together. We got a first goal from that one anchor player we pulled from the back to the forward. We held on that lead until 20 minutes we're up and the referee blew the whistle for halftime....while we were goal bound.

I did tell myself that I was not going to play the "I'm a referee" card and for the most part I didn't have to. The referee crew knew who I was and I can tell they were intimidated. I kept my mouth shut to them until this point. I calmly walked over to the crew and I asked, "Ref, how long are the halves?"
Ref: "She said 20 minutes."
Me: "Who said?"
Ref: "She said."
Me: "Who's she? Oh, you mean ____?"
Ref: "Yeah."
I turned to walk while I pondered my options and what I had to do to right things didn't sit well, but I had my team to think about so I went back and said, "You have two options here. You can pull the team out and play the remaining 5 minutes and then play the second half 25 minutes or you can start the second half and you are now obligated to play 20 because the laws of the game mandate equal halves. But if we lose as a result of the latter decision we're going to be playing under protest. You're choice."
I turned to walk away and she said, "We..We'll play the remaining 5 minutes." Good decision!
f course she restarted incorrectly with a kick off for us which would have been protestable itself, but I kept my mouth shut. Should have been a dropped ball.

So as a result of the decision we had a tying goal in the 20 minute from the other team. Our anchor gal came back at the final minute to give us the game winning goal. The referee went home and probably said, "Whew!"

Monday, September 08, 2008

Under Scrutiny

I had a really good U17 boys match. Chris H. and Kevin T were my ARs. I have to say though I expected more out of my AR1 being that he was a grade 7 and an instructor. He really didn't help out in the subs so I had to do most myself.

During my pre-game I told my ARs that Dublin and Livermore, regardless what teams they are or age groups have a history of getting physical. So we were going to make our presence known. I would say 3 hard fouls and a yellow card in the 4th minute of the game, we put things under control where they played soccer and I didn't have to do much. It really got chippy at the last quarter of the match. I had to caution a player who took a dive. He even tried to make it convincing by confronting the player who "tripped" him and I gave him a card for his trouble. No send offs. Two yellows a piece.
On thing I don't miss from G*S*S*L is the paperwork. Name one other league professional or otherwise that has so much paperwork.

Oh the meaning of my title. Well let me put it this way. The two coaches for Dublin. My former students. Half of the team on Dublin. Former students. Several people watching from the sidelines what were parents, the BOD, or otherwise. Former students.

A little pressure to show them I practice what I preach.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The weekend in Alaska

I was hoping to get more blogging time, but I was really busy and then really tired. With the sun out longer in these parts it was hard to tell when to sleep. The picture is the house all the out of state referees stayed. We had referees from Cal-North, Cal-South, Washington, and even one from Montana. Funny part about where we were staying, it felt like a "Big Brother" setting where the best referees would be the last to go. I have to say Jesse and I were the 3 and 4th place as the Husband and wife from Washington got the latest flight out of here.

Thursday night Jesse and I had an exhibition match at Dimond High School. It was a good game, not much going on. After the game we had a meeting and the locals introduced us out of staters. My favorite was when one of the head locals was telling his referees, "Don't embarrass us."
I should have listened to that advice. On Friday, John started us out with U11 boys which was an easy game. Coach was annoying as hell, but more on him later. I had my second game with U12 girls. In AK the maximum players was 8 instead of 11 for under 12 and below. This got me in trouble. SERIOUS TROUBLE. My ARs were first year referees. I gave a pre-game, but took for granted they would count the players. One team had one player extra on the field. When was this caught. If you are feeling the twist in your gut, you know it wasn't the best of times. It was shortly after the restart of the first goal the extra playered team scored. It really sucked and it didn't take long for tournament directors to catch wind of it.
At half time the score was 4-0 now. The tournament director came and I told him, I screwed up (Yes my ARs buried me, but ultimately I should have taken more caution). The losing coach came out and I told him on the spot before he can speak that I screwed up and he has every right to be upset, but we need to finish the game. He was more then understanding of the situation. Basically the score stayed the same and even if they took the one goal for sake of points. Lucky me!

Day 2 was better. It was all U19's and more my element. I did the girls center. It was as fun as usual. Only had to give one stern lecture and it was all good. The boys I did a line for Jesse and this other guy from Montana. Between the 3 of us, we had good control of the match but the games were a bit lopsided on the boys.

Also on the photo to your left is a fine example of dress and appearance. Would you take this referee seriously?

Day 3 was the best. I had a U15 boys semi final. Northern Lights were well connected from the back line to the front strikers. Alaska Rush was struggling after the first goal. It was a near perfect game except I did have to caution a Rush player for a tactical foul which was pretty damn close to be a DOGSO. Two defenders got back in time to make it just a yellow. The only goal Rush got was through my PK call where Northern lights passed the ball back and the keeper juggled it a bit too long. Lost the ball, so he tackled the player. Lucky for the keeper, the stricker was dribbling away from goal or I would have had to send him off in another DOGSO scenerio.

I also ran line for a couple of games. One was with John M. I hadn't refereed with him in years. We had fun and the girls played some hard soccer. The U15 boys final, I got Northern Lights again. They played Phoenix and while Phoenix played hard, a few of them played too hard. There was a #13 which committed most of the fouls, encroched a few times, kicked the ball away after a foul. He should have been booked, but the center, an up and coming youth, didn't have the courage. I even asked him at half time, who the trouble makers are. He said 13. However a couple more talking to was all I saw. At one point, the last 15 minutes 13 dicided to play ball, but I still thought he should have gone in the book. Now he is someone else's problem.

After the tournament we went to a party where we had all kind of Salmon and Halabout. I was stuffed, but it was a great way to end a tournament weekend. I'm flying home today in about 5 hours. Some referees weren't lucky as they had a midnight flight. Fortunately I learned from the last time I was there to get what you want.

ETA: It looks like Jesse and I are the last ones out of the house. The Washington couple left us a note saying goodbye. So my plan to win this big brother contest is to have Jesse leave first.