April 14, 2008
I need some advice on a U10 girls game I was refereeing yesterday.
There was a direct free kick for White just outside Blue˙s penalty area. Blue setup for the kick without a wall and with just the goalkeeper inside the penalty box. There were two White players closer to the goal than the ball but not behind the Blue Goalkeeper.
If I understand Rule 11 correctly, when the ball is kicked by White, if neither White player touches the ball or is involved in the play there is no offside penalty called. If either White player touch the ball or are involved in the play there would be an offside penalty called. If the ball bounces off the Blue goalkeeper and either White player touch the ball an offside penalty would be called.
First, please let me know if I am interpreting Rule 11 correctly.
Second, would an Indirect Free Kick be judged any differently?
Third, is it valid for Blue to set up this way forcing White to stand behind the second to last player?
USSF answer (April 14, 2008):
You are correct. It is perfectly legal for players to be in the offside position, even when their teammates play the ball, as long as they do not become actively involved in the play by interfering with an opponent, interfering with play, or gaining an advantage because of their position. If they do become actively involved, then they may be judged to be offside.
Offside may occur at any free kick, whether direct or indirect. And the intelligent referee will remember that interfering with play is not limited to touching the ball. Too many referees seem to become wound up with the “got-to-touch-the-ball” idea.