I’m an AR in a U17 match. Defending team is pushed up in an offside trap. Offensive team plays a long ball behind the defense. Two offensive players — one in offside position when the ball is played, the other not — chase the ball. The “onside” player is a step or two ahead of the “offside” player, and will probably get there first.
1) Is the player in an offside position “actively involved in the play” if he is chasing a ball a teammate will reach legally before he does?
2) As the AR, where do I go? Do I follow the ball, or do I hold my spot just in case the “offside” attacker becomes “actively involved” so the restart can be placed properly?
3) When do I raise my flag? Do I wait the three to five seconds it will take to determine whether the offside player plays the ball, or does it go up immediately?
USSF answer (November 3, 2008):
2) Remember the spot and follow the ball.
3) Raise your flag ONLY if is clear that the player who was in the offside position will beat his teammate to the ball. If there is any doubt as to which will get to the ball first, you must keep the flag down.