In tonight’s [state high school playoff game], the game goes into tie breaker using PK’s. The Goalie for team A stops the goal. The goalie does not leave the line early. None of the players leaves the line, no infractions. The goalie after stopping the goal celebrates by fist pumping and letting out a yell. The ref states it is taunting. The ref lets the same girl get another try. This time the goal goes in. Where is this in the rule book? How is this possible? The coach complains to the referee, the coach gets a yellow and is ask to leave the area.

USSF answer (November 16, 2010):
Coach, we are NOT authorized to give answers on questions involving games played using the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). If you can accept that our answer cannot be considered “official,” then here is our take on the matter. If you want an official NFHS answer you need to check with a high school rules interpreter in your area.

The only thing in the scenario which would be considered specific to NFHS rules is the decision about taunting. Of course, “taunting” is totally “in the opinion of the referee” but, if the referee decides a player’s action IS taunting, NFHS rules call for the taunting player to be disqualified (sent from the field) with a red card (Rule 12.8.3b). The referee might also choose to consider the action as coming under 12.8.2a which results in a yellow+red card (the so-called “soft” red — player can be replaced). In either case, the operative word is “disqualified,” which means that the goalkeeper HAD to be sent from the field. If not sent from the field, then it wasn’t taunting (or the less serious but, in our opinion, arguably more apt “delayed, excessive or prolonged act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself and/or prohibits a timely restart of the game”).

Without any card shown (and none is mentioned), the referee has absolutely no basis in NFHS Rules for not accepting the result of the kick from the mark. Nothing the goalkeeper did is contrary to the NFHS kicks from the mark procedure. Furthermore, even if the goalkeeper WAS guilty of any sort of misconduct and was shown a card of any color, this does not affect the outcome or acceptability of the kick because it was behavior that occurred after the kick was over. In this, there would be no difference between NFHS Rules or FIFA Laws.

As for the referee’s subsequent action regarding the coach, the most that can be said here is that, once again, the referee has gotten creative.

Receiving a caution and being shown a yellow card is permissible under NFHS Rules but, absent the special circumstance of this being a SECOND caution for the coach, there is no basic in the NFHS Rules for ordering the coach “to leave the area.”…


The [recent] memo [on managing feinting by the kicker at a penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark] says that, if a kick from the penalty mark needs to be retaken, a teammate of the original kicker may take the kick if he/she is eligible. The memo goes on to say, ‘The kicker is, however, credited with having taken the kick….’ Does the blue wording refer to the original kicker? If so, this is a new interpretation, right? (I say that because our kicks-from-the-penalty-mark checklist says that the original kicker whose kick is retaken by a different eligible player is not counted as having taken a kick.)

USSF answer (July 13, 2010):
We regret any possible confusion. The source for the information is the checklist for kicks from the penalty mark:

“The original kicker whose kick is retaken by a different eligible player is not counted as having taken a kick.”

The language in question is in footnote 2 of the position paper and refers to a situation in which there is no retake. Therefore, “the kicker” in this case means the player who actually performed the kick, not the player who originally took the kick that had to be retaken. …


On what grounds can a referee stop and abandon a soccer match

USSF answer (March 31, 2010):
An interesting question, one that requires a good bit of space to answer completely.

Under the Laws of the Game (or, as they are called in Great Britain, the Laws of Association Football), the referee has the power to stop, suspend or abandon the match, at his discretion for any infringements of the Laws or for outside interference of any kind. A referee (or where applicable, an assistant referee or fourth official) is not held liable for a decision to abandon a match for whatever reason.

We need first to differentiate between “abandon” and “terminate” a match. The difference between terminating a match and abandoning a match is a subtle one, but it is historically correct and supported by traditional practice. (Research into the history of the Laws will reveal this clearly; the IFAB now uses “abandon” almost exclusively, most likely just to confuse us all.) The referee may abandon a match if there is an insufficient number of players to meet the requirements of the Law or the competition, if a team does not appear or leaves before completion of the game, or if the field or any of its equipment do not meet the requirements of the Laws or are otherwise unsafe; i. e., for technical (Law 1) or physical (Law 4) safety. An abandoned match is replayed unless the competition rules provide otherwise. The referee may terminate a match for reasons of non-physical safety (bad weather or darkness), for any serious infringement of the Laws, or because of interference by spectators. Only the competition authority, not the referee, has the authority to declare a winner, a forfeit, or a replay of the match in its entirety. The referee must report fully on the events. “Suspended” means that a match was stopped temporarily for any of various reasons. After that the match is either resumed, abandoned, or terminated and the competition rules take over.

• Law 1 states that if the crossbar becomes displaced or broken, play is stopped until it has been repaired or replaced in position. If it is not possible to repair the crossbar, the match must be abandoned. In addition, if the referee declares that one spot on the field is not playable, then the entire field must be declared unplayable and the game abandoned.

• A careful inspection of the field before the start of the game might lead the referee to abandon the game before it was started. If, once the match has begun, the referee discovers a problem that is not correctable, then the referee’s decision must be to abandon the game and report the matter to the competition authority.

• Under Law 5, the referee is authorized to stop play if, in his opinion, the floodlights are inadequate.

If an object thrown by a spectator hits the referee or one of the assistant referees or a player or team official, the referee may allow the match to continue, suspend play or abandon the match depending on
the severity of the incident. He must, in all cases, report the incident(s) to the appropriate authorities. Using the powers given him by Law 5, the referee may stop, suspend or terminate the match, at his discretion, for any infringements of the Laws or for grave disorder (see below). If he decides to terminate the match, he must provide the appropriate authorities with a match report which includes information on any disciplinary action taken against players, and/or team officials and any other incidents which occurred before, during or after the match. In no event may the referee determine the winner of any match, terminated or not. Nor may the referee decide whether or not a match must be replayed. Both of those decisions are up to the competition authority, i. e., the league, cup, tournament, etc.

“Grave disorder” would be any sort of dustup involving the players and/or spectators and/or team officials which puts the officials in immediate or likely subsequent jeopardy — fights which metastasize beyond just 2 or 3, masses of spectators invading the pitch, throwing dangerous objects (e. g., firecrackers, butane lighters, etc.) onto the field, and so forth.

• The referee has no authority to force a team to play if they do not wish to continue a game nor to terminate the match in such a case. The referee will simply abandon the game and include all pertinent details in the match report.

• In the opinion of the International F.A. Board, a match should not be considered valid if there are fewer than seven players in either of the teams. If a team with only seven players is penalized by the award of a penalty-kick and as a consequence one of their players is sent off, leaving only six in the team, the game must be abandoned without allowing the penalty-kick to be taken unless the national association has decided otherwise with regard to the minimum number of players.

• The referee must not abandon the game if a team loses a kicker after kicks from the mark begin. The kicks must be completed.

• If a player has been seriously injured and cannot leave the field without risking further injury, the referee must stop the game and have the player removed. If, for whatever reason, there is no competent person available to oversee removal of the seriously injured player from the field for treatment, then the match must be abandoned.

• If player fraud is alleged prior to the game and the player will admit that he is not the person on the pass he has presented and the game has already begun, the referee will have to deal with the matter of an outside agent on the field. If the fraud were not discovered until after the game had been restarted, the only solution would be to abandon the match. If there is no goal issue, the fraudulent player is removed and the game is restarted with a dropped ball.

• If a player, from a team with only seven players, leaves the field of play to receive medical attention, the match will stop until this player has received treatment and returns to the field of play. If he is unable to return, the match is abandoned, unless the member association has decided otherwise with regard to the minimum number of players.

In all cases, the referee must submit a full report to the appropriate authorities.

If the referee discovers that a period of play was ended prematurely but a subsequent period of play has started, the match must be abandoned and the full details of the error included in the game report.

The Laws make the point that the coach and other team officials must BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY and thus may not shout, curse, interfere, or otherwise make a nuisance of themselves The coach’s presence, or the presence of any other team official, is generally irrelevant to the game — under the Laws of the Game, but it may have some importance under the rules of youth competitions. If the coach or other team official is removed, known in the Law as “expelled,” that person must leave the field and its environs. If it is a youth game and the coach and all other team officials have been expelled, then the referee should consider abandoning the game. A full report must be filed with the competition authority. The referee has no authority to determine who has won or lost the game, whether by forfeit or any other process; that is the responsibility of the competition authority. The referee must file a report on all events associated with the abandonment.

Once the game begins, only the referee has the right to decide whether the game continues, is suspended temporarily, terminated or abandoned. If a game is abandoned or terminated before it is completed, the determination of the result is up to the competition authority (league, cup, tournament). In most cases, competitions declare that if a full half has been played, the result stands, but that does not apply to all competitions. The referee does not have the authority to declare what the score is or who has won the game. The referee’s only recourse is to include in his game report full details of what caused the match to be abandoned or terminated. The status of an abandoned is determined by the rules of the competition or the competition authority itself. There is no set amount of time, but many rules of competition will call a game complete if a full half has been played.…


During a sudden death penalty shoot out the away side’s two weakest kick takers have gone down, writhing around and claiming they have hamstring injuries. Their manager says they can’t take their kicks, so now the first two takers, penalty experts, should go again. What do you do?

USSF answer (March 3, 2010):
Under the Laws of the Game, either or both of the two sides may be reduced to one player during kicks from the penalty mark, so the number of kickers is not an issue. In this particular set of circumstances, if there is no doctor available and the players assure the referee that they are indeed “injured,” the referee has no recourse other than to accept their statements at face value , bolstered by whatever evidence the referee may have (appearance, surface injury, statements by a trainer, player’s mother, etc.), and begin the kicks from the penalty mark with the “available” number of eligible players. In any case, all facts must be reported to the competition authority.

If the referee has any doubts about the players’ true state of health — and who would not, with such an apparently crass display of poor sportsmanship and the attempt to bring the game into disrepute — he must make that clear in his report. The final decision is up to the competition authority.…


At a major state recertification seminar today, we discussed deception on the taking of a PK – more specifically, the case when a player goes beyond legal deception and on to infringement.

The case in question is a player who approaches the ball, overruns it, then backs up.

My position was simple: LotG state that if the kicker infringes, the ref allows the kick to be taken, and either orders a rekick or orders an IFK out, depending on if the ball entered the goal or not.

Our instructor stated that the correct procedure is to blow the whistle at the point when the kicker backs up, without allowing the kick to be taken, and award the IFK immediately. He stated this was direction from FIFA.

At a break, I asked our guest speaker, a former FIFA ref, and that ref did not know. It was suggested that I contact you.

If our instructor was correct, please direct me to the appropriate FIFA publication. I pride myself on knowing the laws and would like to understand this better.

USSF answer (February 8, 2010):
We are not aware of any changes in Law 14 as published for 2009-2010:

Infringements and Sanctions
If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:

the player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
* the referee allows the kick to be taken
* if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
* if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred

See also this excerpt from Advice to Referees 14.9 INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14:

Infringements after the referee’s whistle but before the ball is in play may be committed by the kicker, the goalkeeper, or by any of their teammates.  Violations of Law 14 by the kicker in particular include back heeling the ball (14.12), running past the ball and then backing up to take the kick, excessively changing directions in the run to the ball or taking an excessively long run to the ball (which, in the opinion of the referee, results in an unnecessary delay in taking the kick), or making any motion of the hand or arm which (in the opinion of the referee) is clearly intended to confuse or misdirect the attention of the ‘keeper.  In almost all such cases, the referee should let the kick proceed and deal with the violation in accordance with the chart [given in the excerpt from the Law, above], which outlines the proper restarts for clear infringements of Law 14.  However, in the case of a kicker creating an unnecessary delay in taking the kick, the referee should intervene, if possible, warn the kicker to proceed properly, and signal (whistle) again for the restart.

So, only in the case of the kicker taking an excessively long run to the ball should the referee intervene (“if possible”) before the kick is taken — the implication being that, if intervention even in this case is not possible, the referee follows the general advice on Law 14 violations. The Federation has dealt with one or more aspects of this situation in Memos in 2005, 2007, and as recently as August 2009 (a “stutter step kick” with a clip).

NOTE: Feinting at penalty kicks is going to be a topic of discussion at the IFAB meeting of March 6, 2010. it is possible that this answer might change based on the outcome of the discussion.…


Download a printable copy of the following checklist: KFTM_Checklist.pdf

To: National Referees
National Instructors
National Assessors
State Referee Administrators
State Youth Referee Administrators
State Directors of Instruction
State Directors of Assessment
State Directors of Coaching

From: Alfred Kleinaitis
Manager of Referee Development and Education

Subject: Kicks from the Penalty Mark Checklist

Date: April 2, 2009

In many parts of the country, tournaments are starting to occur and often their rules include requirements for breaking ties. However, information about the mechanics and procedures involved in taking kicks from the penalty mark to break a tie is spread across several sources:
• the Laws of the Game,
• the new “Interpretation and Guidelines” section of the Laws of the Game published by FIFA (and available on the USSF website under “Laws of the Game”),
• Advice to Referees, and
• earlier memoranda distributed by US Soccer Referee Department.

The following checklist of responsibilities, guidelines, and procedures is provided as a useful single source of guidance for referees who need to conduct this process. The checklist begins at the top of the next page to facilitate printing out just the checklist.

Kicks From The Penalty Mark Checklist
(References below to “regular play” include any additional periods of play required by the competition authority as a means of breaking a tie prior to the use of kicks from the penalty mark. References to “round” mean the entire set of eligible players for a team.)

Before the conclusion of regular play
• Cover in the pregame basic requirements for this procedure
• In competitions using unlimited substitution rules, remind both coaches at a convenient stoppage (e.g., between the first and second additional periods of play) that:
o Only players on the field at the end of regular play will be eligible to participate in kicks from the mark
o Eligible players must be kept separate from ineligible players when regular play ends

Between the conclusion of regular play and the taking of the first kick
• The “kicks from the penalty mark” phase of the match begins immediately upon the conclusion of regular play and includes the activities described in this section
• Determine the number of eligible players for each team
o Eligible players include any players temporarily off the field with the permission or at the direction of the referee (e.g., receiving treatment, correcting equipment, bleeding, or blood on the uniform who have not been substituted with the permission of the referee)
o A player temporarily off the field at the end of regular play who is declared unable to return after regular play has ended but before the first kick from the mark is taken may not be substituted for and will reduce the number of eligible players for that team
• If, based on this determination, the teams are of unequal numbers, the team with more eligible players must “reduce to equate”
o The captain of the larger team must identify the player(s) to be excluded from participating in kicks from the penalty mark as a means of making equal the number of eligible players on each team
o The excluded player(s) must join team officials and substitutes in the technical area
• Allow eligible players to receive water, treatment, equipment repair, or other such assistance on the field near their bench. Team officials may temporarily enter the field but must exit the field when directed by the referee.
• Decide which end of the field will be used for this procedure
o The senior assistant referee takes a position at the intersection of the goal line and the goal area line
o The other assistant referee will be located in the center circle
• Conduct a coin toss (winner chooses which team will kick first)
• At the conclusion of the break time set by the competition authority, ensure that only eligible players remain on the field
o Defending goalkeeper properly positioned at the goal
o Non-defending goalkeeper at the intersection of the goal line and the penalty area line behind the lead assistant referee
o All others off the field (substitutes and team officials in their respective technical areas)

During kicks from the penalty mark (from the first kick onward)
• All eligible players (including the goalkeeper) must conform with the uniform and equipment requirements of Law 4
• All players and substitutes remain under the authority of the referee
• A foul cannot be committed, but an appropriate card can be shown for misconduct
• A caution issued during regular play (including any extra time) is counted in causing a send-off if a second caution is given during kicks from the mark
• Team officials are required to behave in a responsible manner
• A player who is sent off or is injured and unable to continue will reduce the team’s pool of eligible players but the opposing team will not further “reduce to equate”
• Substitutions are not permitted
o However, an injured goalkeeper may be substituted if the team has not used all its permitted substitutions
o If the goalkeeper had kicked before being replaced, the goalkeeper’s substitute from off the field is considered also to have kicked
o No eligible player will be permitted to kick more than once in the same round of that player’s team
o The goalkeeper may change places with an eligible teammate at any time provided the requirements of Law 3 are met
• Except where modified by rules specific to this procedure, kicks from the mark are conducted in accordance with the requirements and procedures in Law 14, the Guide to Procedures, and the officiating team’s pregame discussion
o However, once the ball is in play, the kicker may not play the ball again in any way (including if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper, the crossbar, or a goalpost)
o A goal is scored by a kick from the mark only if it meets the requirements of Law 10
o If the kicker violates Law 14 and a goal is scored or if the goalkeeper violates Law 14 and a goal is not scored, the kick must be retaken
o If, as a result of a violation, the kick must be repeated, it may be taken by a different eligible player
• The other eligible player must not have kicked already in the same round
• The original kicker whose kick is retaken by a different eligible player is not counted as having taken a kick
o The senior assistant referee assists the referee with determining if a goal has been scored and whether there has been illegal goalkeeper movement which affected the outcome of the kick
o The other assistant referee assists in managing the eligible players in the center circle and maintaining an orderly movement of the players out from and back to the center circle, in accordance with the procedures discussed in the pregame
• If the end of the field being used for kicks from the mark becomes unplayable (pitch conditions and/or the condition of the goal), the referee may change to the other end of the field, but it is recommended that, if possible, this not be done until each team has kicked an equal number of times
• Unless otherwise specified by the rules of competition, the final match report will indicate the tied score at the end of regular play (including any extra time) and will then indicate the final tally of kicks from the mark which allowed one team to advance
• If, through misconduct, injury, or other cause, the number of players on a team falls below seven, the kicks from the penalty mark will continue so long as the team has at least a single eligible player

Initial group of 5 kicks from the mark
• Kicks from the mark are conducted in pairs, one from each team, for an initial round of up to five pairs
• Kicks from the mark are stopped and one team is declared the winner if that team has scored more goals than the other team and the number of kicks remaining for that other team is insufficient to make up the difference (e.g., 3-0 after three rounds — the team with 0 cannot make up the difference since only two kicks remain)
• Kicks from the mark proceed past the initial round of five only if, after five kicks by each team, the score is still tied

Initial round of all eligible players
• Past the initial group of five, kicks from the mark proceed only in single pairs
• At this point, kicks from the mark are stopped and one team is declared the winner if that team has scored in its pair but the other team has not
• An eligible player is guilty of misconduct (delaying the restart of play) if that player refuses or is not present to take a kick after all other eligible players have kicked in the round of that team and the player’s continued refusal or absence shall result in that player being sent off and declared ineligible
• If kicks from the mark proceed beyond all eligible players into a second or subsequent round, players are not required to kick in the same order as in any previous round…


You have probably seen the NCAA game that ended with KFTM, where a shot was saved by the GK and rebounded high in the air out near the 12 yard line and landed with backspin. The ball slowly rolled back into the goal as it was ignored by the GK. Neither the CR nor AR initially realized the goal should count, but the opposing GK (teammate of the shooter) vociferously pointed it out to the AR, and eventually the goal counted.

After hearing a lot of comments from referees on what they would do if this happened in a USSF game, I’d appreciate your comments. Some of these experienced referees have stated they would not count the goal (despite what seems to me to be clear in the Laws), stating things such as:
– “If there ever was a time when a referee should declare a penalty kick to be over before it technically must be declared over, this would be that time. Neither the goalkeeper nor the kicker entertained the possibility that a goal might still be scored.”
– “If this happened in most of our games, I suspect very few of us would award a goal. And I don’t think we SHOULD. . . If I’m the referee and a ball bounces off the crossbar and is 10 yards away from the goal line, in my opinion the kick has been completed.”
– “Besides being correct in what I feel is the spirit of the game or common sense, I believe a no-goal ruling also is correct by the letter of the law, as clarified by the ATR.”
– “That is very easy to defend: It is not a misapplication of the LOTG. It is a fact of play and the referee’s decision reigns supreme.”

I will go out on a limb and say that goal/no goal decisions are always in the category of “facts of play” (not protestable) and never “misapplications.”
– “You may want to re-read the relevant portion of the ATR again. The first time I read it, I missed the part about the ball needing to be in contact with post/bar/GK/ground AND still moving. Those criteria were NOT met on this particular kick. At least, at one point they were not and it seems completely valid for a referee to rule that the kick was completed — way before it came 10 yards back toward the goal line and crossed the line.”
– “Lets go directly to Law 5: The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. That is about as explicit as you can get. If the referee says it’s a goal then it’s a goal. If the referee says it’s not a goal then it’s not a goal. The decision is final. That means it cannot be protested.”

– – – – –

Based on the above statements by experienced referees, here are my questions, assuming this was a USSF game:

1. Under FIFA/USSF rules, should this goal count?

2. Assume the goal was not allowed and there was a protest.

Assuming the CR and AR accurately state that the ball spun back over the goal line but say that they believe the kick was over because it rebounded so far from the goal, would this be considered a misapplication of the LOTG (and thus protestable) or a factual situation that cannot be protested?

Thanks for your help. I think a lot of referees could use it in this situation.

USSF answer (December 8, 2009):
The first paragraph of Advice 14.13 is pretty clear; it also follows word for word the instructions from FIFA on when the kick has been completed. However, we might suggest that skeptics use their common sense and read the phrase “any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored” to mean in sequence or combination of those things. If the ball remains in motion after it has rebounded or deflected from any of those things and remains in the field, it is still in play. A referee would not stop play for such a thing during the game and there is no reason to stop it during penalty kicks or kicks from the penalty mark.

Answers: 1. Score the goal. 2. That situation would be counter to the Laws and tradition.

The penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is completed only when the referee declares it so, and the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that the ball is still in play. In other words: So long as the ball is in motion and contacting any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored.

//rest deleted as non-pertinent//…


When does the requirement to “Reduce to Equate” end.


At the final whistle Blue has 11 players, Red 9. The Blue captain tells 2 players that they cannot participate in the KFTPM. As the Blue players are leaving the center circle, and before the first kick a Red player says something and a fight breaks out between the 2 Blue players and the Red player. The 3 players (2 X Blue + 1 X Red) each receive a Red Card. As Red now has only 8 eligible players must Blue now reduce to equate again? If yes, does the “Reduce to Equate” period extend until the first kick is taken?

USSF answer (December 8, 2009):
The requirement to reduce to equate pertains only to the players remaining on the field or those temporarily off the field with the permission of the referee when the game ends. If a player is removed from the field for misconduct or injury AFTER the kicks begin the contest continues without him or her. If this occurs BEFORE the kicks begin, reduce to equate applies. So in your situation — the misconduct occurring before the first kick is taken — the two Blue players (who were ineligible in any event) are sent off and another Blue player is removed to meet the requirement to reduce to equate because the Red player has been sent off, the teams now play 8 Blue versus 8 Red.

We distinguish between when the “KFTPM phase of play” begins and when the “kicks from the mark begin.” The KFTPM phase begins the moment the final whistle sounds (including any required additional playing time). The kicks themselves begin only with the taking of the first kick. The distinction exists because the requirement to reduce to equate ends with the taking of the first kick.

This means that if Blue loses a player to injury or misconduct while, say, the coin toss is being performed to determine which team kicks first, Red will reduce by one. Marking the kicks phase is important because, once this phase begins, no substitution is permitted (except for an injured goalkeeper and only if the team has a permissible substitution remaining to it under the rules of competition). You will find this information in the USSF position paper of April 2, 2009, on Kicks from the Penalty Mark. (See the subsequent post, Kicks from the Penalty Mark — Checklist.)…


In a penalty shoot out the referee places the ball for the first kick, blows the whistle, the kick is taken and saved. The field is muddied up and the penalty spot is not clearly marked. One coach complains that the ball was not placed in the correct position, the referee paces out and finds the correct spot is actually 1 yard closer to the goal. He makes the first kicker retake the kick. 1) Should the first kick have counted – if not what if the complaint about the ball position been made after, say, 3 kicks, would all 3 kicks have to be retaken. Perhaps the referee should have had the opposing player take from the incorrect spot to equalize the situation and then all other kicks should have been from the correct position.

My sons team lost on the penalty shoot out, it is too late now but I was curious what the correct decision should have been.

USSF answer (June 25, 2009):
The coach has no right to complain about the distance of the kick. But the referee bears the responsibility — under the Laws and in the spirit of the Game — to ensure that the distance is correct. Yes, the decision to retake the kick was correct, but it would not have been necessary if the referee had done his job correctly.…


At a recent tournament we had a kick from the mark situation. The state referee (AR1) set up the the players as follow: Five identified players from each team outside of the center circle in a group, approximately 20 yards from the center half way line and the rest of the players inside the center circle. Furthermore he placed himself between the the identified players and the rest of the players. I was assessing the referee and DDA indicated that he liked this set up which I disagreed. My reasoning were; number one that is not what the book said, secondly since AR1 back was to 10 other players, he would not be able to see if there was any misconduct that could occur behind him and lastly this sort of self proclaimed bending of the procedure would deteriorate the consistency that federation would like to uphold. Please give me your thoughts on this matter.

USSF answer (May 27, 2009):
The procedure followed by the AR stationed at the center circle was not correct and is not endorsed by the Federation. A complete checklist for kicks from the penalty mark was published on April 2, 2009. Referees may download the checklist from this URL: