CLOSURE on Notice, Apology, and Regrets

A Note to Readers of this website:

When this message first appeared, it was very long and laid out our newest challenge involving a total shutdown of the website, making it inaccessible, and the loss of all previously posted Q&As since mid-May and all Challenge questions since the posting of #2.  Subsequently, the message was revised to  announce that, by very good luck (with maybe a bit of clean living thrown in), our awesome webmaster had recovered some of the lost material and one of our readers could supply what was still missing because he kept a personal copy of the posts.

Today, we are very happy to announce that all the recovered material has been transferred to the site.  The posts that our webmaster discovered are now chronologically where they were originally while the rest of the posts were converted and reposted currently with a note as to when they had appeared originally.  Prior Challenge Questions 2 – 4 (with their answers) and current Challenge Question #5 have been added back to the Challenge tab.  #5 will be closed out sometime in early December and #6 will be offered for consideration.

We sincerely hope that this event, added to the earlier server problem which refused to pass along to us nearly two months of questions (whose eventually posted answers, ironically, were among those also lost in this latest event), marks the end of our troubles for a while.   We are now fully back in business.


Question about awarding an “assist” on a goal. If player A (from midfield, let’s say) makes a nice but short through-pass that sends Player B (a striker, let’s say) on a breakaway, and Player B has to take several touches to dribble close to the goal, and perhaps even has to evade a defender rushing back to tackle him, and Player B dribbles close to the net and scores, does player A get an assist for that?

I guess in a way, my question is, does player B have to immediately strike, volley, or head a ball into the goal for player A to get an assist?

Mind you, we don’t keep these stats. But the kids talk about it a lot, and I’m just curious to know the official answer.

Answer (October 20, 2014):
Assists are a totally unnecessary and worthless statistic, added to the list of other unnecessary statistics developed by sports statisticians (also generally unnecessary) to make their work seem important.

Here are three sources of information:
Definition: The pass or passes which immediately precede a goal; a maximum of two assists can be credited for one goal.

The general rule of thumb seems to be that no more than two players may be credited with assists on a goal and that the person geting the assist has some immediate “input” in the goal. I.e., the situation you posit would not qualify for an assist.

The only statistics that truly matter for a team are wins, losses, draws, goals scored, and goals against. Assists are pure vanity. (Strangely enough, no one seems to keep such statistics for own goals. If they did that, then the team scored against would have more depressing and useless statistics to show off.)…


During this 2010 World Cup we’ve seen a plethora of missed calls.

1) For games at this top tier of play, will referees review close calls during their halftime break, or after the game?

2) And what are the referees opinions about the use of instant replays. I know FIFA officials are opposed, but would the men on the field appreciate having a second look at game changing decisions?

USSF answer (July 2, 2010):
Soccer is a fast-moving game played and officiated by human beings. Human beings make mistakes and players make many more mistakes than the referees, but everyone seems to accept that.

1) No, the referees do not review close calls via video or otherwise during the halftime break. They may discuss them; however, as there is no possibility of reversing the decision once the game has been stopped and restarted, the discussion is purely academic. Referees at the top levels, not only those at the World Cup, review their games and do a self-assessment of their work.

2) Numerous systems of game review during the game have been tested around the world, but none has been seen to be worthy of use in actual play. However, although instant replays are not currently being considered, FIFA may reconsider the possible use of goal line technology (according to a recent comment by its president).

NOTE: We apologize to the person who asked this question His/her e-mail address has disappeared.…


I’ve looked through official sources as much as I know but cannot find anything explicit about ending an indoor game which uses a clock and buzzer system.
United States Soccer Federation, Indoor Playing Rules.

9.1 BALL IN PLAY: The ball is in play at all times from the start of the game to the finish, including:…
The question is, what about a goal being “scored” from a ball that is kicked before the buzzer sounds.

It is my contention that the buzzer acts like a whistle and signals the end of the game or period and play stops at the sound.

And by the way, thank you for upgrading the website, especially with the search feature.

USSF answer (March 12, 2008):
You are correct, the period of play ends at the moment the horn/buzzer starts to sound. Just as in other sports in which the horn or buzzer is used, the rule is implied by the written rules but enforced in application by the referees. To reference it, you have to put different parts of the indoor rules together;

1.15 HORN: Each game facility has a horn or buzzer, subject to the control of the Timekeeper, to be sounded upon the expiration of each quarter, any overtime period, and otherwise as set forth in Rule 6.

5.2 POWERS: Referees’ decisions on points of fact connected with play shall be final so far as the result of the game is concerned.

9.1 BALL IN PLAY: The ball is in play at all times from the start of the game to the finish . . . until a decision has been made by the Referee.

10.1 LEGAL GOAL: Except as otherwise provided by the Laws, a goal is scored when the whole of the ball has passed over the goal line, between the goal posts and under the crossbar . . ..…


USSF has one of the best referee programs. As a referee, instructor, assessor and assignor I am always receiving notices on law changes and clinics. However, on a larger scale, the soccer Gods have forgotten about the other side of the equation and that is the coaches. In [my state, the youth association] certifies the coaches on the youth side. I have gone though their certification program to the competitive level. None of these courses (E, F & E/D) cover any training on the laws of the game. I have never as a coach received any communication on any changes to the laws of the game. We automatically assume that they know the laws of the game. They do not and they are the one that are teaching our clients the game of soccer. This problem is not just related to our area. It is on a National level and I do not see any movement towards fixing the problem. As a president of our high school association I invited coaches of 100+ schools to attend a clinic that was just setup for them and also to resolve some of our issues. Only 10 coaches responded. Coaches are also the problem. Their failure to learn the laws the game affects the game for the player, referees and fans. Any idea?
Game Level: U13-U19

Answer (February 28, 2008):

We could not possibly respond to your question. May we suggest that you contact the coaching department at U. S. Soccer and put the matter to them? You will find contact information at