Blue coach has substitutes on the halfway line ready to enter the game. Ball goes out of touch in blue’s favor but before AR can signal to the CR that blue wishes to sub, the blue player steps up and takes a quick throw in. Under scenario 1, CR allows play to continue upon which the blue coach protests that his subs weren’t allowed to enter the game as he intended. Under the second scenario, CR recognizes his error, stops play to allow the substitution, upon which the blue coach protests that the CR has taken away the advantage that his player gained by taking the quick throw.

For a typical youth game, which decision do you consider to be correct?

USSF answer (December 19, 2007):
There is one big lesson to be learned here, but let’s save that for last.

In your first scenario, you lay the blame on the AR, who has not signaled soon enough to indicate that a substitution is necessary. At this, the coach begins objecting and protesting that his team didn’t have its chance for a substitution because his own player took the throw-in too fast. Who can worry about a team that doesn’t let its own players or that has players who are too slow to recognize that a substitution for their side is about to happen?

In the second scenario, you blame the referee for making an error — which was not an error by the officials at all — as a consequence of which the coach begins objecting and protesting. Actually, in one sense it could be considered an error by the referee, who stopped a perfectly legitimate restart for no good reason.

For a typical youth game, or for any game at all for that matter, pay no attention to what coaches say. Coaches have absolutely no authority in the game, but they will work the referee for every bit of advantage they can milk from any situation. The players make the decision as to when they will restart — unless otherwise instructed by the REFEREE, not the coach. Do what you have to do and live with it.

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