In our game this past weekend an attacker takes a high shot on goal which our keeper deflects into the air and to her right next to the goal post.

In an effort to prevent the rebound from going into the net, our keeper turns around (she is standing upright and her back is now towards the field of play) and proceeds to catch the ball over her head in her outstretched arms preventing the ball from entering the goal. It is at this moment, arms still outstretched over her head, when an attacker collides with our keeper from behind forcing the keeper into the goal post causing her to lose possession, go down injured as her mid section was driven into the goal post, at which time the ball enters the goal.

The referee awarded the attacking team a goal stating as the goalie did not have the ball tucked into her body she did not have possession. A point in which we argued as the goalkeeper is considered to be in control (= possession) of the ball when the ball is held with both hands, held by trapping the ball between one hand and any surface (e.g., the ground, a goalpost, the goalkeeper’s body), or holding the ball in the outstretched open palm.

Even if you agree with the referee’s definition of possession, shouldn’t a charge at minimal have been called against the attacker (another point we argued) with the potential of a send-off for serious foul play?

Is there any plausible reason the goal should have been allowed?

Please clarify.

USSF answer (September 17, 2010):
Let us lay out the facts and our perceptions of the incident. No blame assessed; make your own decision.

It makes no difference from whom the list of times when the goalkeeper is in possession of the ball came, but we would clarify that if the goalkeeper has the ball firmly gripped in her hand (i. e., the hand is not open), that would also qualify. If she had the ball in both hands (as your description seems to suggest) before she was charged from behind by the attacker (of which more later), then she was certainly in possession.

As to the charge from behind: A player may charge an opponent from behind, but only in the area of the shoulder and only if the opponent is shielding a ball that is within playing distance. This can include a certain portion of the shoulder blade. The charge may not be done with excessive force (a sending-off offense), as suggested by your description.

As the deflection by your ‘keeper would seem to have been purely defensive in nature (rather than a parry, which she could not play again with her hands