Watching a girls U12 game, the ball was passed to the keeper from her own teammate with an attacker bearing down on the keeper. As the ball, and the attacker, got closer to the keeper she fell to her knees. As she landed, the ball was trapped between between her knees and under her butt (she was sitting on the ball). It wasn’t clear if she stumbled or dropped to block the impending shot, but it was pretty obvious that she didn’t intend to trap the ball on purpose.

The attacking team had not touched the ball yet and the keeper has not handled the ball.

The ref quickly (and correctly, I think) blew the whistle to stop play so the attacker wouldn’t kick at the keeper. But then the keeper was allowed to pick up the ball and send it out to her team, same as if she had just saved a shot on goal.

What should the ref have done to restart in that situation? Can the keeper stop the ball and guard it (either accidentally or purposefully) with her body so the ref will stop play to prevent a dangerous situation?

USSF answer (July 7, 2010):
If it was obvious that the ‘keeper did not purposely trap the ball in the way you describe, then no foul was committed. The referee’s quick thinking was laudable, but the restart was totally wrong. Once the referee has stopped play for something that was not a foul or an act of misconduct, the only proper restart is a dropped ball.

If, on the other hand, the referee believes that the goalkeeper purposely sat on the ball to prevent others from playing it, then the correct restart is an indirect free kick for the opposing team.

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