I served as an AR today. Striker repeatedly positioned himself offsides and then made a run directly at goalie when his right forward shot on goal. After 3 such occurrences by the same player, I signaled offsides, as I felt striker was interfering with goalie by attempting to distract him with his runs even though his runs did not directly block the line of sight between goalie and right forward. Was I wrong? I am aware of the Passive Offsides implementation, but this just felt wrong. The opposing coach looked at me like I had sprouted a second head! Thanks.
USSF answer (September 14, 2011):
There is no such thing as “passive offside” or “offsides,” no matter what some people may say. A player in an offside position either remains in an offside position or becomes offside when his teammate plays the ball, depending on what occurs next.
It is tempting to raise the flag when a player attempts to interfere with his opponent, but to do so could affect the play. The AR must remember where the player was when his teammate played the ball and wait until the player actually becomes actively involved in play. If the ‘keeper is easily able to gain the ball, then to flag would simply slow the game down and aid the opposing team’s efforts. That is not the referee’s job.