I was the center ref in a boys under-12 match. An orange defender and a white attacker were side by side chasing the ball and entered the PA at full speed. I was trailing the play and observed the white attacker take a shot. I followed the flight of the ball and seemingly at the moment it passed over the goal line, the orange defender took down the attacker with a hip. It did not appear intentional but more a consequence of the pair’s momentum. I called a PK, but later I considered the position of the ball at the time of the foul. If it had already passed the goal line, and was therefore out of play, would the correct procedure have been a misconduct on orange (yellow, not red since I didn’t consider it serious foul play) and restart with a goal kick?
USSF answer (June 16, 2008):
If the ball had left the field — only you can judge that, not us — then it was out of play. If the ball was out of play, then no penalty kick could be awarded. If the act was not deliberate, then nothing should have been done to punish the orange attacker or his team; no caution, no send-off, nothing. Restart with a goal kick. And if the ball had been out of play, it could not have been serious foul play, because players cannot contest a ball that is out of play.