Player A is in the offside position. His teammate player B is the ballcarrier. Player A realizing he is in the offside position does not get involved in the play and backs off. The Ref and AR are aware of this and let play continue. Player B loses control of the ball to the defender who takes over and starts his dribble in his own end of the field. Player B who is still in the offside position the entire time comes up from behind the defender who is still in his end of the field and player A takes the ball away from the defender and player A begins his attack… possible scoring.
Is player A called for offsides or a delayed offsides? Or is it that once the opposition has taken control of the ball offsides is no longer a concern for player A?
USSF answer (October 20, 2010):
Note: No player can ever be “offsides.” There is no such offense in soccer; a player can only be called “offside.”
Please study this excerpt from the USSF publication “Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game.” Pay special attention to the second paragraph, beginning “The result . . ..”
11.14 BECOMING “ONSIDE”
The possibility of penalizing a player for being in an offside position must be reevaluated whenever:
1. The ball is again touched or played by a teammate,
2. The ball is played (possessed and controlled, not simply deflected, miskicked or misdirected) by an opponent, including the opposing goalkeeper, or
3. The ball goes out of play.
The result of such a reevaluation, of course, may be that the player remains in an offside position based on still being beyond the second-to-last defender, the ball, and the midfield line. Referees must remember that a player cannot simply run to an onside position and become involved in play. The player’s position with relation to the ball and the opponents must change in accordance with the Law.
In the case of the ball leaving the field in favor of the team whose player was in an offside position and actively involved in play (e. g., a corner kick or throw-in for the attackers), it is traditional to call the original offside offense. If the restart would be in favor of the opposing team (e. g., a goal kick or throw-in for the defenders), it is usually preferable to ignore the offside infringement, as the defending team’s restart gives them the possession under circumstances not much different than the indirect free kick for offside-and often with less controversy.
It is best to think about taking a “snapshot” of the situation. When the defensive player takes control of the ball the snapshot shows an opponent (Player A) being in an offside position. According to Law 11 this in itself is not an offense. Player A can only be penalized for being in an offside position if, while still in that position, the ball is touched or played by one of his own team. Since the defender is dribbling the ball, player A may challenge the defender for the ball and take control of the ball if possible. There is no offense here.