HS Referee’s meeting tonight this spirited debate occurred.

Offensive Player A shot on goal, Offense Player B is in the offside position (not in the play), The shot is saved by the Goalkeeper who attempts to deflect the ball over the bar, the goalkeeper deflects the ball but the ball rebounds off the crossbar to you guessed it Player B in the offside position, who puts it in the goal.

Is the player offside or does the goal stand? The debate surrounded DEFLECTION OR POSSESSION? THAT IS THE QUESTION referring to a similar scenario response date (October 29, 2007). Those who stated they thought the goal should stand believe the goalkeeper was Playing the ball” in these circumstances means that the defender (in this case the goalkeeper) possessed and controlled the ball the others thought it should fall under not being possessed and controlled (in other words a deflection). Thanks, we all appreciate your assistance with this matter.

USSF answer (October 6, 2009):
The U. S. Soccer Federation sees no reason to change its answer of October 29, 2007:

“Deflections by any opposing player do not affect the status of a player in an offside position; the attacking team’s player must be called offside if he or she becomes involved in play (as defined in Law 11). Unsuccessfully ‘making a play’ for the ball does not establish possession. Nor, for that matter, does successfully ‘making a play’ for the ball if it then deflects to the player in the offside position who becomes involved in play.

“Note that there are differences here between ‘being involved in play,’ ‘playing the ball,’ and ‘making a play’ for the ball. (As noted above, see Law 11 for involvement in play.) ‘Playing the ball’ in these circumstances means that the defender (in this case the goalkeeper) possessed and controlled the ball. However, if the defender possessed and controlled the ball badly, it’s still ‘making a play,’ but if it wasn’t possessed and controlled, it wasn’t played in the sense you suggested in your scenario.

“A rule: Being able to use the ball subsequent to contact equals possession; deflection is not possession.”

To this we might add only that it takes seeing the action to make the call correctly, because, as you discovered, the very words used to describe the event are biased toward one or the other possibility

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