The offside rule in soccer is one of the most hotly contested on any soccer pitch. Thus, referees, players, coaches and parents all have a say. But, this is not without good reason. The rule has several exceptions that can throw off most fans. This post attempts to explain it in very easy-to-understand terms so you can “register your vote” with confidence, or just help others learn how to interpret it properly.
For a much more detailed explanation and the official rules / laws of the beautiful game, you can go straight to the source. Go to the FIFA website and check out this PDF (Laws of the Game).
In the span of less than 90 seconds today (Aug 14, 2016), Arsenal’s Theo Walcott managed to earn a penalty kick, miss it, and then score a goal from the run of play against rivals Liverpool. The reason for the ultimate success, just shortly after a deflating failure, is the mental fortitude Walcott displayed.
We as youth coaches play a huge role in developing that mental strength that can make the difference between our players walking away with a negative or a positive experience.
When players make a mistake they first look to their coach for a reaction. If our reaction – both physical and verbal – is positive, or at least not negative, then the players are bound to recover from the mistake quicker. A quick recovery is in the interest of both, the player and the team, because the players making mistakes – and there will be many players making many mistakes at the youth level – will be able to focus their skills and abilities towards helping the team, rather than dwelling on the mistake and missing segments of the game.
If possible, the coaches should make every effort to:
- Avoid making facial expressions that can be associated with anger or disappointment after a mistake is made
- Instead offer praise for the player’s effort. A quick handclap is often enough
- Follow any physical reaction with words of encouragement
- “Great try” is often enough
- Follow the reaction with a teaching moment
- “Next time try this other way”
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: During my soccer college career, a sports psychologist discussed with our team the difference between college and professional players. The conclusion was that the training the two sets of players were exposed to was relatively similar, as was the intensity, yet the professional players had a huge edge over the college players in mental strength. This was measured in terms of recovery time after a mistake was made.
It took a college player several minutes to get over a mistake – it took high school players about one half of a game and youth players the entire game – while a professional player recovered in a matter of seconds. Theo Walcott’s goal against Liverpool goes to prove the point.
Imagine if one of your players missed a penalty kick midway through the first half. How long would it take them to recover, and what could you do to help them get their head back in the game?
The FA Cup is the oldest association football competition in the world. The definition for “association football” is “soccer.” The word ‘soccer’ was somehow – I don’t know how you’ll have to ask the late 19th Century Brits about that – derived from the word “association.” So when Manchester United and Crystal Palace meet on Saturday, May 21, they will be partaking in the following:
- High-stakes soccer: the winner of the cup earns a trip to one of next season’s European tournaments. Although Manchester United has already earned a trip to UEFA Europa League by finishing 5th in the Premier League, the underdog Crystal Palace is still fighting for a chance to play in Europe
- Tradition: the FA Cup dates back to the 1871-1872 season
- Chance for Records: Manchester United will tie Arsenal for most appearances in the FA Cup final (19) and with a win would also tie Arsenal’s record of FA Cup final wins (12).
- Chance for Revenge: Crystal Palace appeared the FA Cup final one other time (1989-1990 season) and lost to Manchester United. The 1st game finished 3-3 and the rematch – these days we would see penalty kicks if the game was tied after extra time – went United’s way by the score of 1-0.
These factors definitely fit our criteria for picking a game to watch with your kids and sparking their interest in soccer. In the meantime, here are some links to get you a bit more excited for the game that kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The UEFA Champions League finalists have been determined. Two teams from the same city – Madrid – will be facing each other on May 28 in another city – Milan – to decide who will be crowned the champion of the most coveted club soccer competition in the world. Real Madrid, one of the sport’s richest clubs, always features a star-studded roster and is always one of the favorites to reach the final, and once there, to win it. Two years ago they won the competition for the 10th time, which is a record.
Several weeks ago we provided some tips on how to pick a game to watch with your kid, and one of the things we talked about were the underdog stories. We mentioned the exciting prospect of Leicester City Football Club (the foxes) winning Barclay’s Premier League as the underdog fairy tale story of the year that could write the pages of sports history, be turned into books and movies, and is already influencing rock bands.
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele
…and spark their desire to go play outside
As parents, most of us try to limit our children’s screen time and get them to play outside. It may be a little counter-intuitive, but watching a truly great soccer game can spark your child’s desire to grab a soccer ball and go out and play, or work on their skills. While nothing beats the “feel” of a real stadium packed with fans cheering on their favorite team, watching on TV can afford you to see the best of the best.
Most of us that grew up watching the soccer greats spent much more time outdoors trying to replicate the sensational moves of Pelé, Maradona, Zidane and many others, or playing the beautiful game with our friends. We were always even more fired up to play right after seeing a great game.
Be sure to sign up for our email list or follow us on social media for info on great upcoming games to watch, but to get a sense for how we pick them or how you can pick your own, please keep reading…