Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ken Aston Camp: Day 3

I came into the 2011 AYSO Ken Aston Referee Camp with one mission — completing my Advanced Referee training.

Mission accomplished.

Not only did I pass the fitness test on Saturday, but I passed the FIFA Laws of the Game examination on Sunday, earning 106 of 115 possible points.

All that now stands between me and an AYSO Advanced Referee badge is assessment, which will likely take place early in the Fall season. I’ll probably receive my badge from the national office shortly thereafter.

Anyway, back to the recent past… following the Laws test on Sunday (which was actually quite difficult), a few of us walked to a local Starbucks then came back to the Chapman University campus to dissect some videos of professional referees at their best (and worst).

We were then treated to an AYSO boys U-16 match in which both the referee and one of his assistants were being assessed for their Advanced Referee badges (sort of ironic), and after which time we went back to the classroom to discuss what we saw.

We then had lunch and pretty much called it a wrap. The instructors went over the test and signed our paperwork. They then gave us our certificates, whistles and coins. We turned in our dorm keys and went home.

In synopsis, AYSO Region 47 (Riverside) sent five referees to the Advanced Referee course, four of which completed all phases of the training.

And with an overall success rate of around 50 percent for all regions, I’d say that Riverside put in the work and represented our region and its volunteers really, really well.

We should be commended, or something.


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Ken Aston Camp: Day 2

The meat of the 2011 AYSO Ken Aston Referee Camp has come to pass, and now it’s time to fully digest what happened today.

And what better way to do so than to do transcribe my notes on offside from Saturday’s lectures? Hey, c’mon. It’ll be fun for you and studying for me!


For offside to be called, four criteria must be met:
— The player is ahead of the ball
— In the opponent’s half
— With fewer than two defenders
— At the moment the ball is played or touched by a teammate

In addition to gaining advantage from being in an offside position, a player can also be called offside for interfering with active play or interfering with an opponent. This means they don’t actually have to have received the ball in order to be judged offside; simply interfering with the game will suffice.


I actually took two pages of notes on the topic today but I managed to boil down one of the most confusing plays in soccer — and maybe sports — into a four-item list and a short paragraph. And that’s what a good referee does, I think. He makes this wacky game easy to understand and therefore play for its participants.

Anyway, there was lots of back-and-forth about offside, we even watched some old-school MLS videos illustrating referees good and bad offside decisions. They dimmed the lights for those and I narrowly avoided falling asleep after playing outside all day.

And it wasn’t play so much as work.

We did the fitness test this afternoon and in order to complete to the class referees must run one mile in less than 12 minutes, run 200 meters in less than 44 seconds, and run 55 meters in less than 10 seconds. I came in following a guy twice my age. Ugh.

I did the mile in a little less than 8-and-a-half minutes, the 200 meters in 32.4 seconds and the 55 meters in 6.5 seconds. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that slice of pizza for lunch. I’ll blame the dairy of my inefficiency this day.

Say cheese!

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Ken Aston Camp: Day 1

I’m here at Chapman University in Orange for the 2011 AYSO Ken Aston Referee Camp, and from all indications it appears to be another referee clinic where more time will be spent haggling over interpretations of the Laws of the Game rather than instruction on how to properly administer said Laws.

I spent two-and-a-half hours (from about 7:30 p.m. to 10) listening to referees answer questions with questions and nay-say each other to the point of exhaustion, which is often the case at these gatherings. It’s almost as if teaching goes out the window in favor of argument.

Clearly, no one among us is an expert, and I in no way consider my knowledge greater than anyone else, but people spend more time talking than they do listening and it is frustrating.

Hopefully, tomorrow will provide me with greater inspiration and even some enhanced expertise. But I’m not going to wager a bet that it actually comes to pass.

One bright spot from this evening… Steve Wopershall, a senior master instructor of Verbal Judo, or The Art of Gentle Persuasion, made a presentation during the opening session. He was both entertaining and insightful in his method of instruction, and attempted to teach — in the short time he was alloted — methods on how to generate voluntary compliance from fans, coaches and players. It was easily the best instruction I’ve ever received on the topic in an AYSO forum.

Tomorrow: Instruction from 8 a.m. to 11:45 then it’s out the field for a clinic on positioning before we take the fitness test. Hopefully, all that interval training I’ve been doing on the elliptical pays off.

Good night!

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