Soccer, Latin-style

In my town, we have an adult men’s Latino soccer league. There are about 36 teams, most of which consist of Latinos. There are also¬† some Africans and Croatians. Some whiteys play in the leagues, but they had better be really good. I mean, really, really good!

The Latino league has probably the best players I’ve seen in person. These guys take it very seriously, and they don’t let rookie referees into this league for obvious reasons. Fights break out all the time.

My assignor and instructor friend is in charge of the referees for this league, so a couple weeks ago, I went out to the park on a Sunday and watched some games with him.

He told me some things about the league. They don’t like women referees, for one. He uses women refs, but only those that he knows can handle it. They also like for ARs to be involved in the game, and they don’t like the advantage call.

I hung out and watched a game between a Mexican team and a Honduran team, and these guys were killing each other. There were 11 cards issued in the game, only two of which were red, surprisingly. Before I got there, there were several fights in the first half.

Later in the day, one of the refs scheduled to be an AR called in and said he couldn’t make it, and my assignor asked me to take a game! Sure! So, I ran to my car to get my gear, changed in the bathroom and took the game.

On the way out onto the field, I asked the center for some advice. “If you show any weakness, they’ll eat you alive,” he said. Oh, boy. “If you make an offside call, stick to it.”

It’s a good thing I understand the offside rule because I had to call about 15 offsides in the first half. For some reason, this team just loved to be offside. Maybe they were testing me, I don’t know. But by the end of the first half, the other team would just look at me and raise their hand as if to signal it themselves. There were a couple of close ones that I didn’t call, and the other team would just stop and not chase them, thinking it should have been an offside. Not a good idea, since the other team would just pound the ball into the goal.

The second half was much easier, since it was a one-sided blow-out. That means the ball is mostly at the other end of the field in the second half.

This was my first game reffing for a full 90 minutes — in 90 degree weather, no less! Yikes!And I was completely unprepared for reffing because I didn’t bring enough water.

After the game, one of the losing players walked by me and said, “Thank you, good game.” I nearly fainted with joy. My assignor later told me he was probably just trying to talk to me. Whatever. I’m going to say it was because I did a good job!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Oscar on June 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    This Mexican soccer ball is a sight.


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