Dear AYSO Referees,
I have received a few questions regarding slide tackling recently.
Is there an age where our region does not allow slide tackling?
During inter-region play (e.g., Kalamazoo U14B vs. Portage U14B), if one region prohibits slide tackles in their region and another allows them, what are the rules? What should I do if a player asks “Can I slide tackle?”
A sliding tackle is an attempt to dispossess the opponent from the ball while sliding to tackle the ball with the feet. AYSO National Rules and Regulations do not contain any prohibitions on slide tackling. Click here
to see the official AYSO policy
Judging whether or not a slide tackle is legal or not involves the referee determining the manner in which the tackle is executed. A fair tackle which plays the ball first and is not careless, reckless or done with excessive force should be allowed whether done by a field player or a goalkeeper.
It is important to understand that it is the referee who must judge whether or not an infraction of the Law has occurred that deserves penalizing and I do not presume to second guess the judgment of a referee in a match I did not witness.
As a referee, we must be aware of the physical, social, and cognitive developmental characteristics of young players (U10 and younger). With this in mind please consider the following:
Young players have limited physical skill and endurance, but enthusiasm for play. Implication for referees: a relatively short game is appropriate, with the referee ensuring that the focus is on keeping the play moving. We do not need to whistle every time a player falls down because their coordination is still developing and they fall of their own actions, for example, even if there are teammates or opponents nearby.
Young players want to “do the right thing”. Implications for referees: be a teacher, not a policeman, while nevertheless ensuring fairness. If a player commits a slide tackle that is careless or reckless, take the time to explain that you were concerned about the safety of the other player and they must be careful when playing the ball on the ground when other players are nearby. REMEMBER: It is not illegal in and of itself to play the ball while lying on the ground. DO NOT perpetuate the myth that it is “Playing a Dangerous Manner” (Indirect Free Kick Foul) when a player plays the ball while on the ground.
Young players don’t have a good understanding of their physical abilities and so inadvertently create unsafe situations for themselves and others. Implication for referees: stop play when necessary to ensure safety. A child warned previously about dangerous slide tackles may continue to attempt to slide tackle the ball in a careless or reckless manner thinking they are being safer than before. Continue to explain why fouls are called and enlist the help of the coach if necessary. Do not humiliate or publicly berate a young player who continues to perform slide tackles incorrectly.
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When refereeing older age division, a referee should be prepared to address the issue of slide tackling during the pre-game meeting with each team and/or with the team captains at the coin toss. Players asking about slide tackles should be reminded that fouls will be called for any slide tackle that the referee judges is careless, reckless, or done with excessive force and could result in a caution or send-off. Ask other referees in our region how they respond when asked this question and develop an answer that you feel comfortable communicates how you will referee the game.
When refereeing inter-regional games where a team may be from a region that prohibits slide tackles, it is a smart referee who addresses the issue during the pre-game with the players and coaches. Waiting to explain to the player and coaches that are complaining that you are not calling slide tackles in the middle of the game that you are allowing slide tackles if done properly will only lead to frustration on the part of the player and erode the AYSO team concept with coaches and spectators.
The following are links in YouTube that show good and bad examples of slide tackles. There is also an extended link of how to coach slide tackles that show the aspects of a proper slide tackle.
Regional Referee Administrator
AYSO Region 74 – Portage, Schoolcraft, Vicksburg
Good Slide Tackles Examples:
This is from an older boy’s game – this is an excellent slide tackle example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNZHIwvT8tM
This is a long video (10 minutes) that shows a coach demonstrating how to teach slide tackles. For referees, you can see a proper slide tackle without an opponent. Near the end, the coach shows a youth improperly slide tackling, plus footage from a real game.
This video shows a good slide tackle where the ball carrier goes flying – but the tackle is still a good one. This is not a foul slide tackle – the tackle is on the ball and the player trips over the sliding player as part of the play.
Bad Slide Tackles
This is an example of a good slide tackle followed by a foul as the player takes out the player. The player in red will say “But ref, I got the ball first!” Sure, he got the ball first followed by taking out the player!
This is an example of a slide tackle clearly intended to injure.
A video from our local SoccerZone – this shows a lunge rather than a slide tackle. Watch the player line up the ball carrier next the boards – he shows no regard for his opponent’s safety. Younger players think this is a slide tackle, but there is no sliding involved. It is dangerous and must be addressed by the referee. In older age groups, this type of contact should be sanctioned as serious foul play and the player sent off.
Young Kids - examples
This video shows a young boy with a typical slide tackle for this age. Would you consider this to be a foul? What foul is it if it is a foul? Is it dangerous play? If it is dangerous play, what makes it dangerous?
This video shows another young boy making a play for the ball. Would you consider this to be a foul or was the contact just part of making a play for the ball? What foul is it if it is a foul? Does the ball change direction after the contact – what does this mean and why should a referees pay attention to see if the ball changes direction? Why does the player in maroon fall?
Here is a young boy making a slide tackle to play the ball. Notice how the player slides and pulls his feet back in because he starts to slide too early. Although there is an opposing player nearby, the slide does not endanger either player.
EXTRA CREDIT :
Here is a long video of a team of high school aged players. Look for the following while watching this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OpYnEVPTTs&feature=related – mix of good and bad
0:14 – is this a foul by the goal keeper? Did he play the player first to make sure he could grab the ball?
0:18 – here is a good slide tackle. Notice the player in black anticipates the slide tackle and leaps over the person making the tackle.
0:20 – red and white are both battling for the ball when another white player comes in. Is this a foul on white? Does the second white player play the ball or the red player?
0:25 – the player in white makes a good slide tackle. As part of the play, the while players leg comes off the ground, but is not directed at the red player, who anticipates the tackle and leaps over the white player’s leg.
0:29 – red player and opposing keeper are challenging for the ball. Where are both players looking? Is this a foul? Try to stop the video right at 0:27 – the end looks violent, but is this a foul? Where is the referee in the frame?
0:34 – white clearly trips the red player and does not touch the ball.
There are a series of fouls over the next 30 seconds – some of these are just part of playing – which are fouls, which are not? Are these all fouls?
0:59 – is this a foul that needs a yellow card? Is this just a careless trip (just a foul) or is this a reckless foul – a deliberate foul to take the ball carrier out. Does the reaction of the fouled player make you think this is more than it really is? As a referee, how to prevent this from escalating?
1:10 – is this a foul or does is this just a result of green’s play on the ball. It looks bad, but is it a foul by the green player? If you don’t think it’s a foul, what will the parents of the white player think sitting in their lawn chair? How could you diffuse this situation if people start complaining if you do not call a foul? What if you did call a foul and the green coach starts complaining?
From 1:10 on, there are several shots of balls where players are jumping to play the ball in the air. Which look like fouls to you?