Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Why was this goal given offside?

Here’s one for all you budding referees and assistant referees.

In a match between the USA National Women’s Team and Brazil, the US team score a goal that is given offside.

The US team take a corner kick which was played into Brazil’s penalty area. A Brazilian player heads the ball out but it was returned by Lori Chalupny toward her teammate, Cat Whitehill.

Whitehill chips the ball above an opponent to herself, retakes control of the ball past the second to last Brazilian opponent, with only the goalkeeper to beat. When the ball was chipped up, a teammate (Heather O’Reilly) was in an offside position – she runs next to the player but doesn’t touch the ball.

Should the goal have been given?

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16 Comments so far
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There was a definite move to the ball for a few seconds by Heather O’ Reilly, although she didn’t touch the ball at one point she was actively trying to reach the ball and therefore I think she was interfering with play, if you are on the pitch and moving to the ball inside the penalty area then you must be involved in the play.

Comment by Chris Dymond

She was interfering with play becuase she blocked the path of an opponent causing her opponent to change her run of play. In my opoinion of course.

Comment by Geoff Smith

Offside call was correct.
You do not have to touch the ball to play the ball.

On the other hand the goal could have been allowed on the basis that the player was in an offisde position but never played the ball and was simply trailing her player who put her back into an onside position with her second touch of the ball…but that is a judgement call and the AR is in the best position to call it, so tough call but seems like a correct one.

Tell your players to back off the play when they get caught being in an offisde position so that the offside call does not get made…..

Comment by Lino

I agree with Chris. There was definitly intent to be part of the play.

Comment by Andy

I’m going to have to agree with the bloggers above. O’Reilley showed definite intent to play the ball. Had she recognized she was in an offside position when the ball was played into the box and just backed off, the call probably would not have been made. Again, it was her intent to play the ball from an offside position that makes this the correct call.

Comment by Eric Brown

Sorry, I must disagree with the offside call. Pause the video at the moment the ball is flicked over her head by Whitehill. No-one is in an offside position at the moment the ball is played, including O’Reilly. Check the defender to the left of O’Reilly as she faces the goal. This is a legit goal.

Comment by Steve Straker

It was def offside as a woman always interferes even when she can’t help it.

Comment by John Harvey

Could have been given either way, but I agree with the referees call on this one. Orielly was called offside when whitehill chipped the ball over her own head and even though whitehill re-gathered the ball, Orielly in an offside position turned toward the goal and moved into the area of play of the ball, hence putting herself off-side.

Comment by Mike Gibbons

As a referee, I was taught that in close situations such as this, it is better to err on the side of the defense. I would have made the same call. Hats off to the AR for quick thinking.

Comment by Brett

The girl that kiks the ball, is not in off side, but the other player is in offside and she trys to participate on the play. That’s why the line man calls the off side.

Comment by Hector Ortega

FOR ME ITS A GOAL . FOR ME THE RA THINKS THE PLAYER WHO SCORRED WAS THE PLAYER HE HAS SEEN TO BE OFF SIDE BUT SAYING THAT THE PLAYER WHO DID NOT SCORE BUT WHO WAS STOOD IN A OFF SIDE POSITION IS DEEMED AS INTERFEERING WITH PLAY BECAUSE SHE WAS OBSTRUCTING THE VISION OF THE GOAL KEEPER SO TECH ITS A GOAL

Comment by keith

I am not convinced Ms O’Reilly is in an offside position. I have run the clip in stop action and can not determine from the angle of view if the Brazilian player (to the far left, facing the goal) had succeeded in getting up field in time to trap the offside. It is not the player who was chipped over, but the one closer to the bottom of the screen. I don’t believe she is far enough up field at the start of the play, which is when the ball is first chipped. If she is determined to be far enough up field, then I agree that the goal should not have been allowed.

Comment by hank diester

I go with the theory that at the actual moment the ball was chipped both players were onside (O`reilly appears to be level at least with the 2nd last defensive player)so the interference argument is not relevant. Having said that, if the linesman (as we call them here 🙂 was on the right side of the pitch then he would have to exactly in line with play to have any chance of calling it and even then it would be a difficult shout. Best consider it one of those incidents that go to make up “the beautiful game”.

Comment by Matt

Steve Straker is 100% correct. None of the players are in an offside position at the moment the ball is played. The goal should have stood. For clarity to be interfering with play (as defined in Law 11) you have to touch the ball. The only other call that may have applied would be interfering with an opponent but O’Reilly does not do this anyway! A mistake by the AR.

Comment by Steve

OFFSIDE? NO NEVER. To be interfering with player I would say she would either have to deverted the keepers attention away from the scoring player OR taken a defender out of the game by her presence she did niether of these. The keeper had clear view of the shooting player the two attackers where nearly a shadow of each other therefore I think ref was wrong?

Comment by David

If she was in a offside position when the ball was played (not clear from the video), but the AR must have believed she was – it looked tight, then the goal should be disallowed because she interferred with the ability of the defender to get to the ball.

Comment by Mark Burford




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