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Michigan Referee Program / Blog  / Anticipate


Have you caught yourself struggling to keep up with an attack? Have you had to sprint as fast as you could to stay close to an attack? Players are fast and the ball moves even faster. In addition to running faster, what can we do to keep up with the play?

Because soccer officiating is not a 100-meter dash race, we can have a head start. In other words, if we can recognize that a long forward pass is about to be made, we can start moving. Below, you will see a video of a referee who started moving after the ball was kicked forward. As a result, he had to sprint hard. What if he had moved a second or two earlier, by anticipating the upcoming forward pass? He would still have had to run, but probably not as fast. Or if he had sprinted as fast, he would have been even closer to the play.

Now, how do you know when a forward pass is about to be made? When a player looks up and identifies an attacker with some space in front of them and/or without a defender, it might be a good sign that you should start moving. Or just by looking at the player, you may notice that they bring their kicking leg back to prepare for a long pass. 

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