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Al Chase

Just For Kicks

By Al Chase

Thursday, March 2, 2000

Two-referee system
to be given trial run

THE United States is one of several countries that are experimenting with two-referee trials being conducted by FIFA.

Two referees have been used in scrimmage matches between the U.S. under-20 and under-17 teams and Major League Soccer squads in preseason training. Two referees will work later this year in exhibition matches between MLS teams and teams from the second-division A-League.

All A-League U.S. Open Cup qualifying matches will have two referees. Two referee assistants will still run the lines.

The trials will help United State Soccer Federation officials determine how and how well the two referees communicate, whether the flow of the match is maintained, the positioning of the two referees and if their presence affects time wasting.

The USSF hopes to provide FIFA with data collected from more than 75 matches in 2000.

Results will be compared to those of matches run under the traditional one-referee, diagonal system.

This will help determine if there are increases or decreases in fouls, goals, injuries, cautions and ejections.

Italy and Malaysia are testing two referees in various competitions, and Brazil and Egypt are scheduled to participate under the direction of FIFA.


An FIFA committee that includes Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Sir Bobby Charlton and Michel Platini has proposed that leagues adopt a February-to-November schedule.

Vacations and preseason training would take place in December and January, with July and August set aside for international competition, such as the World Cup and continental championships.

Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and AC Milan were among 14 of Europe's largest teams that are against changing the schedule.

A major concern for those clubs that invest big dollars in top foreign talent is the availability of those players during league play.


April Heinrichs, coach of the U.S. National Women's Team, says it is not a problem coaching seven former teammates, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly, Brandi Chastain and Carla Overbeck.

Heinrichs has hired her first assistant, John Ellis, 60. He has guided several youth teams to national titles in the United States during the past 20 years,

Before that, he was a staff coach for England's Football Association.


Women's soccer was the fastest growing college sport in 1997-98, according to an NCAA report.

There were 724 teams playing at NCAA colleges that season, 30 more than in 1996-97.

The rapid growth of women's soccer programs came during the U.S. team's dominance of the sport in international competitions, including an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and World Cup wins in 1991 and 1999.

Top players such as Mia Hamm, the international career goal-scoring leader, also have become celebrities among younger women.

"It gives them some players they can now identify with," Notre Dame women's soccer coach Randy Waldrum said.

Waldrum, whose team lost to North Carolina in the 1999 national championship game, said he expects the sport to become even more popular among young women as the opportunities to play after college grow.

"I don't think in the women's side of the game it's as important a deal as it is getting a good education," he said. "I don't think we've gotten to that point yet."

Al Chase has been covering sports in Hawaii
since 1968. His column appears on Thursdays.
From the local ranks to the World Cup,
Al Chase will help keep you up to date on futbol.

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