Play of the Week 14: Offside position

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 14 we are looking at Offside Position and why assistant referees, on occasions, make incorrect calls when making offside adjudications.

This week’s play is taken from the LA Galaxy versus Sporting Kansas City game, when the ball is played through into the penalty area and two Galaxy forwards, Sebastian Lletget and Mike Magee, start to pursue the ball.

They are both onside when the ball is played. However, AR Mike Kampmeinert makes an incorrect decision when he raises his flag for offside. We will examine the possible reasons why this occurred.


The first criteria when ARs make offside decisions is to be in the optimum position which, in this play, is level with the second last defender. You can see that Kampmeinert is actually level with LA’s Alan Gordon, who is in advance of the second last defender. When Kampmeinert looks across his line, not only is he looking from a distorted viewing angle, he is looking through Gordon and doesn’t have a clear view of the attackers at the moment the ball is played.

The second criterion is the utilization of the ‘wait and see’ technique, which is to delay raising the flag until the player in the offside position becomes active and plays the ball. Due to Mike’s position, he believes that Lletget is offside and at one stage it appears that he is going to play the ball.

By using the wait and see technique, he would have not raised his flag to give the opportunity for an onside player to intercept, in this case Magee. It could be argued that Mike raised his flag to avoid any potential clash with the ‘keeper but, in this situation, ARs have to employ ‘wait and see’, to see if there is another forward in an onside position who can potentially play the ball.

This also highlights the importance of holding the flag in the left hand. You can see Kampmeinert is holding the flag in his right hand which gives him less thinking time.

By holding the flag in his left hand, then changing hands neatly below to the right hand, is good prescribed practice and may have provided him a split second longer thinking time. This may have been sufficient for Mike to have seen that Lletget was not going to play the ball and the onside Magee was going to run on to play it.

What a great example to show those who advocate holding the flag in the right hand as good practice in order to give a quick flag. A considered, slightly delayed flag has to be better than a quick, incorrect flag.

So, in summary, best practice for ARs judging offside position has to be:

– In line with the second last defender
– Utilization of the wait and see technique
– Hold the flag in left hand

Play of the Week 14 in pictures:

1. The through-ball is played.

2. Lletget is poised to play the ball.

3. Magee runs from an onside position to play the ball.