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Your Questions Answered (Part 5 of 5)

John O'Brien 1 ( 

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Good afternoon folks. If you are looking at the above photo wondering why in the world John O'Brien is there, I can explain. After the latest question asking about John O'Brien I thought it would be nice to show a picture of him in his glory for those fans who keep holding out hope that he will some day make a return to the field.

Actually, I thought it would just be an ironic photo to run with the latest Q&A since I tell people over and over in Q&As to stop asking about the former Ajax midfielder because he has retired from professional soccer and is never coming back. When I actually broke my own rule and mentioned him in the last installment of Your Questions Answered, I came up with the idea of running this photo.

For those who don't recognize it, the photo comes from the U.S. team's 1-1 tie against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. I was in the stadium that day and can tell you that I have never been in a stadium as electric and filled with excited fans as that day (That is also the game where I saw the biggest flag I've ever seen in my life). That includes World Cup finals, Champions League matches and MLS Cups (stop laughing).

Ah, memories are great aren't they? Seeing O'Brien at his best must still bring a tear to the eye of some U.S. fans who still think about all the potential and ability he had, and how the U.S. team could sure use a player like him today.

Enough with the reminiscing. it's time to get through the last portion of the January Q&A. Here are the last of Your January Questions Answered:


MATT– Hi Ives, great site, I read it every day and it's the first one I hit as soon as I get home from work as my employer has blocked your site, bummer. Anyway, my question is this: what is the official rule with regards to a deflection from a defender negating a player's offside position. In other words, if a through ball is played and the player it is played to is offsides, a defender makes contact with the ball while trying to prevent the pass, but the ball continues through to the intended target, is said player still offside? I recently watched a high profile game (league name withheld to protect the possible ignorance of certain announcers), in which a defender did just that. He deflected the ball while trying to block the pass, but didn't actually trap and pass the ball, and the announcer seemed to believe that the simple act of a deflection negated the other player's offside position. I was under the impression that the defender had to actually "play" the ball, i.e. trap and pass the ball of his own accord. What is the official rule on this subject? Thanks for your time Ives! Happy holidays!

IVES– If the 2007 Gold Cup semifinals between Canada and the United States taught us anything, it is that a player who is offside when a defender touches a ball is still offside if the ball gets to them. I know it's a touchy subject among Canadian fans, but the way the rule was explained at the time, Onyewu deflecting a pass to an off-side target doesn't suddenly make that target on-side. It was a pretty obscure rule up to that point (Referees can feel free to add their two cents).


HOMEY– If FIFA or various FAs can review dangerous plays to possibly assess suspensions, why couldn't that be done for diving as well? I know it's a tough call to make in full speed for a referee. But once you break it down slowly afterwards, sometimes dives are pretty clear. I say suspend every diver one game for those clear instances, and the game will start looking a LOT better.

IVES– I agree, and I think we are starting to see that, or at least we did see that in the fall with UEFA. A one-game ban for diving might help cut down on it. Bans of any longer might be a bit too much.


FC SUFFIELD– I know in the developmental academy, the us u17 mnt plays as a team in the league… and I heard that they did the same thing with the St. Kitss and Nevis pro league, by inserting their U20 mnt into their league don't u think that thus wud be beneficial in the mls, having the us u20s as a team, atleast we couldn't gripe about them getting match experience

IVES– Never going to happen and isn't a practical idea for any country with a serious professional league.


LOU– Great site probably the best for soccer in the tri state area. Ok so I have alot of questions so here it goes I would like to know about the following- John O'Brien, Promotion/Relegation, Eddie Johnson's future, the Red Bulls stadium/training facility, World/CONCACAF/USA All-Time Best XIs, the U.S. team's starting lineup in any future World Cup, The best American players in any age group younger than 20, my favorite soccer teams, Freddy Adu's national team future or who the next batch of Designated Players will be. Just kidding, but in all seriousness I was wondering what is going on with Kandji in respects to him being on the Bulls roster, and just a little personal question who are you're top favorite soccer players either playing now or all time. Thanks.

IVES– Kandji is on the Red Bulls roster and has looked very good in pre-season. I can really see him having an impact in 2009 and a 10-goal season wouldn't surprise me.


TIM F– With Jimenez already gone, who else will not be returning to the Red Bulls in 2009.

IVES– As you know by now, Dave Van Den Bergh, Gabriel Cichero, Mike Magee and Jeff Parke are gone. There could be some other cuts made before the start of the season though, with head coach Juan Carlos Osorio still looking for defenders.


MATT– Hi Ives Great Site I Was wondering how much the salary cap they said a little how much is that 10,000 or 300,000 number please. Also i was looking at the salarys for the mls teams and why dont all the players in the senior roster make north of 100,000 because it's possible I tried making it its very easy if they make the salary cap 2.6 million. Alos why dont they pay for income tax.

IVES– If you're asking how much the salary cap went up, I heard it didn't go up much at all, and not anywhere close to $300,000. As for why teams don't just pay every player 100K to start, you can't do that and afford to pay your top end players. Lastly, if a team paid a player's income tax then that would make their salary considerably higher. That isn't something that happens in any sport in this country.


RICH– Keep up the great work Ives. Do you think Rojas or Magee or Sinisa will play center attacking midfield for the Red Bulls or do you think the Red Bulls will find someone else to play that position? If the latter, who will it be?

IVES– Rich, here's a question for you. Is there a "left attacking midfield" or "right attacking midfield" position? I ask that because the whole 'CAM' position title is a pet peeve of mine, basically because it's the creation of computer soccer games and not a position I've ever heard a legitimate coach make reference to.

Now, onto your question. Do I think one of those players will be the team's playmaker/attacking midfielder/No. 10? Magee is in LA now so he won't be. I don't think Juan Carlos Osorio necessarily sees the need to play in a system with a player solely dedicated to a playmaking role. This is more and more common in the European and international game. Basically, if you have creative and dangerous players in your front four (whether a lone forward and three midfielders behind him or two forwards and two wingers) then you don't necessarily need a No. 10 in the middle focusing solely on creating.

Now, I can see Rojas playing behind Angel in a 4-2-3-1, and MAYBE paired in central midfield with Seth Stammler in a 4-4-2. What I can definitely tell you is that finding a playmaker is not a priority for Osorio. He is confident that he has enough attacking players and is now focused on finding some defenders.


BRANT– Any chance of working loans from European leagues to MLS for players that are stuck on benches and needing some game time? I'm not talking about Americans, but someone like Shola Ameobi from Newcastle. He's getting some game time right now with Martins hurt, but would Newcastle ever look into loaning him to MLS for part of their 'off-season' to get some games in while the squad is on break? Would MLS go for it at all?

IVES– Don't see it happening Brant. For starters, MLS only approves loans that have purchase options, which means European clubs would have to be willing to sell the player they are loaning. Secondly, if a club still likes a player and just wants them to get playing time, chances are they will want them loaned to a nearby country or lower level league in the same country so that they can closely monitor that player's progress. Thirdly, teams getting those players on loan usually pay all or some of their salaries. MLS teams aren't in position to be paying big bucks for players on loan. So in theory, it would be a great idea, but practically speaking, it doesn't work.


KP– In the spirit of the New Year, what do you think Bob Bradley's resolutions are for 2009? (soccer related of course)

IVES– I think these are some:

  • Find a forward to play alongside of or in place of Brian Ching.

  • Find a central defender he can have confidence in if Bocanegra or Onyewu aren't available.

  • Identify a quality young left back, right back and left winger to move up the pipeline.

  • Smile more.

  • Work on his Spanish.


ALEX– I know that the draft hasn't taken place yet, and not many trades have been made yet, but what teams who didn't make the playoffs do you think could make a good run next year. (If you think it's too early too call this, then feel free to ignore this one.)

IVES– Alex, I'd like to say that it took me two months to answer your question because it was too early to answer it when you asked, but we know that's not true.

non-playoff teams that could make good runs are Toronto FC, D.C. and FC Dallas. Los Angeles is a candidate, but until we know the deal with Beckham (and Donovan) I can't really factor them in. That leaves Colorado and San Jose as teams I see missing the playoffs again.


JOHNNY– Some FSC programming questions for you… 1. Why in the world does FSC tease us with these sylvania HDTV commercials that boast about watching the beautiful game in HD when FSC is not in HD anywhere? 2. Does FSC hate Fulham? There are barely any Fulham games on this year. I hate watching soccer on the computer!!! 3. Any more BPL to ESPN rumors? Thanks IVES YOUR THE BEST!

IVES– 1. I've often wondered that same thing. That's clearly a lack of communication between the marketing department and programming (or just some marketing guy not having a clue). 2. I feel like I've seen Fulham quite a few times. You might have to splurge on Setanta if you really want to watch Fulham. 3. The latest on ESPN making a play for the EPL is that EPL was outbid. That's what the reports have said. We will see what's next for ESPN in its quest to grow its soccer programming.


PK– It seems that the US has had unproportional success (compared to other field positions) in delivering world-class goalkeepers to top stages of European football. How do you rationalize this success? Is it simply chance or does the hand-eye coordination culture of the US, evidenced by sports like baseball and football, explain this trend?

IVES– This is one that has been asked for years. I can recall having a conversation with Peter Schmeichel about this (name-dropping alert) and he had a pretty sensible theory that has become the popular theory. American athletes play multiple sports that involved using hands (football, baseball, basketball) so their hand-eye coordination is already established at a young age. Throw in the belief that bigger and more athletic soccer players tend to be pushed toward the goalkeeper position, and you wind up with a deeper pool of big and athletic prospects with great hand-eye coordination.


RYAN– How likely is the following scenario? Beckham opts out of his contract following another dismal Galaxy season and signs a long-term deal with AC Milan to finish his career.

IVES– Well Ryan, if a transfer isn't done before his loan expires, I absolutely see Beckham leaving after 2009. So either way, I can't see Beckham in MLS in 2010.


EL SCOTT– In the American sports scene, it seems a given that some teams will eventually pack up and move to a new city. What is your best guess as to the first MLS franchise to relocate, where will it go, and what is your estimated ETA?

IVES– Kansas City used to be the popular pick, but the Wizards are building a stadium and have a committed ownership group. My money is on Chivas USA moving. I could actually see Chivas USA being sold and then moved. Not in the immediate future, but in say five years if the club doesn't start doing better at the box office.


BRANT– What do you think will happen with the new women's league starting up? Stick around? Implode (again)? Will they fall victim to the marketing fallacy of the "soccer mom" (she drives the *kids* to soccer, people, she's not a fan of any pro team or player…) ? The WNBA has survived in large part by being subsidized by the immense (though waning) popularity of it's big brother. To my knowledge, there's no connection between men's/women's pro leagues, is there? How stable is there plan?

IVES– I can't say I'm an expert on the women's game. I will admit that it goes largely ignored on this site. What I can say is that the current economic situation in this country isn't exactly ideal for a new league to be trying to plant roots. I think the WPS will struggle to take hold. Here's hoping it survives, but right now I can't say I would bet money on that happening.


NICKELCALI23– Who are the 2 hardest working USA national team player in USA practices and games?

IVES– Good question Nickel. I don't get to see enough full national team practices to know who works the hardest but Frankie Hejduk does have a reputation of being a tireless worker. Michael Bradley is someone whose work rate in games is extremely impressive. Same goes for DaMarcus Beasley, who spends 90 minutes running up and down the wings.


LIAM– Ives, me being of Scottish heritage, I love to see Beasley and Edu playing or at least attempting to play in the SPL. What do you think about more Americans going to leagues like the SPL or League Championship where they're guaranteed to get more playing time then most Premier league sides such as if like Holden, Rolfe, Mapp, Shea, Pearce would all be guaranteed to play for most of the SPL sides (remove Celtic/Rangers). Plus I'd be able to see more Americans play in my EUro League of choice.

IVES– The Scottish league is a tough situation because it doesn't have the best reputation once you get beyond the top three or four teams. The quality of play after the top clubs in Scotland isn't the best so I think the players you mentioned would probably be better served in a league like Belgium or even with a top Danish club rather than a bottom half SPL club


THOMAS– Give a rough estimate of the number of years before you think it would be fair to say that the quality of play in MLS puts it in the top three leagues in the Americas. My guess: 10-15 years. If you HAD to pick one or the other, which is more important to getting to that level, better foreign talent, better American (and Canadian) talent, or better coaching? Keep up the great work. I can't wait to see the site redesigns.

IVES– What are the Top three leagues in the Americans right now? Argentina, Mexico and Brazil? After that, I'd put MLS ahead of any other league in the Americas (yes, that includes Colombia). I agree that MLS is probably 10-15 years away from competing with the Brazilian league, though if Europe keeps taking Brazilian talent at younger and younger ages then the gap could shrink.


MR. DERP– I was reading an article recently where they discussed how the Bosman Ruling has all but wrecked team loyalty. My question is how were transfers/contracts done pre-Bosman?

IVES– The latest issue of 4-4-2 does a great job of detailing all things Bosman. Basically, pre-Bosman a player was tied to a club until he was sold or released. There was no free agency, so basically even if you were out of contract a club could sell you or keep you.


CHASE– When ESPN inevitably purchases the North American broadcast rights of the Premier League (and subsequently other European leagues), do you envision them using ESPN2/ESPNClassic as its platform or will they more ambitiously move to create a new channel (like ESPNWorld for example) that would be home to all soccer, as well as other sports like F1 racing, rugby, etc. This would make even more sense if ESPN/Disney buys Setanta (as is being rumored) and begins to compete with Sky Sports in the British market. And do you think ESPN acquiring the rights would be a good thing?

IVES– Well Chase, ESPN was rebuffed in its bid to grap the EPL broadcast rights away from BSkyB, so any grand plans like the ones you mentioned will have to wait a while.


BROKENBIL– Thanks for doing this again. I love your Q&A, especially the recent debate on Supporters Shield vs. MLS Cup. Can an MLS team win the US treble of MLS Cup, US Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League in a single season? Thanks!

IVES– I team CAN do it, but that's a pretty brutal road. MLS teams generally just don't have the depth to compete that deep into that many competitions. If there is a team capable of doing it this year I would probably put them in this order:

  • Chicago Fire

  • Colombus Crew

  • Houston Dynamo


ISAAC– Hey Ives. Thanks for the site. It's expanded my understanding of the sport largely and i really appreciate it. What, in your opinion, was the best goal ever scored in the MLS and for the U.S. national team? Where do you see U.S.A. In the FIFA Rankings come South Africa 2010?

IVES– For me, the best MLS goal ever scored was this John Wolyniec volley:

When you consider that it came on the last kick of the game, off a pass from midfield, I can't think of many better goals when you factor all that in.

As for best U.S. national team goal, that's a tough one. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Nothing sticks out right now.


PICO– Since you are in the NY metro area, what are your favorite Peruvian restaurants? It takes me two hours from the Poughkeepsie area to make it to the RB games and I would love to take advantage of the situation to grab some tasty meals afterward. Any places in the nearby NJ region would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

IVES– Well, Paterson and Passaic (where I grew up) have some great spots. Funny thing is I don't know the names. I just know how to get there. I will work on a list of names and addresses and included right here, so check back here in a week. I'll hook you up (readers can feel free to share your their best recommendations for Peruvian Restaurants as well).


That's all. What did you think of these answers? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think people keep mentioning promotion and relegation, because the MLS regular season is so BORING. I follow it, but I don’t know why.

  2. I think the best US goal was in the Gold Cup, when Benny Feilhaber hit a volley straight in after MExico failed to clear a corner.

    (the goal is at around 2:00)

    Also, the another reason that the US produces better keepers, in addition to kids developing good hand-eye coordination with other sports, is that kids in the US want to play goalkeeper and see it as a privilege to use ones hands, while in Europe, often the worst players (and probably worst athletes) are made to go in goal.

  3. Ah, I knew it was 5 and 1. Six is the total, yeah yeah yeah. My b….. don’t even worry about it though. Its the theory that counts.

  4. Balboa’s diving header goal against Paraguay in 98 was probably the most impressive. I couldn’t find a video of it unfortunately.

  5. Umm, Ives, heading the ball isn’t a deflection.

    Onyewu passed the ball backward and a player that was otherwise offside was played onside as a result.

    Had it been a deflection we Canadians would have understood. It is the fact that in no way could you EVER call that a deflection that caused us to be a bit POd.

  6. Another question, why do intentional handballs almost always get yellow for defenders but pretty much never for attackers, even if they handle in the box trying to get advantage?

  7. Re:offside off defender. Had wondered about that. Wasn’t Donovan offside when he got the ball that caused the Portugal own goal in 2002? Seems like Agoos tried to send back a corner clearance and it went to LD deflected off a defender, and then his shot deflected off another. Lost my videotape, so can’t say for sure.

    I’ve also seen a couple of replays of calls like that recently, one in an Atlético Madrid game (Sadovnik on Telemundo was calling it offside, the refs let it stand).

    By the way Fernando Schwartz goes by the “any deflection but the GK” idea, but these 3 plays(hope somebody has the Portugal tape around to clear that one up)are the only ones I’ve ever seen called that way.

    And yeah, I know the 2 guys I mentioned above are not Einsteins of soccer commentary.

  8. O’Brien is slowly but surely becoming a legend. Twenty years from now people will be comparing to the titans of the game or say they were there when O’Brien did this or O’Brian did that.

    This is what happens when a good/great player hangs it up at such a young age.

    Like being a martyr I guess…

  9. Does anyone remember a goal by Kirovski against Germany in a friendly? I seem to remember a real cracker. Not that it would be as important as Caliguiri’s goal, but for sheer brilliance, I recall that was was quite good.

  10. A few points:

    My problem with the CAM anagram is that there’s no point in having the C in the CAM. Unless there is a RAM and a LAM, there shouldn’t be a CAM. If you’re the “tip in the diamond” you, my friend, are an attacking midfielder (or AM if you absolutely must use initials). Again, it’s just a pet peeve of mine. Hearing someone use CAM to identify a No. 10/playmaker/attacking midfielder just irks me. Maybe it’s just me.

    As for Best US men’s national team goal, I took the question to mean best, as in highest degree of difficulty, not Most Important. There is no question that Caligiuri’s “Shot Heard Round The World” is the most important in team history. Is it the “best”? I’m not so sure.

    I can also vouch for ‘El Cheverre’ in Passaic. It is actually the last place I went to. There’s a much cheaper place in Union City on Bergenline that I go to a lot, I believe its in the 50s on Bergenline. I don’t know the name but you can’t miss the Peruvian Flag storefront sign.

    Lastly, I’ll ask about the ESPN bidding situation with regard to the North American EPL rights. I’ll see what I can find.

  11. Yeah, I think my question was a bit misunderstood, as I was referring to the North American broadcast rights that are currently held by FSC and Setanta and not the domestic UK rights, which Sky and Setanta hold and which were recently extended.

    Mainly, I just wanted to see if you think ESPN broadcasting the PL and other major Euro leagues would be a net positive for the game in this country? Would it make the game more popular? Would the network take its coverage more seriously? Would MLS suffer in the face of stiff competition?

    Right now we have a really good thing going (as we probably get more live PL, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga than any other place in the world).

  12. Sky won most of the UK rights, but the international rights are seperate and ESPN was a major bidder for those rights, The bids had to be in a couple weeks ago and based on what I have been able to find out there has been no specifics of the international right annouced by the FA yet.

    According to this article ( it mentions the ESPN didn’t get any rights, but again this could be specific to the UK broadcast rights.

  13. American Dust – Nice question

    Welshbean – The current CBA expires at the end of 2009 so you will have an answer later this year or early next year

  14. Eric Wynalda’s goal against Switzerland in the 1994 World Cup has got to be a contender for best USMNT goal. Superbly taken free kick in its own right, but also an extremely important goal, as it would have been disastrous to lose the first game of the group phase. The USA wouldn’t have progressed to the knockout phase without it.

  15. John O’Brien was one of the best players the US ever produced. It’s really too bad that injuries derailed his career, because he could have been great and would still be a fixture in the midfield for the US National Team.

  16. For Peruvian food in the NY/NJ area, the best I’ve found so far is El Chevere in Passaic (I like the Monroe St. location best). I recommend the saltado, tallarin verde and most other meat/chicken dishes and suggest your avoid the seafood (the ceviche and jalea I’ve had was chewy and tough).

    Alas, no place here compares to my favorites in the LA/OC California area.

  17. j.o.b. was my favorite u.s. national team player and i have been a big fan of the nats since 1995. it’s wonderful to look back, but also heart-breaking.

  18. For everyone who asks why the MLS doesn’t pay well, how many of you buy the MLS package on DirecTV? How many of you own more then one MLS jersey or t-shirt? How many of you travel to go to some games? There’s lots of “casual” MLS fans who don’t spend any money on the league then ask why the league can’t afford to pay their players more. With so many teams not making any money, surely you can see why.

    Spend on the league so it can spend on their players.

  19. Oh, and about the ESPN broadcasting EPL here, remember, if they won the domestic (England) rights they would have been responsible for hiring/arranging for all the announcers. I doubt they want to jump into that aspect of the market thier first year. That’s asking a lot. Instead, if they get the rights to North America (and possibly South America) they could get their feet wet and later plan to take the Euro rights.

  20. The offside rule can be confusing, but it helps to think about the origin of the rule. Soccer(football) was a kids game played thru a gym class. There are always those kids who didn’t pay attention to the game being played and were away from their team. The rule was made to prevent those kids from benefitting by being in a position away from their side – off of their side/team.

    So if a player is in an offside position, that player should not benefit from being in that position.

  21. I think the best way to explain the offside rule is to think of being like Hiro and freezing time the instant the ball is first played. if you’re offside at that moment, you are offside. doesn’t matter what happens to the ball in the interim. of course if the ball is truely intercepted, there is no needto call the offside, because the new team has the advantage of play on.

    so remember, it doesn’t matter if you are offsides when the ball gets to you, it matters if you are offsides when your team plays the ball.

    as for possession, think of it in terms of the shot clock in basketball. if a defender tips a ball, the shot clock doesn’t reset. he has to actually have possession and make a move, then the shot clock resets.

    personally, I don’t understand all the hullaballoo about the offsides rule. yes, it’s hard to see sometimes at real speed, but it’s not that complicated of a rule.

  22. Great site Ives….one question…will MLS ever give up such a low salary cap and allow teams to find their own players. I played in college and many of my friends have or had played in MLS, USL and othe rpro leagues. I can tell you most of them could have made a better salary working as a dump truck driver. What gives? It’s time for a change.

  23. Ives, CAM is the player on the point of the diamond in a 4 man midfield configuration. Usually with two strikers in front of him.

    What could you call the player?

    Yes, I know a flat 4 man, or an empty bucket are all in the rage, or a box, or a Christmas tree, but here it is, so you can see its not a figment of our imaginations:


    Or, let’s have it in a 3-5-2 or 4-5-1:
    3-5-2: normal:

    Or the Barca 3-5-2

    This might be the formation when you had a left/right attacking mid designation.

    Or, one could use it in a 4 man midfield to distinguish outside attacking mids (who really aren’t “wingers”) from the CM’s.

    In a 4-4-1-1 flat or bucket or box, the CAM would be virtually same thing as the withdrawn striker.

    At least that’s how I understand it.

    If someone wants to delve into wingers vs. outside mids, we can have that conversation as well.

  24. Hey Ives, there was a bit of confusion regarding ESPN’s recent attempt to get the rights to the Premier League games.

    What was being bid on was the domestic rights to the game, that is, the showing of games in England (and Britain). This means that in England, Sky have 6 of the game packages, and Setanta has 1.

    When they have the rights in England, however, they also are in charge of providing the international broadcasts, to places such as the US.

    So, when FSC shows a game, they are showing it through the Sky Sports feed from England. They basically pay for the right for Sky to broadcast on their channel. Hence, why the games are commentated by Sky commentators, and not FSC guys.

    And the international rights come about this time next year, or in time for the 2010/2011 season.

    What we are going to be concerned about in the States, is whether ESPN is going to bid for the international rights, and take over some of the packages from Setanta and FSC.

    If ESPN do get some of the packages, we won’t be dealing with ESPN commentators and such. We will still get the Sky commentators from those packages, or the Setanta ones from the others.

    So, don’t give up hope yet for ESPN showing the EPL here in the States. What ESPN just lost was just the right to broadcast over there, strictly in England.

  25. I’m with Anon, I understood that ESPN lost out on the rights in Britain, and I got that idea based on the fact that in the ESPN Release I read saying something along the line of “ESPN will still provide you with the best coverage possible, including live events on ESPN America”, making me think that they weren’t talking about our ESPN.

    And video reviewing of diving seems great, and I believe the NBA put that into practice this year, and it seems to have helped somewhat.

  26. Another good example for offsides is, when a player is in an offsides position when a shot is taken by a teammate. If said shot is deflectd by the keeper, then the offside player is still offside and can not play the ball. He must re-establish his onside position first.

  27. I’m no expert – but re: the offside question – The penalty happens when the ball is played by a team mate to someone in an off side position. A minor deflection on the way does nothing to change the call.

    The tricky part is if a defender actually traps a ball and takes posession in that sequence. In that case the offside still happened, but refs do not need to call every offside if it creates no advantage. (For example a kick that goes all the way to the keeper – and is fielded by the keeper, if an offensive player was in the offside position at the time the kick was played but never got within 10 yards of the ball, the ref does not need to stop play because no advantage was created and he just lets the keeper play the ball)

    The tricky part is if a defender traps and takes posession of a ball that was played to an off side player. The ref can decide not to call the off side because it did not result in an advantage, and allow the defender to play on. But then if the defender somehow loses the ball to that offensive player, there is no offside called because no offensive pass was made. So the penaly is not being off side – it is having a ball played to you by a team mate when you are in the offside position.

  28. RE: Chase’s question above.

    I thought that ESPN lost the bid for showing in the UK, but North American rights go up for bid next year. There seems to be some confusion in that. I think we may seem something similar to what he noted.


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