US MASL (arena soccer) referee pilot program


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Since "Arena" soccer in the US is closest to futsal in the type of game, I figured I would post here. The semi-professional Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) is currently experimenting with a pilot program to have three referees on the "pitch" with whistles instead of two referees. I won't go into all of the details, but arena soccer is a combination of soccer and hockey. 5 field players and a goalkeeper for each team. The game is played inside of dasher boards like ice hockey - in fact many pitches are old-school astro turf laid over an ice surface. Teams can play short two minutes like in hockey for offenses that would normally be considered cautionable offenses, so that acts much like a sin bin. Games are four 15-minute quarters with a stopped clock for all stoppages and "on the fly" substitutions.

MASL's default officiating system is two on-floor referees, an off-floor assistant who primarily watches for substitution and "three line" violations (when the ball is kicked from the defensive zone in the air over the lines marking the defensive zone, half line, and attacking zone), and a fourth official who keeps a running record of the game, particularly accumulated fouls for players. For those familiar with basketball officiating mechanics, the mechanics for three on-floor referees mimics that of the three-man officiating system with one "trail" referee near the half way line, a "lead" referee on the same side at the trail, and a "middle" referee on the opposite side of the pitch in between the trail and lead. The officials then rotate through the positions during the course of the game. There is still an assistant referee and fourth official.

If you're interested in the type of game or the officiating system, game replays are available on the Twitch streaming platform and searching "masl_soccer". There are several different channels airing simultaneous games live.
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A&H International
Weird… but I guess there is also beach football and…

(I have scored in the World Cup of Swamp Football. Half time takes as long as it takes the GKs to change ends.)
Oh my, that looks like mud volleyball, which is a very common fundraiser event in the States! Maybe we can create some sort of mud soccer event on this side of the Atlantic. :)

Arena soccer really is a lot more like ice hockey than it is soccer, but I will say that as more players come up playing futsal, the game is starting to resemble futsal more.
For example, we don’t see the true “wall pass” where someone will bounce the ball off the side boards, go past the defender on the field side, and then collect the ball. It’s a very quick game-much like futsal in terms of quickness of the game and movement. The boards add a unique element to things. Many of the officials in the MASL are MLS assistant referees or FIFA futsal referees. One or two MLS referees are on the list and work when MLS things are not going on.