Monday, July 11, 2011

The Role of the 5th Official

This past Saturday, for the first time I worked as a 5th Official on the quarterfinal match between Germany and Japan.

As Marlene explained, the 5th Official is a reserve assistant referee. It is commonly known that if something happens to the referee it is the 4th Official who steps in to replace the referee. The game has evolved and so has the expertise of the referees and assistant referees. In many cases, the referees/4th officials have not worked as an assistant referee in many, many years so if they were to have to step in to replace an assistant referee they would be completely out of their comfort zone as they have not worked in this position in so long. So if something happens to an assistant referee it is the 5th Official who steps in who fully qualified for this position. Referees and assistant referees are also athletes and there is always a risk of injury.

Veronica, Carol Anne (Canada), Rita (Mexico), Quetzali (Mexico), and Mayte (Mexico)

As the 5th official is also part of the crew, I took this role very serious and assisted the team in other ways. Prior to the match, I assisted the crew in any manner I could such as checking ball pressure, helping the crew put on their communication system, and anything else that was requested. During the match, I took meticulous notes of the fouls, cards, and substitutions. Mentally, I had to be fully focused on the match so that if my assistance were required I am already on the same page as the crew, I am cognizant of the level of fouls being called, and aware of all the players in the book. During the game, I also wore my referee uniform under my track suit.

(Crew for the match right before taking the field)

I really enjoyed this assignment. During the match I sat next to the stretchers to the left of Germany's technical area. Since I sat field-level, I got to see the action very close. This was a very exciting match with lots of pace and an incredible atmosphere in the sold out stadium. This game went into overtime and Japan came out as the victor. This match reminded me that in the World Cup any team can win. Germany is the champion for the two prior World Cups, in 2003 and 2007, and had not lost a match in the World Cup since 1999. Therefore, Japan’s win was a surprise namely because the statistics were stacked against them. The fact that any team can win any game is what makes the World Cup so special.


  1. Hey Veronica,
    Great post on your crews latest adventures at WWC11. I'm also delving into the social networking arena whilst I'm coaching the referees at Kanga Cup 2011 in Canberra, Australia this week - First day of matches was today. We have 43 up and coming referees here in residence for the week, along with 7 referee coaches / assessors / coordinators. Good luck with any finals appointments - we're of course cheering on Jacqui, Sarah and Allyson - unfortunately everyone miss their game last night as it was on after 1am here. Say Hi to Allyson from all the crew at Kanga Cup and you can pass some nervous time by looking at my blog

  2. Veronica,
    Thanks to you and the rest of the crew for your blogs. It has been very insightful and cool to see behind the scenes a little.

    Tell Kari her fitness level has been motivational to this 46 year-old youth referee. I've hit the gym harder in an effort to be in the best shape ever for the fall season.

    The USA crew has done us all proud. Here's hoping you get rewarded with a 3rd place Match assignment (and you know why)!

    GO USA!

  3. Kari, Verónica, Marlene:

    Ladies, great job on and off the field! You are making us, all US Soccer Referees, Instructors and Assessors, feel very proud and thankful for representing our National Referee program with such great professionalism. In addition, thank you for sharing with all of us your exciting experiences and unforgetable times in Germany. I read your blog every day and proudly watch your performances on TV. By the way, you all look great on HD!!! Keep on shining on the field and the best of luck on your next play-off assignment.

    Alberto Marín (Cal-North)

  4. Hi Kari and Veronica, from sunny California!

    So proud you and our USA girls and of your accomplishments'. Very very thrilling to watch you here on TV over there in Germany. It is an honor to know you both! Keep up the great work.

    Here's to you getting in on some semi-final or finals action!

    GO U S A!

    Jeff Smith
    (SF Cup, CNRA, SFSFL, etc..)

  5. the post by Veronica on the 5th official gives a good view on the team work of the officials.

  6. To all three of you great ladies, I thank you for the inspiration that you are passing on to female players, and referees, to strive to reach the level of recognition and professionalism that all of you have exhibited.


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