Video Instruction – Challenge in the Attacking Third

The importance of understanding the different types of fouls that occur is essential in college soccer. The officiating team needs to be able to discern between incidents that are fouls and those that include misconduct.


When you select one of the decision choices below, you will unlock the "Get the NISOA decision" button.

While we generally welcome comments on our materials, please do not post your opinion/decision in the comments area. Commenting should be limited to the value of the clip or requests for clarification. Thank you for your cooperation.

Select your decision:

10 Responses to “Video Instruction – Challenge in the Attacking Third”

  1. You have absolutely missed the intent of this foul. The defender has no intent of playing the ball. She lined up the player and delivered the hit. This is a professional foul which deserves a caution. If you just call a foul on this play, you send the wrong message and all hell will brake loose. Very poor decision on your part.

    • The game has changed, and we also need to adapt to these changes.
      We need to be clear what a tactical foul is in the modern game and as it relates to the NCAA.
      The fact is, all fouls are committed for tactical reasons and here we accept that this is a tactical foul as you mention. But is this a tactical foul, stopping a promising attack?
      However, when looking at making a decision, using the NISOA considerations, and the guidance NISOA is providing we need to understand if this is in accordance to Rule 12.4 Cautions. Of the eight reasons it does not specify or justify a yellow card for tactical foul – stopping a promising attack as you would see in the laws of the game written by The IFAB for use in FIFA competitions. This is governed by the NCAA. Even if we are to use the FIFA guide to considerations we also can conclude that this does not meet the criteria for stopping a promising attack.
      In that competition we would use the following criteria to determine if stopping a promising attack occurs:
      Position of the offense.
      The player’s chance of playing the ball.
      Position of his/her teammates.
      Position of the opponents.
      Distance to goal.
      Was the attack likely to develop in next few seconds had it not been stopped by an offense?
      There is no difference if an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is unfairly denied by a goalkeeper or an outfield player.
      Lastly, would you give a second caution and ejection to this defender for this foul? We also need to make sure we exercise a degree of practical refereeing in how we manage the game at the level we serve as an extension of the academic environment.
      The NCAA rules do not (and will never) go into as much detail as the Laws of the Game do, however, the NCAA has stated they want to be consistent as much as possible with the exception that the NCAA is even more focused on player safety than IFAB is. To that end, the notion of stopping a promising attack should be the threshold for a “tactical foul” since (as was previously mentioned) all fouls are tactical. The consideration of whether the challenge was more than careless should include a consideration about the potential to “do harm”.

    • Agree 100% with Steve – no intent to play the ball by the defender (she deliberately misses the ball to deliver a hit on the attacker) and in doing so endangers the safety of the opponent with a reckless challenge. Easy caution!

  2. If the ball had been in playing distance to the attacker with a slide tackle from the side getting all ball and a trip of the attacker, would that have been a yellow card to the defender ?

    • Hi Doug. Hard to say on your hypothetical situation but you would need to apply the NISOA Considerations to determine if the challenge was reckless. I would direct your attention to considerations like the speed/intensity of the challenge, what part of the offending player made contact with the opponent, where was the point of contact on the offended player, etc.

  3. Defender intentionally hits/chips striker (best offensive player on the field) at knee & from behind, not from the side.
    Defender played the striker, no attempt to play the ball. Our Job is to Protect the players.
    Do Coaches really want Us/Officials to not use caution flag on these calls?
    Doesn’t pass smell test!

  4. This decision making process using the factors is sound but we are missing information regarding the mood of the game, the number of persistent fouls by the offending team, and if the attacking player is one of the better players being targeted….with that missing information this could warrant a caution or not.



    • Hi Raffi. As with all video clip analysis and as you mentioned, we can only observe the incident out of the match context. The intent of our analysis here, as you correctly noted, is to observe the facts and apply them against the established and accepted decision making points in the NISOA Considerations. We can not determine if this is unsporting behavior (targeted fouls by multiple defenders) or persistent infringement (multiple fouls/offenses by a player).

  5. Not sure I agree with the analysis. The ball was beyond the attacker and the defensive player ‘took out’ the attacker. Not knowing the teams I am only ‘guessing’ here but the attacker could have been the star of the team and now out. Of course the video doesn’t show what happened after the hit but to me it deserves a caution.

    • Hi Doug. We need to use the NISOA Considerations to explain and support our decision making process. “Taking out” the attacker is not a consideration for cautioning a player but stopping a promising attack is. Does this challenge stop a promising attack? Do the considerations for stopping a promising attack support a caution here?

      Does the player “deserve” a caution for unsporting behavior because this is a reckless challenge in your opinion? What are the considerations for supporting a reckless challenge in this situation? See my comment above for the kinds of considerations we need to consider to support your decision.

      Thanks for posting your question.