It is not unusual for me to run out of things to write. When I get stumped, I turn to my wife. She was not a soccer fanatic like me. Some of our more “nuanced” rules are quite puzzling to her.
She has many valid questions that her peers on the parents side share with her.
She said, “please make them stop yelling ‘offside’ all darn game.”
Offside. Think of it like a force field. The Storm Troopers of the defense can come and go as they please, and when any two storm troopers are between you and the goal, the force field is deactivated. BUT…the moment there is only one Storm Trooper guarding the goal, they activate the force field. It is easy to figure out when the keeper is in the goal. He is Storm Trooper one.
Then you only need to worry about the last defender as Storm Trooper two. The force field is attached to the back of that last defender. It moves along right behind him. If you stay “even” or in front of him without breaking that force field, you cannot be offside.
It’s a nasty force field. If you step across that line made between the 2nd storm trooper and the goal, you set off the alarm. You can wave your arm across but most other body parts will set it off.
This is why the assistant referee stands in line with the last defender (the keeper usually makes Storm Trooper number 1 so the last defender is the guy activating the force field).
Hold on. Don’t start screaming “offside” yet. Just because he raises his flag doesn’t mean it is offiside.
The assistant referee only lets Darth Vader know someone has crossed the force field. You are not in danger yet. This is called “offside position” – it’s like in Star Wars when the single stupid Storm Trooper yells “stop” (like that’s going to do any good) and sounds the alarm.
Old Darth will get you, but you have time to get back outside the force field so you can elude his “wrath”. At this point you will summon Darth if you:
- Interfere with the play – get out of there, don’t go near the ball or try to fight the hordes of Storm Troopers. This was always Chewbacca’s deal. He never liked fighting. He and Han wanted to get in the Millenium Falcon and scoot. So disengage and leave.
- Interfere with another player. Say you distract the keeper by standing in his way. That’s interfering. You yell “hey, Storm Troopers, over here” to distract them. Yep. Interfering. Han did that a few times.
- Gain an advantage. Duh. You cross the force field and shut down the entire Death Star. That’s gaining an advantage. Or you stand by the goal and the ball ends up by your feet. Advantage.
But wait! There’s more! You can’t be offside if:
At the time the ball is played you are onside:
If the ball is “played” before you enter the force field, you are not offside. Think of all those Jedi fighters descending on an Empire Destroyer waiting for Luke to bring down the shields. If he brings them down before the Tie Fighters arrive, it’s all good. But if the ball is played after you enter the force field, it’s like Luke didn’t bring down the shield. You’re fried Jedi.
That’s not all, folks. There’s even more! You can’t be offside if:
You Are Behind the ball:
What if BB8 (the ball) enters the force field ahead of you and brings back vital information to help you win the battle? If he goes before you and is “passed back” so you entered behind him, you can’t be offside. Also, if you are carrying BB8, you can’t be offside…but the moment you try to send him ahead to someone who has already entered the force field – you guessed it, here comes Darth.
….and wait! Still more.
You can’t be offside on a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick
You also can’t be offside on your own half of the field. The Empire can’t seem to get that force field to extend beyond the half line. The force is not strong in them.
Thats about the best I can do to help you understand offside. If you really want to impress all your parent sideline friends just say this “I’m just going to let the refs do their job and enjoy the game”.
May the Force be with you.