clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Choose Your Own Adventure - Be A Referee

New, 23 comments

Have you ever wanted to be a referee in a derby match? Well now is your chance. Relive the experience of the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers US Open Cup match, but this time you're calling the shots from the field. Think you can do better?

Congratulations! You've just been awarded the job of being the head referee for the prestigious Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers derby for the 4th round of the US Open Cup. I bet you're excited! I'm excited and my only job is to deliver this news to you. I'm sure you'll do a great job since you're so smart, attractive, and your eyebrows always look particularly stellar. We here at the United States Soccer Federation have every confidence in your ability to perform admirably and call a fair and judicious game, but ultimately your performance falls fully on your shoulders. Do you have what it takes to make this a night to remember?

___

1

Welcome to Starfire Sports Complex. Are you ready for the big time? Lots of loud, raucous fans will be in attendance, close to the field. They could probably hear you breathing if they weren't busy singing and shouting. Oh but what's this? Before the game has even started you have a big decision to make: turns out the home team, Seattle Sounders, have declared their right to wear their black jerseys, but the traveling Portland Timbers only brought dark jerseys. Yikes!

If you declare the away team changes kits to a less similar color to the home team as per the rules, go to 21

If you figure it's not that big of a deal and let them play in similar colored kits, go to 16

___

2

You ignore the flash of light. Probably a piece of metal or something, no big deal. But it was a big deal! Before you know it, a Sounders player is down while a Timbers player is throwing punches wielding brass knuckles.

This is it. This is the moment you've trained for. You jump in the way of the attacker and you show him a red card. That'll show him.

But it doesn't. Instead the Portland player becomes even more incensed and charges you. But you can do jujitsu. One chop, two, and the Portland player is down on the ground, disarmed of his weapon. The game is suspended. You're lauded as a hero. The Sounders hire you in a ceremonial position where you just tour local elementary schools giving inspirational speeches. A statue is erected of you. It got the hair right. You're pleased.

Your Adventure Ends

___

3

Oh, silly you, they're an escort. You follow the police out of the stadium, anticipating a trip to city hall where they award you a medal and a ceremonial sword. It's no key, but imagine all the watermelons you can slice up with this sword! You're gonna be Youtube famous in no time!

Your adventure ends.

___

4

You ain't got not time for back patting, not when there's still time left to ref this game. Save the back pats for after. And it's a good thing you're paying attention, because it looks like Micheal Azira just tried to get away with murder, and you're the only one who saw it.

If you give Azira a red card for attempted murder, go to 33

If you decide only to give Azira a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, go to 18

___

5

You allow play to continue despite two players clearly being down. No other players notice however, since the players blend into the field and the night. The play deteriorates into a mishmash of fumbling follies, but eventually a net bulges somewhere and a goal is scored.

You check your watch. It's only 80 minutes in.

If you decide to declare the game over, go to 13

If you decide to allow the game to finish despite the difficulties, go to 24

___

6

In an act of boldness, you pull out your red card to Obafemi Martins as he's being stretched off the field. He did fall on someone's leg. That's pretty egregious and dangerous. Despite his injuries, he rages from his stretcher. You see his eyes focus on yours. You try to look away but find that you can't. His eyes. They bore into you like a god's eyes would, seeing you for who you truly are. Wetness, hot and pungent, seeps down your leg. "Blasphemer," is shouted into your head by an otherworldly voice. It's shrill and both higher than any voice ought ever be and also deep and resonating. Your bones shake.

As the stretcher moves further away, his eyes still stare into yours, the words "Blasphemer" booming louder and louder with each heart beat. Your pulse quickens. The cacophony rings in your head, your thoughts disappear entirely and you're left seeing all your past transgressions: the time you stole candy from a store, the time you got into a car accident and left the scene, and more recently, the time you gave a red card to Obafemi Martins.

You're overcome with emotion and you weep uncontrollably, falling to the ground in a heap. You're inconsolable, so the other referees roll you off the pitch into a corner where you suck you slowly dehydrate out of your tears, the word "Blasphemer" boring deep within your essence.

Your Adventure Ends

____

7

It's a derby match, probably smart to call the game tight, lest emotions and physicality get out of hand on this small pitch. You've seen these two teams compete before. They'll tear each other's heads off if they're not properly policed.

Wait, did you see that? Someone tried to take a throw-in from a spot where the ball didn't go out. What will you do?

If you tell the player to throw the ball in from the proper spot, go to 44

If you decide not to be that kind of ref who needs absolute control and power, go to 46

___

8

Of course you didn't pat yourself on the back. You gotta look like a seasoned veteran in this game, not like this is your first shot at the big time. That would make you look like a douche and you're certainly not one of those.

Goodness, looks like seconds after the Sounders make their final substitution, Obafemi Martins goes down with an injury that looks pretty serious.

If you red card him before he's carted off the field, just for good measure, go to 6

If you allow for the medical staff to tend to him and sullenly keep your cards in your pocket, go to 45

___

9

They can wear white; after all, you're a benevolent, understanding referee. Plus the teams would be harder to tell apart when the night got darker.

Uh oh, looks like the ball went out of bounds and the assistant referee declared it should be a Seattle throw. You think you saw it clearly deflect off a Sounders player before going out of bounds though.

If you overrule the AR and give the Timbers the throw-in, go to 34

If you trust the AR is correctly doing one of the only things he's responsible for, go to 32

___

10

Red cards for everybody! Not really everybody though, you're not crazy, you're competent. You're the only one who knows the rules around here, so it's a good thing they assigned you, a competent referee, to this game otherwise things clearly would've gotten out of hand. I mean, look at how things ended up, and that's with you, a brilliant genius calling the shots. Goodness.

Now that Seattle is down 4 outfield players, hopefully they don't tie it up and send it to penalty kicks. You're not sure what happens if one team has used all their players on PKs and the other hasn't. Best to avoid that. Luckily a goal is scored and it's by the Timbers, so bullet dodged there. Good job.

But the fans, they seem, I dunno. Are they saying Boo-urns? It's hard to tell. The smoke from the Portland fan's flares are making your eyes water and confusing you. Now the police are here. Why?

If you red card the police, go to 40

If you follow the police obediently, go to 3

___

11

Penalty! Those Sounders are pretty cheap, it's a good thing you were here to call them out on it. You place the ball on the penalty spot and eyeball the goalie, making sure he's on his line, the cheating bastard. You blow your whistle and the Timbers player approaches the ball. He stops when he gets there. Fakes right. Fakes left. Does a fancy little spin move before shooting. You're transfixed by the majesty of the moment so you don't notice when the slow roller of a shot is saved. You come to and realize you forgot to pay attention to the goalie.

If you call the penalty back to be retaken because the goalie left his line early, go to 23

If you allow play to continue, go to 47

___

12

You blow your whistle and indicate for the player to move back to the proper position for the throw-in. C'mon, buddy, you're not a push-over. You won't be taken advantage of in this game. The players acquiesce to your expertise and soon all throw-ins are being taken either at the spot where the ball went out or around the general vicinity.

As a result of your commanding respect of the game, a few players have earned some yellow cards and you've made it to half time tied. You're nearly done refereeing your highest profile match ever, congratulations.

If you decide to get some snacks during half time, go to 19

If you decide to get the second half started, go to 17

___

13

You blow your whistle three times, indicating the end of the game. The players, bewildered and battered, accept your whistle as a means of mercy. Doctors rush out to the downed players and revive them. You get word that the USSF are pleased with your decision to end the game early in the name of player safety. You do get a slight reprimand for having the two teams wear too similar of jerseys, but it's not an official reprimand. Before you know it, you're getting more center referee assigments.

Your Adventure Ends

____

14

Good call on making that player go back and throw it in from the proper spot. Just make sure you're consistent with that, otherwise who knows the shenanigans these players will get up to. It'd get out of hand quickly, I'm sure, with players running the entire length of the pitch with the ball in their hands looking to get any advantage they can. It's a good thing you're so level headed and attractive.

As a result of your controlling nature of this game, already a few players have earned some soft yellow cards and there hasn't been much of a flow, which will make it for a nervy second half. That's good for stories, so good job on that. But you made it to half time. You're nearly done refereeing your highest profile match ever, congratulations.

But wait, the Sounders are coming out for the second half in white jerseys. You're confused. Should you make them go change back into their black kits?

If you make them change back into their black kits, go to 29

If you allow them to wear the white kits, go to 9

___

15

You decide to let the players play the game they want to play. Afterall, referees who interfere too much tend to have a bad reputation, and you're all about appearances. So fouls happen left and right. Someone even walks several yards ahead of where you indicated to take a throw-in. But it's okay, you swallow your whistle and allow it to continue.

Before you realize it, you see a flash of light coming from the hands of a nearby Portland player.

If you investigate the light, go to 42

If you ignore the light, go to 2

___

16

Yeah, it's not an issue that one team is wearing black and the other dark green, especially on a field that's dark green with black pellets. At least you're wearing bright red and everybody will see you without any issue. Good call! We knew you'd be a good referee for this Cascadian clash.

Now that the match has started, it's time for you to determine whether you want to call the match tight or allow the players to play without much intervention.

If you call the match tight, go to 35

If you call the match loose, go to 15

____

17

Wait, the Sounders are coming out for the second half in white jerseys. You're confused. Should you make them go change back into their black kits?

If you make them change back into their black kits, go to 29

If you allow them to wear the white kits, go to 9

___

18

You pull out your yellow card and show it to Azira. The protests from Portland and Sounders ring hollow in your ears. You know you did the right thing. Showing a red would be much too harsh and perhaps people would think you incompetent, making the Sounders go three men down in a knock-out tournament. But through your benevolence you allow Seattle to continue playing with 9 men.

The remaining minutes play out without circumstance and the game ends with the Timbers winning. There's some remonstration about the unfairness of the red card to Evans and Portland's second goal, but it ends there. You go home feeling confident you're the best referee ever and that you looked damn good while doing it.

Your Adventure Ends

___

19

You're pretty hungry after that vigorous first half, but it's a good thing you packed some already thawed corn dogs with you. As you make your way to the referee's locker room, you notice people staring at you. It must be your new haircut, you are looking pretty attractive today after all.

You find the corn dogs loose at the bottom of your traveling bag and quickly take a bite. Delicious. You take a second, vigorous bite but chomp down hard on the wooden stick embedded deep within the corn dog. It lodges in your throat. Betrayed, you think, by corn dogs, they who have brought you so much joy will now be your ultimate downfall. You suffocate and die.

Your adventure ends.

___

20

It's a good thing you talked to the Portland players, because according to them Brad Evans not only pulled down the player, but he punched the player in the kidneys, kneed him in the groin, stomped on his foot, and elbowed him in the head. Goodness, you gotta give a red card for that. I can't believe you didn't see all that initially, but your thoroughness and willing to work as a team really got the right result there.

You make sure to give Evans a look that says you're way better at life than he is and he'd better not test you again. Good job putting him in his place. And wouldn't you know it, his ejection didn't matter since the Sounders just scored anyway to tie up the game. Hmm, this could go into extra time if no more goals are scored in regulation. It's a good thing you forced the Sounders to change into those white kits, otherwise it'd be way too dark. You're so smart.

If you pat yourself on the back for all the good work you've done so far, go to 30

If you decide to not pat yourself on the back because you don't want people to know how pleased you are with yourself, go to 8

___

21

Now that the match has started, it's time for you to determine whether you want to call the match tight or allow the players to play without much intervention.

If you call the match tight, go to 7

If you call the match loose, go to 15

___

22

You allow the player to take the throw-in from a non-designated spot. You notice, but you allow it to slide this time. On the next throw-in, it happens again, this time the move further from the designated spot. This rankles you, but again, you're not that power hungry type of ref. But yet again, on the next throw the player is a good 20 yards from the designated spot. Pretty brazen.

If you call the player back to take the throw-in from the proper spot, go to 12

If you allow the throw to be taken regardless of location, go to 31

___

23

You blow your whistle and yellow card the goalie for leaving his line early, you suppose. They always do anyway, so it's good odds this guy did too. He fouled the guy clearly to earn the penalty against him, so it's pretty straightforward he's a cheating type.

A different Portland player steps up to take the penalty and slots it home without ceremony, but after scoring he breaks into a chorus line of dancing with all of the Portland players, coaches, and fans joining in. Hundreds of people dancing and singing in expert choreography. There's tumbling involved. You clap your hands excitedly and squeal.

Once the dance is over, you realize that the game is well past extra time and you blow your whistle. Good job, you're sure to get many more assignments now.

Your adventure Ends.

___

24

You don't end the game early, instead have the teams reset and kickoff. Someone trips over the downed players and lets out a shriek. They're dead. They weren't afforded treatment fast enough and now they're both dead. Play stops. Players and fans are crying.

The widows of the deceased run onto the field in full mourning garb. One slaps you for your incompetence. It hurts, but you reckon you deserved it. You call the match amid the deaths.

Some weeks later there's word that there's potential you may face some criminal charges for your negligence, but it never comes to pass.

Your Adventure Ends

___

25

Yeah, best not to mettle, lest you ruin your chances at another referee assignment. You've done good work so far, no reason to risk that just to go home a half hour early. So on to extra time we go. This will be exciting. You're pretty tired, but you still look great in your flashy red referee uniform. It's a good thing you stopped by a barber before the game.

Oh geez, more controversy. The Timbers just scored a goal, but the player was offside. Sheesh, they're not making this easy on you. But, maybe, you could pass it off as a legit goal if you say the blocked shot that spilled the ball to the Portland player counts as a legitimate defensive touch thus rendering the offsides moot. Tough choice.

If you call the Timbers player onside and allow the goal, go to 36

If you call the Timbers player offside and disallow the goal, go to 41

___

26

You show a yellow card to Dempsey, who's pretty livid at you but it goes no further than that. You pick up the shredded notebook and look at it sadly for a moment. It was a gift from your old referee master that you earned as a reward during your referee apprenticeship. It was a sign that you were the chosen one. A wave of grief overwhelms you for a moment, but you swallow the emotion and determine to finish the game.

You consider giving out a few more cards the rest of the game but you recognize how difficult that'd be given you couldn't write it in your notebook any longer. The game ends without circumstance. You go back to your hotel and look up on the internet book restoration experts. They're all closed at this late hour but you're sure you can call in the morning and get a quote then. You hope it'll be reasonably priced.

Your Adventure Ends

___

27

You blow your whistle and remonstrate to both goalies that they can't leave their lines early. No unfair advantages. Inwardly you laud yourself for your courage and expert refereeing. Both goalkeepers heed your warning and toe the line. No player misses their penalties for the first five rounds, and even after players continue to score until Nat Borchers steps up to take his kick. The approach is good, the kick was clean, but his beard blocked the path of the ball, which fell helplessly down in front of him. After his miss the Sounders score their following shot and win.

You did a good job today and soon refereeing assignments come pouring in.

Your Adventure Ends

____

28

The second half starts off, the Timbers in the green, the Sounders in their white, and you looking resplendent in your red.

Uh oh, looks like the ball went out of bounds and the assistant referee declared it should be a Seattle throw. You think you saw it clearly deflect off a Sounders player before going out of bounds though.

If you overrule the AR and give the Timbers the throw-in, go to 34

If you trust the AR is correctly doing one of the only things he's responsible for, go to 32

___

29

You decide once more to assert your dominance over the match. The Sounders coaching staff and players grumble, but you know the rules and it's your job to enforce them. A few minutes later the Sounders emerge in their original black kits and the second half gets started.

After a few minutes you begin to regret your decision as the jersey similarities between the two teams make it hard to distinguish which teams each players are from.

The sun falls behind the trees and darkness intensifies. A shiver runs through your body. Players are tentative with their runs and passes, not knowing who's on which team. Two players run into each other, not able to distinguish the players from the darkness of the sky.

If you stop the play to allow the players to get treatment, go to 38

If you allow the play to continue and ignore the downed players, go to 5

___

30

You go to pat yourself on the back, reaching around and giving yourself a few vigorous pats. Well done, you think to yourself, but as you pull your arm back, you feel a sharp pain in your side. It's blinding and overwhelming. You're no doctor, but you're really smart so you self-diagnose anyway. It's a torn lat muscle. Way to go. You fall on the ground and roll around in pain. Urruti rolls his eyes at you from the bench. Sounders doctors rush to the field and confirm your diagnosis, commending you on how smart you must be. Unfortunately, the kind words do nothing for your pain as you're forced to step down from refereeing the match any further.

Your Adventure Ends

___

31

The player takes the throw and play continues. The world doesn't end. However, every player cheats forward or backward on the throws, disregarding your location. Eventually one player rushes forward the entire length of the field and bombs a throw into the box. Before you know it, players are knocking the ball off opposing players just to get throw-ins. Each throw-in is like a corner. It's raining soccer balls. Goals are scored left and right, you don't even know how to stop it. You clearly lost control of this game. If only you'd enforced proper throw-in locations. Shame on you. Next weekend you wait for your next referee assignment but your phone never rings. Your calls go straight to voicemail. Your days of refereeing are over.

Your Adventure Ends

___

32

You trust your Assistant Referee when he says the ball went off the Timbers player. It's his job to know these things and yours to listen to your assistants. You're pretty sure you're getting high marks for this game. The Sounders instead take the throw-in, and because they respect you so much, they take it from the spot where it went out of bounds. No fudging.

The game continues to go on for a while, back and forth, and in the dying moments a through-ball sends a Timbers player onto goal. The Sounders goalkeeper rushes it and they collide, but it looks like both made simultaneous contact with the ball. Tricky. This call could decide the match.

If you award the Timbers a penalty, go to 11

If you award the Sounders the foul, go to 43

___

33

You can't let players get away with murder, so it's a good thing you red carded Azira there. He definitely deserved it. Murder is bad, mkay? Since nobody but you saw it, it's a good thing you're around. You should be deemed a hero, given a ceremonial sash and maybe even a key to a city.

But now Clint Dempsey has stolen your notebook and has ripped it up. That was pretty rude.

If you decide to red card Dempsey as well, go to 10

If you decide to laugh it off and give Dempsey a yellow, go to 26

___

34

You're the head ref, you know better than a lowly assistant referee. Of course your eyes didn't deceive you. Of course it's the Timbers ball. And guess what, they scored a goal off the resultant throw-in. That wouldn't have happened if you let the Assistant Referee follow his stupid advice like he wanted you to make. It's a good thing you're the referee and he isn't, otherwise this game could quickly turn into a joke, and that's the last thing you want to happen in your highest profile game ever.

Uh oh, looks like Brad Evans, who's already on a yellow card, fouled a player. It looked pretty innocuous and didn't really look very egregious, but you didn't get your best look at it.

If you just call the foul and give Portland a free kick, go to 39

If you confer with the Portland players before determining your action, go to 20

____

35

It's a derby match, probably smart to call the game tight, lest emotions and physicality get out of hand on this small pitch. You've seen these two teams compete before. They'll tear each other's heads off if they're not properly policed.

Wait, did you see that? Someone tried to take a throw-in from a spot where the ball didn't go out. What will you do?

If you tell the player to throw the ball in from the proper spot, go to 14

If you decide not to be that kind of ref who needs absolute control and power, go to 22

___

36

It's pretty clear the Seattle player purposefully blocked that shot and intended the ball to go right where it did as a result. So good call on allowing the goal. You're doing a great job, did you know that? There's nothing that could happen now that could tarnish your reputation.

If you pat yourself on the back for being such an awesome referee, go to 30

If you don't pat yourself on the back, go to 4

___

37

You've done a good job not micromanaging the game too much to this point, might as well let things be. As a result of your leniency, fantastic saves are made by both teams. The players, noting the high caliber of goalkeeping, try more and more spectacular penalty shots. It's well regarded as the best Penalty Shootout ever. The victors celebrate on the field and you go home and sleep the sleep of champions, dreaming of refereeing in the World Cup with a crowd of hundreds of thousands chanting your name.

Your Adventure Ends

___

38

You stop the play and move to investigate the well being of the players. But when you get there you're shocked at what you find. The players aren't humans any longer, instead the surrounding and pervasive darkness has enveloped them and turned them into shadows. The players waft out of their uniform and swarm you, encircling you in a vortex of menace.

You pull out your only defense, your trusty red card. You flash it once, twice, a third time, but it doesn't slow down the malevolence of the shades. One enters your mouth and nose and forces its way into your body. The shudder that follows is violent and horrifying. Your vision turns black as your own shadow forces itself to the foreground, assuming your being and your life. You are no longer you. You've become something else entirely.

Your Adventure Ends

___

39

You consider giving Brad Evans his second red, but you reconsider. The foul wasn't that bad and his first yellow was pretty soft. But you still call the foul and allow the Timbers to take the free kick.

The game continues to go on for a while, back and forth, and in the dying moments a through-ball sends a Timbers player onto goal. The Sounders goalkeeper rushes it and they collide, but it looks like both made simultaneous contact with the ball. Tricky. This call could decide the match.

If you award the Timbers a penalty, go to 11

If you award the Sounders the foul, go to 43

___

40

The police surround you. Instinctively you pull out your red card. The laugh at you and you get a face full of pepper spray. It burns like nothing you've ever experienced before. It's in your mouth too and you can't help but cough. You can taste the snot running from your nose into your mouth. The police laugh at you and one of them hits you with a nightstick for good measure, bringing you to your knees. You are roughly forced onto your stomach where you're handcuffed and promptly dragged off the field.

You hear cheers around you and you manage to smile despite your pain. The crowd, they're still supporting you, they've always got your back, because you're the best referee ever. You spend the night in jail and leave the next day with a hefty fine.

Your Adventure Ends

___

41

Sure, the ball deflected off a Sounders player and into the path of the Timbers, but it was unintentional and now the Timbers used that offsides player for an advantage. You call offsides and disallow the goal. The Portland players protest loudly and very close to your face. You dish out a yellow card to the man who smells the worst, which is hard to distinguish considering it's one hundred minutes into a soccer match. But you've got a strong sense of smell, so you're confident you choose the smelliest.

Despite a two man advantage, the Timbers cannot score during extra time and the game goes to a penalty kick shoot-out.

After the first round, with both teams scoring, you noticed both goalies left their lines early. In the second round, Perkins leaves his line a little early while saving a shot.

If you call the penalty back to be retaken because the goalie left his line early, go to 27

If you allow the save to occur, go to 37

___

42

They're brass knuckles, and they're headed right for you. Before you can ninja dodge your way out of the path of the brass knuckles wielding fist, it hits you right square in the temple. But you know jujitsu, you say to yourself as the world spins around you slowly fading to black.

You wake up in a hospital days later. There's a chamber pot beneath you. It stinks. Your hair is a mess.

Your Adventure Ends

___

43

The goalie has the right of way, you decree, and you call a foul on the Timbers player, even giving him a yellow card in the process. Good job. Solid refereeing. The tightly contested affair continues to go scoreless through the final whistle and through extra time. That means penalty kicks.

After the first round, with both teams scoring, you noticed both goalies left their lines early. In the second round, Perkins leaves his line a little early while saving a shot.

If you call the penalty back to be retaken because the goalie left his line early, go to 27

If you allow the save to occur, go to 37

___

44

Good call on making that player go back and throw it in from the proper spot. Just make sure you're consistent with that, otherwise who knows the shenanigans these players will get up to. It'd get out of hand quickly, I'm sure, with players running the entire length of the pitch with the ball in their hands looking to get any advantage they can. It's a good thing you're so level headed and attractive.

As a result of your controlling nature of this game, already a few players have earned some soft yellow cards and there hasn't been much of a flow, which will make it for a nervy second half. That's good for stories, so good job on that. But you made it to half time. You're nearly done refereeing your highest profile match ever, congratulations.

If you decide to get some snacks during half time, go to 19

If you decide to get the second half started, go to 28

___

45

Man, you really wanted to card Oba there, not because he deserved it, but because it'd be pretty funny and make for a good story. Not like it would've impacted the game much anyway. The Timbers have a two man advantage, it's probable they'll score before the end of regulation and everybody will forget about this game. But it's actually not looking like they'll score without your intervention.

If you intervene so the Timbers can score a goal and end the game, go to 11

If you don't intervene, go to 25

___

46

As a result of your not-too-controlling nature of this game, already a few players have earned some soft yellow cards and there hasn't been much of a flow, but the players respect you, so good job on that. You made it to half time. You're nearly done refereeing your highest profile match ever, congratulations.

If you decide to get some snacks during half time, go to 19

If you decide to get the second half started, go to 28

___

47

It's a save. You didn't see any infringement so you allow play to continue. The tightly contested affair continues to go scoreless through the final whistle and through extra time. That means penalty kicks.

After the first round, with both teams scoring, you noticed both goalies left their lines early. In the second round, Perkins leaves his line a little early while saving a shot.

If you call the penalty back to be retaken because the goalie left his line early, go to 27

If you allow the save to occur, go to 37