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Verbalizing SPA and DOGSO on attacks


Verbalizing "SPA" (Stopping a promising attack) and "DOGSO" (Denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity) as play is moving forward is a technique used to help match officials identify the correct disciplinary action.

We will share 2 examples from top referees in the US and England. The first is from PRO referee Allen Chapman and FIFA AR Corey Rockwell. The second is from EX-FIFA referee Howard Webb and Premier League AR Darren Cann.

Allen Chapman and Corey Rockwell:

In a webinar with NISOA Corey Rockwell shared a tool he learned during his time in the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament that he picked up from Allan Chapman.

Allen and Corey worked 2 matches together during the MLS is Back Tournament. A Group F fixture between Los Angeles FC and LA Galaxy and a semifinal match between the Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers.

"When he (Allan Chapman) has a situation on the field that starts as DOGSO and turns into SPA, maybe it's bordering between the two, he will say on the mic as the play is going along, DOGSO, DOGSO, DOGSO and then maybe another defender gets back and he changes it to SPA, SPA, SPA."

- Corey Rockwell

Corey explained that Allen then knows when he blows the whistle the last word he said is what "he will go with."

Allen was actively assessing the situation as it happened and Corey went on the mic to back up Allen saying "100% SPA" and the correct decision was reached to award a yellow card.

Allen Chapman

Howard Webb and Darren Cann:

In a discussion with Referee Abroad Howard Webb talked about referees being mindful of their positioning, responsibilities and when they have the best view of an incident.

Howard then explained that referees must be able to recognize when their assistant has the best information and share responsibility among the crew.

"As someone is breaking away on goal Darren was saying "think yellow, think yellow, think red, think red" and talking like this as a player is bearing down on goal. So when the decision did have to be made we could remember where we were and we're not sort of deceived by the changing picture that happens after a foul within the next 2 or 3 seconds."

- Howard Webb


Using effective self-talk while refereeing can help enhance performance and become a self-fulfilling prophecy in a negative or positive way.

- Stuart Carrington


Watch: Summer Educational Series - Communication with Corey Rockwell


Watch: Discussion with surprise guests Howard Webb & Darren Cann


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