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Question Number: 21731

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/2/2009

RE: NFHS High School

Lionel Heinold of Ephrata, WA USA asks...

A high ball is going at the goal. The keeper jumps to catch the ball and lifts one knee as an attacker approaches. Foul?

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Keepers raise their knees for two reason: (1) part of the natural jumping process or (2) as a weapon against opponents.

Usually, the foul occurs when a knee is raised but the keeper is either not jumping or coming down. If the keeper is looking at the opponent rather than the ball, the knee probably is a warning or a weapon.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

It is a question of context always. Keepers are taught to jump with one knee up, ostensibly to give them more height, and to provide some protection to sensitive areas if they stretch up full height with the jump. The fact that a knee raised like that can also be a lethal weapon is not lost on them either.

The referee must be watching carefully to see when the knee comes up, how the attacker reacts, and what the keeper does with the knee. If your decision based on what you see is that the keeper is using the knee as a weapon and is attempting to or does kick the other player with the raised leg, then a DFK/PK offense has occurred.

If instead it appears the keeper is clearly focused on the ball, is using the leg to try and gain more height to the jump (I'm dubious about this), and doesn't appear to be trying to intimidate or injure the attacker, then it is nothing to be concerned with. If it is somewhere in between, then by all means let the keeper know you are watching and are 'concerned'. The smart ones get the message.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Unfortunately, this is a tactic taught to keepers by coaches at keeper camps. they have the mistaken belief that the keeper is entitled to raise his knee and do anything he sees fit with it. How this adds more height to the jump defies the laws of Physics and this tactic usually is intimidating at the least. Of course, it's always possible that the keeper is merely protecting himself and not committing a foul.

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