In recent discussion, I realized throughout my playing career that I have now received a total of 7 red cards. Six of these seven red cards were straight red cards and not a double yellow. In this segment, I wanted to share those stories:
- On a high school junior varsity team, I received an automatic red for saving a shot on the goal line with my hand. By taking away a clear goal scoring chance, by rule, I had to be dismissed from the match. It was a corner kick and and our goal keeper challenged for the ball and missed. The shot came in and I made a sliding stop while recovering for my goal keeper. My poor clearance resulted in a rebound in which I slipped and stumbled trying to save the second shot. While tumbling forward, I “discretely” used my hand to save the ball from crossing the line. Once I looked up, the referee was in the perfect position to take action. In the end, our team won the match 1-0 after playing a a player for 80 minutes!!
- My senior year of high school I was called for diving in the box. I approached the referee after the foul and showed him the cleat mark streaks running down my quad. I was booked for complaining and most likely some extra things I may have said. As he showed me the yellow card, I turned my head and flicked my hand towards him in reaction to his poor judgement. At the same time, he brought the yellow card back down from the air and my hand struck the yellow card out of his hand. The timing couldn’t be any worse. In disbelief, he provided the red card.
- During a club performance with the Internationals in a Midwest League competition, I had another unlucky moment. A cross was directed wide of our defensive goal and I chased the ball to gain possession. As I was racing for the ball, an opponent tried everything to beat me. I was pulled, pushed, tripped and lastly, he even tried jumping on my back. The referee yelled “play on” since I didn’t go to ground and still made it to the ball first. The opponent took one more hack at my legs before I turned around to give him a massive shove. My retaliation was so fast I didn’t realize how short the opponent was. A firm shove to the chest turned into an open palm hit to his head. The moment he dropped to the ground, I knew I was in massive trouble!
- This next one takes place in Toronto, Canada, our final match of a struggling season with the Cincinnati Kings PDL team. The match was held at a very nice stadium in downtown Toronto where they turn our event into kids day. The attendance was more than 3,000 as all types of summer camps were present. Embarrassingly, this day we were getting beat badly by a team that was, by record, worse than us. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game and the score was well out of hand, I decided to take revenge on a player who rightfully should have been thrown out with several dangerous tackles against me (of course the referee rarely called the foul). It was our goal kick and I noticed the linesmen were not paying attention to the field of play and the referee was jogging into position. The defender decided to talk trash to me right before I went cleats up to his low shin and a quick swing to his head. Not one of my proudest moments but when my coached asked me what and why did I do this, I simply responded “I had to.” This event result in 3 people getting ejected from the match.
- It was suppose to be a fun tournament over Memorial Day Weekend. I was playing with a local team Karadjordje, a Serbian influenced team and tournament. It was still outdoor the the fields were smaller and it was six aside. This was right after I came back from a short time playing in Germany, where I was extremely fit and physical. In a semi-final match, my ability and skill was unmatched. Towards the end of the game I created a dangerous move that finished by placing the ball between the legs of the defender. As I was running past him, he reached around and placed me in a head lock and started to punch me. My teammates came to my rescue as I was caught way out of position for any self defense! In the end I received the red card for being part of the fight and nothing more.
- It was a Super League Indoor match again with Karadjordje. After blatantly getting hacked from behind I fell on top of the ball. The referee call a hand ball on me. I don’t know if I can ever be so mad. Their restart started quickly and I chased down the ball and blatantly tackled the player hard. I did get a piece of the ball but yes, more so the player. The referee sprinted over to show me a straight red without a warning.
- In Germany, during my first start with a new club, I made and everyday tackle by blocking a shot without touching the opponent. The distance I covered made the tackle seem “motivated” as the referee acknowledged. That’s what tackles are all about, making a strong play, at the perfect timing and perfect positioning. If you get those wrong, than yes you can injure someone. It doesn’t mean a straight red but in this case under different perspectives, I received a straight red.
The cards used in soccer/football today mimic the traffic light signals!