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No. 6 – Stories of the Year: Forefront of VAR

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 12/26/16, 7:00AM EST


League becomes first to incorporate video replay into live action

Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer

When it was announced on Aug. 12 that the USL, in collaboration with Major League Soccer and the International Football Association Board, would incorporate the use of a Video Assistant Referee for a handful of games at Red Bull Arena during the USL regular season, it gave the league a historic platform to push officiating in the game forward.

That night, the first official decision made through the VAR system occurred, when Orlando City B’s Conor Donovan was shown a red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity when he brought down Junior Flemmings of the New York Red Bulls II in the 34th minute of what would prove to be a decisive Red Bulls II home victory.

The testing was positive toward progressing the officiating elements of the game, and its use was soon followed in both Italy and Holland this fall as the use of a VAR to ensure decisions in four “game-changing” situations were being made correctly. Testing continued this month at FIFA’s Club World Championship in Japan, as the use of video technology continued to grow with the support of the sport’s worldwide governing body. 

As with everything, there had to be a first, and in this instance it was the USL sitting at the forefront of technology in soccer.

2016: Top Stories of the Year
No. 6: Forefront of VAR
No. 7: Fountain of Youth
No. 8: Music City Embrace
No. 9: Highlight-Reel Tallies
No. 10: International Flavor

Photo courtesy of Major League Soccer