Website Manager

American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Redlands AYSO, Region 50


Advice to Referees and Youth Referees

Tips to help referees!

#1 How to approach and talk with coaches

  • It is usually best to address coaches after there have been some repeated verbal disagreements with calls being made on the field. In the referee's opinion, stop the match and speak with the coach it will not be tolerated.

  • Always remain calm and respectful regardless of the coach's temperament. We want to set an example and avoid meeting a high energy coach with high energy ourselves. Referees never know how spectators or players may react to their coach's actions in these situations, so it's best if we as referees speak calmly but be firm.

What is something I can say to coaches to help manage the game better?

It's a good idea to practice or have a general pre-determined warning. Here are some ideas:

If you're the Referee
“Coach, you've had your say, now that's enough. Please no more.”

If you're the Assistant Referee
“Coach, it's the referee's decision, there's no need to comment further.”

Now depending on the coach and the temperament of the game both these can be said with different tones. A polite warning, firm or a no-tolerance tone. It's up to the referee to decide which to use.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Games are exciting. Coaches, spectators and players will get excited. When there is a foul it can be very natural for people to react unfavorably when it's their team. Don't take it personal, it's part of the game. Once they keep going on about it and won't let it go,     that might be the time you want to address it to control the match.

  • The coach is a great tool to use for a referee. When you need help with keeping the parents in control, that's where coaches can help us. We don't want to caution or send-off a coach unless they've really crossed a line.

#2 Pre-game Discussion (highly recommended)

Pre-game Suggestion and Details - Click Here

Referees don't need to discuss every single detail of the game and how to officiate it, but there are some topics that referees should discuss when they have not officiated together.

Offside – When the ball is near the assistant referee's touchline, should the assistant referee watch for a foul or focus on the offside?

Unsure – When the ball goes out of play but the assistant referee and referee are unsure of the restart, what is the plan?

Spectators/Coaches – How as a referee crew of three will you manage coaches and spectators that might be disruptive?

Referee misses the assistant referee's signal – What should the assistant referee do? Generally, the assistant referee will hold their flag signal until the ball goes out of play or the defending team gains clear control of the ball with a promising attack.

Pre-game Suggestion and Details - Click Here

#3 You're a Referee Team

Three referees control a match. It's a common misconception to most because they might believe the referee has the whistle, they are the only one to control the match. While the center referee does have the final decision, the assistant referee's job is to communicate with the center referee.

Example #1: Fouls that the assistant referee sees but the center referee did not.

Example #2: When your assistant referee is being harassed by a coach, the center referee stops the game to remind the coach to leave the assistant referee alone.

Example #3: When players are in front of the assistant referee and holding on to each other to gain an advantage for the ball, the assistant referee can remind these players to “play the ball”. This helps the referee maintain better foul recognition.

What's something you know now you wish you knew when you started refereeing?

“It took me nearly 5 years as a referee to learn, I never really knew what it meant to referee as a team. You think there is a center and 2 assistant referees, they each have their job to do. But the reality is everything you do is done together, you need to act as a team. Communication through eye contact and signals are so important. Once you realize that you're not alone out there in the middle and know your referee partners have your back, you feel really confident and it becomes really fun to referee.”

National Referee, Jon (Age 30)

“One thing I wish someone had told me is that being a referee is so addicting! Seriously, I really enjoy being a referee. The weekly challenge of officiating games is awesome. No two games are alike. Each game presents its own unique challenges and experiences. Nobody is perfect, so don't try to be. Referees are human and can make mistakes, but you should learn from those mistakes and strive to get better. Becoming a better referee is a life long journey filled with enjoyment which is had by hard work and dedication.”

Advanced Referee, Louie (Age 45)

“Parents can be FRUSTRATING! It may be obvious but you don’t really feel it until you’re the one it’s being directed at. Learning to handle unruly coaches/parents is extremely beneficial and can make the experience of the match much more fun.”

Advanced C Referee, Aaron (Age 38)

“When I started a lot of the upper badged referees always talked about working with someone they were comfortable with. Although it’s good to work with other referees it nice to have a core group of referees you work with more than not. Now understanding what the upper badged referees were talking about I wish I would have tried to acquire a team sooner. My team pushes and challenges each other to be better, we can read and understand each other,  we enjoy traveling and going to classes to better our referee knowledge. It makes it so much more fun.“

National C Referee, Brandon (Age 38)

“Something I wish I knew was to be very vocal on the field. Your whistle is an amazing communicator but does not replace your other important tool: your voice. In most cases, all a player wants is to be heard. So by talking with a player and understanding him/her can mitigate and/or prevent problems in a match.”

Advanced Referee, Gabriel (Age 18)

“Knowing a distance to place myself for better view angles and conserving energy.”

Intermediate C Referee, Eric

“Being a center ref is not easy. I thought just knowing the rules is enough. Too many things to watch and you do as much running as the players.”

Intermediate, Roland (Age 66)

What advice would you offer to new referees?

“Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Every referee makes errors regardless of their experience. We as referees can only call what we see and sometimes we can't catch it all. It takes time to develop, so don't be hard on yourself and find a mentor and/or some friends to help give each other advice and improve together.

You're not alone out there. Whether you're the center or assistant referee, you're a crew of 3. Like a soccer team, you're the referee team. If spectators are harassing you as the AR, raise your flag and talk to your center referee. If you're the center referee and you notice the coach keeps talking to your AR, stop the game and tell the coach to leave your AR alone. Again you're a team, communicate and watch out for one another.”

National Referee, Jon (Age 30)

“Be positive and don’t be hard on yourself. Never give up! We all make mistakes and learn from them.” 

Advanced Referee, Louie (Age 45)

“1) Ask questions! I haven’t been refereeing for very long but input I’ve gotten from multiple experienced referees has been very helpful.

2) Pursue the next certification level. These courses provide different perspectives and also bring up questions you might not have thought of otherwise.”

Advanced C Referee, Aaron (Age 38)

“To not be afraid to go out and center games. Everyone will make mistakes the trick is to ask questions and learn from those mistakes.” 

National C Referee, Brandon (Age 38)

“1. Introduce yourself and your assistant referees to players and coaches. I always shake the coach's hand and give them a smile when introducing myself.

2. Establish your presence during a game. If you see something you don't like, speak up and let the players know you're near play and are watching. Something as simple as "Watch your hands" or "Great play, just careful with your elbows next time" are amazing phrases to use. Just remember to keep it short and simple.

3. Watch more experienced referees. Watch how they handle their games, how they use their tools, and how they interact with players. If you had a problem during your first couple of games, chances are that the older referees had them too. So don't be afraid to ask questions because we love answering them!”

Advanced Referee, Gabriel (Age 18)

“Be confident in the calls being made. Don't feel the need to make instant calls when unsure. Never let them see you sweat.”

Intermediate C Referee, Eric

“Try not to pay attention to spectator because you cannot make everybody happy.

Be bold with your decision if you think you are right and review that decision later. Learn as much as you can and pursue higher certification.”

Intermediate, Roland (Age 66)

National Partners

Contact Us

Redlands AYSO

P.O. BOX 8487 
Redlands, California 92375

Email Us: [email protected]
Copyright © 2024 Region 50  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login