Referees are part of youth soccer – an important part. Understanding their role will help both players and parents deal with them successfully. Here are some easy steps to understanding the role our Referees have in making our Association successful.

Step One: Understand the Referees’ function.

A soccer game is controlled by one Referee (on the field) and two Referee’s assistants, who work along the sidelines.

Step Two: See them as allies.

By definition, a Referee’s No. 1 task is to ensure the safety and protection of players. The Referee’s second task is to uphold fairness.

Step Three: Teach your child the role of the Referee.

This may entail learning the rules of the game.

Step Four: Show respect to all officials.

This goes for players, coaches and spectators.

Step Five: Refrain from negative comments and pressure.

Negative treatment of Referees yields the same undesirable results as similar treatment of youth players.

Step Six: Direct any comments (including praise) or complaints first to your coach, then, in writing, to your soccer league.

Tips & Warnings:

  • Wait until after the game to direct any comments to the Referee.
  • Comments in the heat of battle are not productive. It is against regulations to walk onto the field at any point in the game to speak to officials.
  • Say thank you! It is rare that a Referee hears a kind word. Praise those if you feel they have done a good job.
  • Know what to praise. An especially good Referee uses opportunities to educate players, behaves in a calm manner, and uses humor to defuse tense situations.
  • Consider taking a Referee’s course. Adults, and children as young as 12, can take this course. It gives them an understanding and empathy for the job, as well as a better understanding of the game.

The laws of the game have been modified as of March 2019.  You can view the changes here.