Know the Laws: Success begins by being prepared
- Read and know the Laws of the Game and work to learn the correct interpretations.
- Know the generally accepted mechanics approved by the USSF and found in the Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and 4th Officials. You should have received this booklet in your entry levelcourse.
- Know the local Rules of Competition.
- Length of halves
- Size of ball
- Number of players
- Penalty kicks or no penalty kicks
- Direct free kicks allowed or only indirect free kicks
- Offside, no offside
- What you do with the game report
- Uniform requirements
- As an inexperienced referee, you will not make all the right decisions. You will learn from experience and from working with more experienced referees.
Dress and Act Professional:
- If you expect to command respect (one element of game control) on the field, then you must look and act like a professional.
- Approach the game in a way that shows you are looking forward to being there and being a part of the game.
- Dress for success – wear the proper USSF uniform with your referee jersey tucked in and your socks pulled up.
- Taking charge does not mean yelling and acting like a dictator (which is abuse of power).
- Greet each coach with a firm handshake, a smile and look each coach in the eyes.
- Issue firm, but simple instructions to the players so they know you are capable of managing the game..
- Start the game on time.
What You Need to Have
- An approved USSF referee uniform. The gold shirt is the primary jersey color for referees so it should be the one jersey you purchase right away. If you are only getting one jersey, then buy the short sleeved one. You can add the long sleeve jersey later. Once you have more game experience, you should add one of the alternate color jerseys. You do not need to buy all the different colored jerseys right away. However, if you advance as a referee, then you will need to add the alternate colors over the next few years.
- Solid black referee shorts or black shorts with the USSF Referee logo on the leg.
- Black socks with three white stripes at the top or the USSF referee logo on the top. Socks should always be pulled up to your knees and not bunched down around your ankles.
- Your current year USSF badge on the left shirt pocket of your jersey.
- You may need your 16 digit USSF identification number for tournaments. You will find this number on the ID card you receive in the mail after you have taken the course and registered. You will get a new card each year, but the number will always be the same. If you need your ID number before you receive your card, please contact your area referee administrator or your SRA. If they don’t have it, then you may contact U.S. Soccer.
- A referee bag that should contain the following:
- A watch with stopwatch functions – two watches are preferred, one for starting and stopping and one for keeping a running time in case you forget to start the first one.
- Red and yellow cards
- Tossing coins
- Whistles – always have an extra in your bag
- Flags for the Assistant Referees or Club Linesmen (if you are working alone)
- Cold weather gear when the time of year makes it necessary
- Street shoes and dry socks
- A large plastic trash bag (to put your ref bag inside in case of rain)
- Snacks (energy bars are great!) if you are going to be doing more than one game.
- Rubber bands or baggies to hold and separate player/coach cards for each team.
- Water – don’t forget to bring water.
What You Need to Do
- You should arrive at the field at least 30 minutes prior to the game.
- If you don’t drive, make sure you have made arrangements for someone to pick you up to take you home.
- Bring change for emergency telephone calls or a cell phone, as well as the telephone number of your assignor and club contact.