Address: P.O. Box 477 St. Charles, IL 60174
Phone (630) 377-1101
Fax (630) 377-2022

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Advice for Referees




Advice for Referees


Welcome to the Soccer Referee Community

Here are some helpful tips and advice for you as a new referee.  They have been gathered from experienced referees who all started their careers as referees just like you and learned many of these lessons the "hard way".  The advice found here will get you off to the best possible start.

Remember to have fun!

Making a Good First Impression

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 and instructed in your classes.
  • Know the Rules of Competition for the different age groups.

                  Length of halves
                  Size of ball
                  Number of players
                  Penalty kicks or no penalty kicks
                  Direct free kicks allowed or only indirect free kicks
                  Offiside, no offiside
                  What you do with the game report
                  Uniform requirements
                  Weather Policy

  • 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 fields, 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 beig a part of the game.
  • Dress for success - wear the supplied Tri-Cities uniform or a proper USSF uniform with your referee jersey tucked in and your socks pulled up.

Take Charge

  • 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 referee uniform.  Tri-Cities issued uniform or if you choose to buy a USSF Referee Jersey, the gold shirt is the primary USSF jersey color for referees so it would be the first jersey you purchase. 
  • Solid black referee shorts or black shorts.
  • Black socks.  Socks should always be pulled up to your knees and not bunched down around your ankles.
  • A referee bag that should contain the following:

                  A watch with stopwatch functions - two watches is 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 parents
                  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
                  Water - don't forget to bring water

What You Need to Do

  • You should arrive at the field at least 15 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 for the director of referees.

Inspect the Field

  • GOAL POSTS MUST BE SECURELY ANCHORED TO THE GROUND, you must inspect the goals whenever you take field, even if there is a game scheduled before yours.
  • Nets should be securely fastened to the goal posts and netting pulled back so as not to interfere with the goalkeeper.
  • Look for holes or depressions that could cause twisted or broken ankles and see if holes can be filled.  All rocks, twigs or debris on the field should be removed.
  • Corner flags are in place and are not dangerous to players (at least 5 feet high).
  • Entire field is properly lined.
  • Any issues with the field should be noted in an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Check in the Players

  • Home team players/coaches should be checked in first but it's not a requirement.  You should start with the team that appears to be most ready for inspection.
  • Make sure that all jewelry, earrings, watches, etc. are removed.  Medical ID must be taped to the player's chest or taped to the wrist with the info showing.  Earrings must be removed.  Covering them with tape does not make them legal.
  • All players must wear shin guards and socks must be pulled over shin guards.
  • Player's shirts are to be tucked in.
  • Check in players and coaches as per the requirements and the Rules of Competition for that league.





Contact Us


Address: P.O. Box 477 St. Charles, IL 60174

Phone: (630) 377-1101 | Fax: (630) 377-2022