Welcome to the SJ Soccer Leagues North Area Assignor Site

A web site to share information of interest with referees in my referee pool. Unless specifically quoted from authoritative sources, information represents the opinion of the author. For authoritative answers to questions, please visit the “Ask a Question” feature on NJREFS.com – the official site of the New Jersey State Referee Committee.


My Assignment Area

I have created this map as a reminder of which clubs I assign. The blue clubs are both SJSL (boys) and SJGSL (girls) members. The red clubs are SJGSL (girls) members. I assign the boys on Sundays as well as the Girls U15-U19 on Sundays. Occasionally, one of these teams will have a make-up on a Saturday and I will assign it. In general, however, if you receive an Arbiter assignment for a team that normally plays on Saturday, it will NOT be from me.

On Sundays, the Burlington County riverfront from Burlington Township south as well as Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Marlton and the areas south and west are assigned by John Barna. If you are not sure from whom the assignment came, contact both of us.

Besides these SJSL and SJGSL league games, I also assign regional EDP, APL, MAPS and JAGS matches for a number of these same clubs. These can be any day of the week. I use the same referee pool for the SJ and the regional leagues, so to be assigned regularly to EDP, MAPS, etc. by me you must be a SJSL-approved referee.

I also assign EDP tournaments on weekends that are not regular SJ league weekends. These include the especially busy weekends of Columbus Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day. Finally, I assign sanctioned futsal matches for the Rancocas Valley Futsal League in the Mount Holly area…

SJSL North Assigning Area

SJSL North Assigning Area

Club Lines Person

The Club Line Briefing

The Club Line Briefing http://www.watchandwhistle.org

Up until this year, all SJ small-sided matches were staffed with single referees. Occasionally, full-sided matches would also have a single referee. Even with the use of full crews on many small-sided matches this year, we may still find ourself working a match as the only appointed certified official. In addition, occasionally, a crew member does not show or is injured and there may only be two appointed referees present. In these situations, we use club lines people. A club lines person is a volunteer from the spectators present who assists the referee with ball off the field decisions. Read the rest of this entry

How to Get Added to the SJ Saturday and Sunday Referee Pools

For those of you who are Grade 8 referees (or better) and would like to be added to the pool of referees assigned to Saturday SJ Girls and Sunday SJ Boys and Girls Soccer League matches, please send me an email (assignor.paolini@gmail.com). Note that there is a different referee pool and assignor account for Saturday and for Sunday. Please indicate which day(s) you want to work.

If you are a Grade 9 referee and are interested in working travel assignments, please understand the following:

  • Grade 9 referees are limited to working as assistant referees only, and for ages U14 and younger only.
  • The SJSL (boys) limits use of Grade 9 referees to U12 and under.
  • You are expected to manage your own communications with the assignor (not your parent or guardian).
  • You are expected to manage your own schedule in Arbiter.
  • You are expected to work assignments for days and times you show available.
  • You are expected to have transportation to locations within thirty minutes of your home.
  • You are expected to have yellow short and long sleeve jerseys and at least one alternate color jersey (any sleeve length).
  • You are expected to have all other necessary equipment and uniform components and dress professionally for all assignments.

If you are interested in these opportunities, please email me (assignor.paolini@gmail.com). Thank you…

Competition Rules, Law 18, and “Gotcha” Refereeing

Yellow Card

Sometimes referees need to be cautioned

We have an obligation to know and apply the Laws of the Game (LOTG). It is helpful to know that the historical role of the referee was to be the independent judge to whom the teams would “refer” any disagreement. The expectation in the middle of the nineteenth century was that gentlemen (organized sports being the province of the privileged) should be able to play a game with minimal involvement of the judge.

Over time, this role began to be referred to (no pun intended) as the “referee” (well, maybe a little intended). And over time, unfortunately, the need for the referee became greater. That the referee is still the person that gets involved (or interferes, as a coach might put it) only as necessary is embedded in the Laws of the Game in concepts such as “trifling offenses”, “advantage”, and “if in the opinion of the referee”. This last term, commonly designated IITOOTR, is to give the referee the leeway to NOT get involved when it is appropriate, or get MORE involved when it is necessary.

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Getting Ready for Spring Soccer

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Are you ready for some Futbol?

You should also be checking through your gear and uniforms to make sure that you are ready to hit the ground running. I have an expectation that a new referee with the Fall season under his or her belt will have one or more alternate jerseys and a long-sleeve yellow. As a self-employed professional you need to invest in your business if you want to grow your business. Here is a good starting list for your second season of work:

  • The Basics (beyond or enhancing your starter kit):
    • Two pairs of referee shorts (no white-trimmed basketball shorts)
    • Long-sleeve yellow jersey
    • Short-sleeve black jersey (can be worn with LS black sweat shirt as alternate cold weather jersey)
    • Third short-sleeve jersey (green is a popular choice)
    • Two pairs of 3-stripe and two pairs of 2-stripe socks
    • Extra/different whistle (not a pea whistle)
    • Second (back-up) watch with timer
    • Second (back-up) pair of black shoes (different sole surface, e.g. turf versus flat, cleats versus turf, etc.)
    • Black duffel/gym bag
  • Cold-Weather Gear:
    • Black long-sleeve sweat shirt/cold shirt
    • Plain black windbreaker/jacket
    • Black knit hat and gloves

SPRING TOURNAMENTS: There are several in-season tournaments in the Spring. I do not assign any that occur on what would otherwise be a league weekend. If you are looking for tournaments, a good place to start is the NJ Youth Soccer Tournament Directory at njyouthsoccer.com. Read the rest of this entry

Referee Crew Teamwork

El Hadji Diouf ..complains to the Assistant Re...

El Hadji Diouf complains to the Assistant Referee! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the November meeting of the SRANJ, National Referee Coach Barry Towbin provided a presentation on referee crew teamwork. He led a discussion of the referees in the room around several topics critical to successful referee teamwork. Barry challenged referees in the room with questions and used their answers as well as their comments and questions to augment his presentation.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Futsal is a soccer-like sport played indoors. It originated in South America. Unlike the US sport of indoor soccer, it is not played with walls (as in ice hockey). Instead, it is played with touch and goal lines within which the ball must be kept as in soccer. A special weighted ball is used, and the size of the pitch is about the size of a large basketball court. Futsal is a sport in its own right, with clubs that play only futsal, and many levels of competition (including a World Cup).

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No Pass – No Play – No Exceptions


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all USSF sanctioned competitions that we work, we must make sure that the participants have a valid pass for the competition. In addition to being used to validate that the rosters and players match and are in order, the pass may be required as the “entry ticket” to enter the pitch in competitions with limited substitutions. In competitions with unlimited substitutions, the player still must have a valid pass at check-in (and for late arrivals, before they enter the pitch).

With one exception, the passes for any one match must be the same for both teams and for all participants on each team. Some teams have passes from more than one registration authority (such as NJYS and US Club). In some cases the same two teams will play each other under one set of passes, and then play again another time under the other. We cannot allow mixed passes, even for coaches. Both teams and all participants play under one set or the other – never mixed.

The exception: EDP will permit an official friendly match in which one team has US Club passes and the other USYSA passes. This friendly MUST be approved by the EDP league administrator (you should have an email to that effect). All of the players on one team must have the same passes. If these conditions do not exist, do not officiate the match. Collect your fee, write up your report, and submit to your assignor and competition authority.

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Referee Positioning

This diagram represents a Diagonal system of c...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a tendency to overreact when given advice or feedback about my weaker areas. When I got the typical feedback early in my career that my whistle needed to be stronger, I worked on it to the point that feedback now is the opposite. Last year I was advised that my whistle could be quieter in some situations – players three fields away were stopping play!

I have heard the comments we all do at association meetings and recertifications about avoiding the “referee retention circle” (center circle). In the past I have also received direct guidance, advice, and/or feedback about my positioning. As a result, over the years, I have worked to get wider and go deeper on my diagonals. I have also tried to follow the general advice to always be able to see play and one assistant referee. In attempting to meet these objectives, I had adopted some bad habits (from good intentions) that result in suboptimal positions for the current play, reactive rather than proactive movement for the next phase of play (consequently having to work too hard), and extreme positions (wide or deep) that exacerbated the first two problems.

Last year, Mark Geiger (at the time NJSDI) gave a USSF presentation at a SRANJ meeting about some new concepts on referee position that are evolving. These concepts address the issues I mention above. I am attempting to absorb the material and work it into my toolbox. This weekend, I will be using a tournament and feedback from colleagues to fine-tune the approach. Like any attempt to break habits, I expect it to be rough around the edges at best, if not downright clumsy and awkward. I will report back on my experience. In the meantime, here is the positioning presentation:

Positioning – Revised


Managing Injuries

Description unavailable

(Photo credit: goatling)

State Referee Emeritus (and NJSDI) Derek Von Langen delivered a USSF presentation on managing injuries at the May meeting of the SRANJ. He discussed the Laws of the Game that reference injury management, and then presented the USSF position on injury management in youth and amateur soccer. He stated that the Laws of the Game state that a referee shall stop play only for serious or severe injury. What constitutes serious or severe is up to the referee’s judgment on that day in that match. It will depend on the age and expectations of the players.

With youth players, and even with most amateur players, safety is the overriding concern. For U-10 any time a player is on the ground from a possible injury, we shall treat it as serious and STOP THE MATCH. As the players get older, we might wait a moment to see if they get up, but if there is any doubt, we STOP THE MATCH. For any obvious severe or serious injury, we MUST STOP THE MATCH.

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