1. New Referees

Here is some general information: US Youth Soccer Guide for New Referees

Here are some general guidelines for SJ matches:

  • Arrive 30 minutes before first game start time and verify both goals are anchored – mandatory!
  • Check field for safe conditions, proper markings, corner flags.
  • Select your appropriate jersey color before team check-ins
  • 20 minutes before start, ask home team to hand out its passes. (Check home team first as visitors often have stragglers.)
  • Get game card and CORRECT game fees from home team, return panel or copy with your name on it.
  • Call each player up in order of the roster and collect pass, check equipment and uniform number.
  • No pass – no play – no exceptions.
  • Cross off any players not expected today.
  • Advise coach that any late-arriving players will need to have equipment checked before entering.
  • Make sure you have a pass for each adult that will be in bench area.
  • Provide a BRIEF set of instructions to players as to what to expect, what color lines (if necessary), remind coaches about substitution procedure.
  • Retain passes and game card.
  • Repeat process for visiting team.
  • Remember to RETURN PASSES at end of match. The REFEREE is ultimately responsible for passes being returned.
  • We play using USSF rules, not NFHS – some differences:
    • Stoppage solely for injury requires a drop ball restart
    • A throw-in that does not enter the field of play otherwise properly taken is retaken by the original team (at higher levels be aware of potential time-wasting tactics late in match by team leading – add time).
    • We use club linesmen when there are no assistant referees but they only assist with ball in and out of play
    • We add stoppage time as appropriate for injuries and other forms of lost time. While we may not always add a formal number minutes at the end of a half, if the ball is bouncing around in the area of the goal, it is safe to say that there will be a few seconds of added time for losses that must have occurred until we see what happens next.
  • While some small-sided competitions do not use penalty kicks for DFK fouls in the box, the SJ leagues do. A DFK foul in the box against the attackers results in a penalty kick.
  • The changes we make to the Laws of the Game for small-sided games include:
    • Unlimited substitutions, but only on goal kick (either team), after a goal (either team), after an injury (either team), and on throw-ins for team in possession (but if defending team has players up, they can also sub). These rules also apply to full-sided SJ matches.
    • Field size and size of areas within field. The center circle diameter determines the free kick distance for that particular match, but it is NEVER ten yards for a small-sided match!
    • Size 4 ball
    • 9 v 9 for U11/12 or 7 v 7 for U8 – U10
    • 30 minute halves – time added as necessary
    • no extra time/KFTM – matches may end in ties (same for full-sided regular season).
    • Coaches may be carded (as in HS)
    • Players can be carded if absolutely necessary/required, but for 7 v 7 there are many ways to manage “misconduct” with 8 and 9 year-olds.

Please complete your game cards with all necessary details and return them to the league on the next business day. Both cards need to have time, date, score, field conditions, and behavior ratings. You only need to list injuries and misconduct (cards) on the card of the team to which the player belongs. Make sure to list any injury that required a player to leave the field, along with the time and whether the player returned (if known).

Example: 42nd minute, Barcelona #10 L. Messi left leg injury – later returned.

For misconduct, make sure you describe the event using the words of the seven cautions or seven send-offs, along with a brief description for cautions and a detailed description for send-offs. It is important that the league understand from reading your report why a player or coach was sent-off or dismissed.

(Y)  #26 J. Terry (Chelsea Pass #) – DT: in the 33rd minute, publicly dissented over foul call
(Y)  #26 J. Terry (Chelsea Pass #) – UB: in the 67th minute a reckless tackle
(R)  #26 J. Terry (Chelsea Pass #) – 2C: in the 67th minute, sent off for second caution


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