For the New Referee–Prepping Your Gear for the Match

Having Everything Ready

There are a handful of things you will need in order to make your Center Referee experience go smoothly. You should have a coin for the coin toss–“winner” chooses which side of field to defend/attack, “loser” gets to Kick-Off to start game. (Some events/leagues have the Home Team choose which side to defend/attack and the Visiting Team gets to Kick-off to start the game as a time-saving protocol.)  Also, as the Center Referee, it is customary for you to bring and provide the flags for your AR’s. (Even if you are one of the AR’s for a game, you should bring your own flag(s) just in case the CR forgets.)

As found in the LOTG, Law 4: The Referee, there are 4 items considered “compulsory equipment” and these are:

  • Whistle–you can go cheap or expensive; it is wise to have a spare in case yours malfunctions/jams and also to differentiate yours from the referee on the adjacent field of play.
  • Watch–a simple digital is enough, though some referees like one with more bells and whistles. Keeping time in AYSO is pretty simple, because we use what’s called a “running clock.” This means you don’t stop the clock or add time to a game for reasons such as injuries and the quarter substitutions. (Adding time for injuries/substitutions/excessive delays–like you see during professional games–is not practiced in our Region 20 games) So, depending on the age division and the appropriate length for each half, you just need to start the clock (your watch) “when the ball is kicked and clearly moves.”  This is how you start the game and let the clock run until the appropriate completion/duration of that half. The main reason for this is that we need to keep on schedule; there are so many games to fit into a busy field schedule and we cannot afford to run over time. It is your responsibility as the Referee to help facilitate timely starts and finishing on time.
  • Cards–Yellow Cards and Red Cards are not needed for the most part until you get to the U14 divisions and above. In rare occasions cards may be used in U12, but the referee is encouraged to prevent the need for this type of disciplinary action by using his/her words to help “instruct” the players if their behavior/conduct becomes unacceptable. If necessary, asking the coach for some help to get their player(s) under control will come in handy.
  • Notebook–the Center Referee must keep track of the score, among other things. This could theoretically be done on a simple piece of scrap paper, but most referees use some kind of “booklet” or “referee wallet” that contains his/her sheet for notes/goals, etc., and cards. Another useful way to keep track of the match is with a re-usable “write-on card” made of plastic laminated card stock pre-printed with fields to make keeping track of score, player number, time of goal, team names/colors, score at half, final score, etc. super easy. You write on this card with an extra-fine permanent retractable “Sharpie” (not wipe-away) and after your match you can photograph the card (in case of discrepancies), and then wipe the ink off easily with an alcohol swab. (Just be careful not to forget to “retract” the ink tip or you will be looking for a new jersey.)

To return to the Region 20 Referee Corner