Remember to Get There Early!!!
There are several reasons why we suggest you get to your match early (minimum 30 minutes). I know some of you like to wait until the last minute for some things, but getting to your game with just enough time to spare shouldn’t be one of them. This is crucial for the Center Referee and equally important for the Assistant Referees. There is a lot to do ahead of the starting whistle and you want to make sure you are starting your match ON-TIME!!! Don’t get caught starting a match late because YOU weren’t prepared and didn’t take care of your responsibilities in a timely manner. We will cover the pre-match duties in more detail in another essay, but they include: checking the field, the goals, the ball(s), the players and their equipment.
Pre-Match Game Card Pointers
Besides your pre-match “chat” with the players/coaches and the player equipment check for safety, you also want to make sure the “Game Card” is filled in correctly. Though this is ultimately the Coach’s responsibility, you need to check that everything is accurate (especially in the tournament setting). Important note: coaches and team managers will invariably forget their game cards (and pens). Always carry a few blank game cards of your own in your referee bag—these can be found and printed out at the following link: two-sided Blank Game Cards
Filling out the Game Card:
- Hopefully the players are listed in numerical order (their jersey number).
- Count the number of names on the Game Card and make sure that matches the number of players you see standing in front of you.
- Confirm who is present, make a note of who is Absent (not coming today), and make a note of who is Late (will be coming, hopefully).
- Ask the Coach if he knows his/her lineup: (he/she probably won’t just yet, but if so…)
- Mark an “X” in the box for substitutes that are not playing in that quarter.
- Mark a “K” (or a “G”) in the box for the player who is goalkeeper for that quarter.
- Just leave the boxes blank if that person is “a Player” for that quarter.
- If a player is “Absent” for that day’s game you can draw a line through their name (and across the entire row of quarters). Or you can write “Absent” across that row.
- If a player is running “Late” you will want to mark this, somehow, so you know to check that person in when they get there and certainly before they are allowed onto the field of play (AR or CR needs to check their equipment). If they are running Late and miss the start of the game you should write an “L” (or an “A”) into the box for that quarter. (The reason for this is that AYSO has rules for how much time a player should play each game and depending on when a “late” player gets to the game there are guidelines as to the minimum number of quarters they should be played.)
During the Match: AR’s keep it clean
As a Division Commissioner (I’m not one), I imagine there is nothing like a nice clean game card when they are recording and entering scores into the Division Standings. Do this person a favor and keep your game cards clean and easy to decipher. This means clear markings of what we mentioned above for each of the four quarters of play while keeping track of who’s in and who’s out.
You also need to keep track of the score.
- There are two (very little) vertical columns next to each player’s name and these are for marking (with a tiny little ‘tick’) each goal that that person scores in the first half of play and during the second half of play. (Keep these marks little in case the kid scores a bunch!)
At the halftime break, you will want to convene at the Center Circle with the other Match Officials to confirm the score and record this score correctly on your respective cards. There will be a line for recording the “Score at the Half” (and another line for recording the “Final Score”).
- Enter the score for the team on “your” card first, opposing team second, then write “in favor of” for the appropriate team (either their name or their colors). For example if your (Red) team scored 2 goals that half, and the opponents (Blue) scored 4 goals, it should read like this:
- Halftime Score: “2-4” in favor of “Blue”
- Who scored? Double check with the CR who they had scoring the goals (“I had number 3 with one goal and number 7 with one.”
After the Match: confirm the winners and score!
Make sure all three of you agree on the final score, confirm who scored the goals in the second half, and double-check both game cards are accurate in terms of “Final Score” and “Winning Team.”
- As for the halftime score, record the score with “your” team’s score first, opposing team’s score second, then write the “Winners” name (or colors). For example, if your team came back to win, scoring 3 goals in the second half (!), the card should read like this:
- Final Score: “5-4” Winning Team “Red”
Any Misconduct (or Incident) Notes to the Region:
Another important reason for turning in clear, concise, Game Cards is to help inform the powers that be about inappropriate or irresponsible behavior on the part of Coaches and Sidelines and also to keep track of Sanctions levied to players/subs: Cautions (YC’s) or Sending Off (RC) players.
Any Send Off/Red Card needs to be noted (player and offence) on the back of the game card. Any ejection of a Coach or Spectator needs to be noted (brief description). Any other noteworthy incidents that merit being brought to the Region’s attention should also be noted on the back of the game card. The region may feel that it is necessary to discuss the matter with you so be prepared to explain the particulars of the incident in case they reach out to you later for clarification. You may want to make a note to yourself after the game, so you remember all the details, such as:
- Name/number of player(s) involved in RC/Send Off
- Detailed description of foul, time of game, score of game when it happened, situation/climate of game at that time, any relevant factors leading up to the incident or following the incident
- Name of Coach/Assistant Coach involved in “Irresponsible Behavior”
- Name of spectator involved (you may need to ask Coach or other spectators for this info)
- Detailed description of the incident