Assessing the Legality of Tackles

"I got ball, ref!” has been a response to a whistle for a slide tackle foul since the early days of football. Often misunderstood, challenges on the ground...

FIFA Referee Mark Geiger

By his own proud admission, the man is a nerd. Conjure images of that wisp of a kid you remember from high school who...

Use Player Reactions to Decide Fairness

Gil Weber, USSF National Emeritus referee and contributing author to several USSF publications, described the referee’s task: “Refereeing is all about fairness. It’s balancing...

Handling Dissent

A few years ago, U.S. Soccer made available to all referees a very small clip titled, “Ask, Tell, Dismiss.” Michael Kennedy, former FIFA referee,...

Refereeing Gives Skills For Your Lifetime

Through the 27 years and 2,300 games of my officiating career, I've accumulated insights, notions and generalizations I didn’t have before which I can trace back...

Put It Between the Fingers

It has been said for years that the easiest, most efficient method for holding an assistant referee flag is to let it hang down...

Officiating is a Family Affair

Nestled between the San Diego Bay and the scenic splendor of the coastal mountain foothills in Southern California are the sprawling sun-kissed expanses of...

Tactical Restart Response

Restart management is difficult enough without considering the various ways that defenders could seek to play psychological tricks on both their opponents and the referee. Given that defenders are...

6 Tips To Better See The Point

Proper positioning is being where you have to be, to see what must be seen, to make the correct decision. That includes seeing the point. During dynamic...

Run Smarter, Not Harder 

Running comes with being a soccer referee. The need to keep up with play makes running essential, most notably since the referee’s angle of view can be critical...

Make Amends to Regain Game Control

If you have been an official for any length of time, you have had a game or more “get away from you.” Whether it...

Filter Player Comments

“C’mon, ref! Open your eyes! He’s fouling me!” We’ve all heard that and similar phrases from frustrated players. Dealing quickly and appropriately with their frustrations and complaints is essential if...

Referee Career Stages

Laws, foul recognition, acceptance, flow of the game, physical fitness, proper terminology, anticipating play and touchline management are all key components in an official’s...

Scrimmages: Opportunity or Danger?

By John Kiernan Frequently I am asked to officiate scrimmages. There are great opportunities for an official during those matches. However, there are also pitfalls...

Gripes Coming From Winning Team?

If you were officiating a soccer match and the score got to 6-0, you might expect a little dissent, right? But would you expect it from the winning...

Every Game Can Be Your Best Game

A young, motivated and talented official was assigned as the referee in a college D-I highly contested conference game. The two assistant referees were seasoned veterans who have officiated...

74 Percent: Scoring Chances In the Area

By Carl Schwartz As I’m getting older, I’m learning more and more. I really wish I had known this 30 years ago. If you see...

Big Match Support

Your assigner calls — you got the championship match. Your mentor calls — you just got picked for State Cup. The State Referee Administrator...

Show the Red and Yellow Cards when the Players Deserve it

I have always maintained that you had to be smart to play and referee soccer. A player shook this belief a bit by jumping...

Dismissing a Coach, Assistant or Trainer

The Laws of the Game allow for the dismissal of a team official (e.g., coach, assistant coach or athletic trainer) if that person’s behavior...

Refereeing Goalkeepers’ Self-Protection Strategies

Referees must ensure goalkeepers are protected when challenged while making a save. It is not uncommon for a goalkeeper to have both feet off the ground with arms outstretched...

“Active Inaction” – Say That Again?

The title isn’t a contradiction of terms, at least not if understood correctly. No matter what kind of game you are officiating, there are...

Penalize Careless, Reckless, Excessive Tackling

There seems to have grown a notion that the Laws of the Game forgives almost anything if you just get the ball. Not surprisingly, there...

5 Minutes With Margaret Domka

Margaret Domka is on the FIFA International Panel of Referees. She is one of a select few officials to ever go onto the FIFA list...

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