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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Permission to Leave the Field

One might think that leaving the field is such a simple, straightforward and obvious act as to not need anything further said about it....

Six Key Factors Assessors Focus On

There are many myths and legends about assessors and their roles and responsibilities. Some officials do not want to be assessed because they do not understand how an...

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...

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...

Use Warnings in the Right Situations

Warnings done correctly can be very useful, but if they are used in the wrong situation, they can hurt more than they help game...

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...

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...
soccer throw-ins

Not All Throw-Ins Are Created Equally

T he throw-in, a common restart at all levels of soccer, presents a number of challenges to the officiating team — some of which must...

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...

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...

Very First Laws To Know

As a rookie official, what are the very first laws to know? How can you translate that knowledge into judgment and action on the...

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...

Discretion Available For Dangerous Play

T he prohibition against engaging in play that is dangerous or likely to cause injury to oneself or an opponent has been a part of...

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...

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...

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