Be Prepared

  • Carry your uniform and equipment with you. In many cases there are no-shows, or mix-ups, or traffic, and by being prepared to step in and referee can, and has, made the the difference between the kids being able to play or not. So please keep your equipment with you.
  • We recommend you carry the following with you in addition to your regular gear (whistles, cards, flags, etc):
    • plastic bag (dogs....)
    • mini-cones to mark hazards
    • water
    • small pump (for under-inflated balls)
  • Hang around a bit after your game if there is a game following to be sure there's coverage there.
  • Check around - are there other games being played at your field that are uncovered that you can help out at? If you're scheduled to be an AR but your game has a CR already, and a game next to you has nobody reffing, please go and referee the other game.
  • Recommend you download the latest Laws of the Game and/or the Laws of the Game App and either download or link to the Guidelines for your division.

Field Inspection

Always inspect the field before a game. Mark hazards (exposed sprinklers, holes, deep puddles) with a cone - you can usually borrow one from a coach if you don't have. Clear the field of sharp or dangerous debris. Make sure the goals are anchored. Make sure dogs are leashed.

Team Inspection

Have the players line up, inspect for jewelry, non-prescription glasses, casts, etc. Remember: hard casts or splints, bobby-pins or hard clips, jewelry of any kind (except medical alert) that might injure another player or themselves are not allowed. Check shin guards - are the covered by the socks? Are they long enough? Then have players turn around and lift to show their cleats - there can be no metal cleats, no toe cleat.

Each team should provide you with game cards. Have an AR keep track of substitutions and scores with those cards. For age U10 and up, the CR should enter those game cards into the system after the game. Please remember to do this, otherwise we have to find you. And while we always do, it's never pretty....

During the game:

  • Use tally marks to records goals scored by each player. Use one column per half
  • Mark absent players with an "A"
  • Mark the keeper with a "G"
  • Mark eligible substitutes, ie. those not playing at the start of that quarter, with an "X", mark injured players who are unable to play at the start of that quarter with an "I". In other words, a player injured during a quarter is still marked as playing that quarter.
  • Write halftime score and who is winning
  • If a player receives a card, or an incident occurs with a spectator or coach, record the details on the reverse side.

After the game:

  • To enter a game card into the system, logon at missionctrlsoccer.com
  • Click on <yourName> Referee Page
  • Select the date of the game and, if needed, the division
  • Select "Game Card" to the right of the game you're reporting
  • Click "Turn on Edit" at the top
  • Note the "Playing Status" codes at the top.  These are the same as the codes you or your AR recorded on the cards as mentioned above
  • Transfer the information from the game card to the electronic versions on this page
  • Click "TurnOffEdit" and then "Update" and then "Done"
  • And you're done.

Stay on Time

If your game is starting late, and there are games following yours, shorten each half by an appropriate time to try to get back on schedule and inform the coaches you'll be doing this. If the games are running late then inspect the teams when they're present and while the other team is playing to gain back some time. Ask them to warmup on the sidelines so you can start sooner. If there is a game after yours, give them a short time for some scoring drills if there's a little time, otherwise get right into your game to try to get back on schedule.

Kinder League

There are no referees in the Kinder League; instead, the coaches facilitate Kinder games.

U7 & U8

Game Management

Please see the U7 & U8 Guidelines for general guidelines for play at this level. All Laws of the Game are enforced with the exception of offside. Also per the guidelines, no slide tackles are permitted at this age.

Please remember that the primary duty of referees, especially at this level, is safety and to provide instruction on the rules and their enforcement. Consider allowing "do-overs" for restarts, especially throw-ins. Call all fouls, but followup with an explanation of the foul, what not to do next time, and how to restart if there is some hesitation. If no whistle, and the players have stopped play for some reason, let them know to continue playing unless there is a whistle.

  • For U7: Each full team is inspected at one time by the referee before they are divided by the coach into two evenly skill-balanced mini-teams of 5 players each which stay intact for each of the two mini-games. 4 kids will play, one sub.
  • For U8: Each full team is inspected at one time by the referee before they are divided by the coach into two evenly skill-balanced mini-teams of 6 players each which stay intact for each of the two mini-games. 5 kids will play, one sub.
  • One referee should be the official timekeeper so both mini-games end at the same time.
  • The home team provides the game ball for both mini-games.
  • A coin toss is conducted at the beginning of the first mini-game to determine which team will take the first kick-off of the mini-game. The restart after the substitution break in the first mini-game is a kick-off by the team that did not kick-off the first period.
  • The visiting team calls the coin toss. The winner of the coin toss chooses the goal it will defend and the other team kicks off.
  • A second coin toss begins the second mini-game. The restart after the substitution break in the second mini-game is a kick-off by the team that did not kick off the first period.
  • U7 games do not use goal keepers. U8 games do use goal keepers.
  • Each mini-game is made up of two 10-minute periods. Substitutions are done at the 10-minute breaks and between the two mini-games. So the kids are playing a total of 40 minutes.
  • At the end of the first mini-game, the home team players remain on their respective fields and the visiting teams switch fields.
  • Referees stay on the same field for both mini-games.
  • A pass-back (when a team member kicks the ball to his/her own goal keeper and the keeper picks up the ball) is not treated as a foul in U8.
  • All kicks taken after a foul are direct kicks (a goal may be scored without another player touching the ball).
  • Goals may be scored on kickoffs.

Game Assignment

Games in U7and U8 are self-assigned with one referee per mini-game, i.e. you coordinate directly with other referees on your team and possibly with the coach, ask your coach what he/she prefers. One referee from every team should be prepared to referee one mini-game, the referee on the other team will do the other. It's generally a good idea to carry or wear your uniform to every game you attend just in case - if nothing else you'll look good.

Each U7 and U8 team should provide a referee. If there are more referees available, one referee can handle both short games or the job can be shared. If there are no uniformed referees for a game, then a coach will act as the referee.


U9 - U14

Game Management

Please see the Guidelines for general guidelines for play at this level. All Laws of the Game are enforced, including offside. Also per the Guidelines, no slide tackles in U9.

These games use three referees: one Center Referee (the Referee, or CR) who runs on the field and follows the play, and two Assistant Referees, who each run on one of the side lines for half of the length on diagonally opposite sides. This is the Diagonal System of Control.

Each team is required to provide a certified Regional Referee for each game to serve as a Referee; then hopefully there are enough certified referees to act as Assistant Referees. Since most parent referees will occasionally be unavailable, each team should train at least two referees, so they have a backup.

In U9 and U10 games, you can act as either the Referee (CR) or as an Assistant Referee (AR) for your own child's games. For U12 and U14 games you may act as the AR for your own child's games, but may be the CR only with prior permission of the Regional Referee Administrator or in the case where there is no-one else to referee a game and otherwise the game would have to be cancelled. Note that the CR for U12 should be an Intermediate Referee and for U14 an Advanced Referee unless no referees at that level are available.

Game Assignment

Games in U9 - U14 are self-assigned through our online system which means we expect you to go on to the system and sign up for those games you're able to referee. Each division also has a scheduler assigned to it. They will be contacting you periodically to fill in holes in the schedule. Please just do what you were able to do, they do it as quickly as you can to reduce the workload on them and so we can focus on getting every game refereed. If your scheduler contacts you and requests an email response please do that quickly. If your scheduler puts out a blanket request for more referees to sign up please just go in and sign up for those games you are able to do, there is no need to respond if you are unable to do a game. We know you care.

To schedule yourself for a game, please do the following:

  • Logon to your account on our website :

  • and you should see this a button to get to your Referee Page.
  • You'll then see something like the following:
    • The buttons:
      • Done: click when you're finished
      • Update: Save your selections (make sure you do this!)
      • Date (Upper Left): select which date you want to referee and then the age level you'd like to ref
      • In this example, for the first game you can select Center or AR, but note there is already another AR who's selected this game, so once there are two ARs that selection will not be available.  An N/A will show when that position is not available/already taken.
      • If you want to Unselect a previous signup, the button for YOU will be green and you can Unselect it. If you cancel an assignment less than 3 days before your assignment, please let your scheduler know.
      • Referee Page: It's all about where you're at!
  • To signup for a game to referee do the following:
    • Select the date you want to referee
    • Select the division(s) you want to referee on that date
    • Then select the games and positions you want

Those "N/A" buttons that are greyed out may be because you are not allowed to be a referee for your own child's games at some levels, or the position(s) are already taken or for some other reason.

As a general guideline please schedule yourself a couple of weeks out, anything past that and people tend to forget. But if you want to referee a particular game in the future, put yourself down!

Game Assignment: there will be times when a scheduler will assign you to a game. You'll receive an email about this. Please logon to your account as per the above, go to your Referee Page, and you'll see something like this:


On the third line, note that for the BU12 game the person needs to Accept or Reject that assignment. Please do this as soon as you can after receiving the assignment so that we can know if the game is covered and, if not, try to find someone else to cover it.

Remember to write down in your calendar the position, time and place you're refereeing!

If you show up to do a game, and as CR you have one or no ARs, recruit one or two spectators as "club linesmen", give them flags, show them how to call a ball in our out of touch/play, and how to signal which team takes the throw in.  Let them know that you, as CR, will handle the offside calls.  Also let them know that you may disagree with which team will take the throw-in, and that happens sometimes if you see something different.

If you get to the game and you have no CR, and you've signed up as an AR, then if there are two of you, either volunteer to CR or flip for it.  YOU CAN DO THIS!  Let the coaches know that you're new to this if you want, but seriously you can do this.  You'll know a foul when you see it, blow the whistle.  If you're not sure of the restart, ask your AR or a coach!  It's NOT A BIG DEAL!  You're learning, we all get this.  Even World Cup referees started where you are.  Seriously, the alternative is that the kids don't get to play, and you don't want that to happen, do you?  If you are CR for your own kid's game let the coaches know this is the case, and then be SO unbiased that your kid will wonder why you didn't help more.  Then you know you've done it right.

Any questions or issues, contact your scheduler or the referee administrator.

Game Cards

There are game cards you’ll get as the CR (Center Referee) for each game on the field.  You can also get them before your game from your Referee Page at missionctrlsoccer.com and by clicking on the orange arrows after signing up for games:

 They’ll look something like this when you click on them:

If there are missing player numbers on your game cards, ask the coach to fill those in before the game.  But remember, it’s the coach who should be bringing these to you in advance of the game.  If you have an AR, your AR1 (the one on the teams’ side of the field) should hold onto these to mark goalkeepers, who’s out, who’s absent and goals scored by player.

As CR, you should keep track with something like this which is available as a wallet card (or just write on paper):

Put in which team starts the game kicking in which direction (be consistent with that, e.g. I mark direction from where I face the teams side of the field OR you can say towards AR1 or AR2, that way you know the other team is kicking in the SAME direction for the second half.)

Mark the player number in the top row of the GOALS grid, and the time of the goal in the second row.

IF there are any yellow or red cards, mark those down as appropriate.  This card is for the CR’s use only, it does not need to be recorded, use it to reconcile the goals recorded by the CR on this with the team game cards kept by the AR.  If you’re the only ref, you do it all on the team game cards.

After the game, logon at missionctrlsoccer.org, go to your referee page, and then click on the game card button to the right of the game you're entering (see purple arrow above).  That will get you to this:

Clicking on TurnOnEdit you’ll see this:

Use the popup fields to transfer the information from the coaches game cards you collected at the end of the game to the system.  Add comments if you’d like.  Check your work, then click on TurnOfEdit and Update and you should see online what your physical cards look like.  

KEEP the physical game cards in a safe place for the entire season in case we need to go back and check something.

U16 and U19

Because of the higher level of play in these divisions and because games are played against teams from other regions, the Area Jim Madison League Referee Coordinator makes all referee assignments for these games and posts them on that league's board. The Madison League is run through WebYouthSoccer. If you are not currently listed on this system, and would like to be, and you are an Intermediate or higher referee, please contact the referee administrator.