For those interested in learning how to referee soccer, it is important to note that the ref is a sort of conductor for the match. The ensures fairness, safety and sportsmanship resulting in the best possible experience for all, winners and losers. Here are some things to consider before starting as referee:
- Know the rules. Before even thinking of being a referee, read and thoroughly understand the rules of the game.
- Equipment. Knowing how to referee soccer means having the proper equipment. A whistle, yellow and red card, player card with names and numbers of players, a pen, a watch that has a separate stop watch function, a coin, proper uniform and shoes appropriate for running.
- Pregame. Inspect the field well before kickoff. Knowing how to referee soccer means checking the field for readiness. Chalk lines must be laid, corner flags in position, nets secured to goal posts, drawn away from the goal line and spiked to the pitch.
- Pre-kickoff. Assemble both teams at the center line for pre-game inspection. Knowing how to referee soccer will mean inspecting players cleats, and person for any jewelry such as rings, necklaces and earrings—all of which are safety hazards.
- The toss. Disperse the two teams to their benches and ask the captain of each squad to remain. Show the captains the both sides of the coin before asking the home team captain to call heads or tails as you flip it into the air. The winner of the toss chooses either to kickoff or retain a specific side of the field.
- Start the game. Start your watch as the match begins. Games are 90 minutes long split into two 45 minute halves with a 15 minute interval.
- Position yourself properly. As you learn how to referee soccer, you will understand that being in the center of play allows the ref the best vantage point from which to properly conduct the game. As play shifts from side-to-side, referees will need to move across the field accordingly.
- Call fouls. If you want to learn how to referee soccer, it will be necessary to call fouls. The whistle will be used to stop the run of play for a number of reasons including offsides, professional fouls, unsportsmanlike fouls.
- Call the direction of play. In youth leagues, the ref may be alone and therefore required to judge who receives the ball when it goes out of bounds. This includes throw-ins, goal and corner kicks.
- Stop play for injuries. The referee decides when medical teams may be brought on the field to assist an injured player. Additionally, the ref will utilize the stopwatch to keep track of time.
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