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  Referee Training  

Thursday, December 31
Referee Websites

There are a number of outstanding referee websites that provide instruction and video clips of actual game situations that can be helpful to referees:

Ask a Soccer Referee

This is an excellent website where referees from around the country can submit questions to USSF and get official answers (not just some "expert" referee's opinion -- "expert" has been defined as a has-been drip under pressure!).  It's interesting to read the question submitted and then to try to answer it yourself before reading the official answer.  It's a challenge!  Sometimes those answering the questions rag on some of the "inventive referees" who come up with all sorts of weird law interpretations.  The link to the site is

Law Book and Guide to Signals

You can download a .pdf file of the laws from the following website:

You can also download a .pdf file of the "Guide to Proceedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials" at the same website as above.  This contains all the approved signals and procedures for referees (sometimes referred to as "mechanics", that is, how to signal, where to be positioned, etc.).

In-Depth Explanations of the Laws

If you need help understanding a particular law, USSF publishes "Advice to Referees", which provides great explanations of all facets of each law.  It is organized by each law, so it's easy to find answers about offside issues by going to section 11 of Advice to Referees, which corresponds to the offside law, which is Law number 11 in the Law Book.  The link to download the .pdf file is

Tuesday, September 30
CYSL Local Rules of Competition for Referees

Every league (CYSL, Butte United, High School, College, Adult, etc.) has their own modifications to FIFA laws to suit the needs of their league.  These local rules are referred to as "Local Rules of Competition".  These changes account for players age (ball size, field size, match duration, etc.), skill level (being able to slide tackle "safely", etc.), and other considerations.

Referees who accept assignments in any league are expected to know and enforce that league's local rules of competition. 

The attached handout is a summary of CYSL Local Rules of Competition.  I recommend you print a copy (if you don't have the one you received in the referee class) and put it with your referee gear that you bring to the fields.  That way you can reference it quickly if you need to.

When I refereed, I used to make a quick review of it before my first game every Saturday.  Some referees have even been known to carry a folded copy in their pocket to have available during the game!  -- Wes

Handout: Local Rules of Competition for Referees

Wednesday, October 1
DFK (Major) and IFK (Minor) Fouls

Knowing the difference between the Direct Free Kick (DFK or "major") and Indirect Free Kick (IFK or "minor") fouls is critical for all referees because the type of foul dictates what the restart is.  Obviously, only direct free kicks are awarded only for DFK or "major" fouls, everything else is an indirect free kick (IFK).  The only exception is a penalty kick is awarded if there is a DFK or "major" foul committed by a defender in his or her penalty area.

There are 10 DFK fouls:

1.  Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent

2. Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent

3. Jumping at an opponent

4. Charging (running into) an opponent unfairly (only shoulder to shoulder contact is fair)

5. Striking an opponent

6. Pushing an opponent

7. Making contact with an opponent before touching the ball when tackling (tackling in soccer is an attempt to steal the ball away from someone)

8. Holding an opponent

9. Spitting at an opponent

10. Handling the ball with your arm or hand

While it may be hard to memorize these, here's an easy way to recognize a DFK foul -- with the exception of handling, all the other major fouls are something one player does phyically to an opponent (kicks, trips, jumps, charges, stikes, pushes, gets them before the ball on a tackle, holds or spits at).

So all you need to do is memorize that handling is the only major foul not involving contact with an opponent.  So when you see a handling violation or a foul involving illegal bodily contact with an opponent, it's going to be a DFK foul (or a penalty kick if done by a defender in his or her penalty area).

Everything else is restarted with an IFK -- offside, the goalie picking the ball up after it has been deliberately kicked to him by a teammate, second touches on free kicks and throw-ins, dangerous plays (dangerous plays means the action was dangerous, but no contact was made.  For example a high kick near the face of an opponent is penalized with an IFK because the player didn't actually make contact with the other player's face -- if he would have, it would be called as the major foul of kicking), etc.




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