During a match, soccer officials are faced with many situations which demand their attention. Some are handled to most people’s satisfaction while others can lead to disrespect and lack of trust toward the officiating team. This change in atmosphere negatively impacts the players and spectators enjoyment of the game. With a little common sense and preventive officiating, prior to as well as during the match, some of these potentially negative situations can be resolved more quickly and professionally.
Here are some basic things to consider after accepting an assignment:
•Arrive at the game site in plenty of time to complete a pre-game conference with your partners and do a field and equipment inspection. This is your time to prepare and not a time to be seen socializing with teams, players or spectators.
•Be properly and cleanly dressed and groomed.
•Make sure you have all the necessary materials required to do the job. Whistles, watch, coin, flags, pen/pencil, paper, sunscreen, etc….
•When meeting with the players and coach of each team keep it short and businesslike. The other team and spectators are watching for signs of favoritism.
•Get the game started on time. The coin flip and final preparations should be done prior to the scheduled start time. During the coin flip is not the time to put on a clinic, lecture the captains and/or explain what you will or will not do.
•After the game, you should leave the vicinity of that field and prepare for your next assignment. If you plan to observe other matches, do so after you have removed your referee uniform.
With some common sense, good first impressions and preventive officiating practices officials will be more apt to earn the trust and respect of the players and spectators.
This in turn will provide a more enjoyable experience for the officiating team.
Good officials who use preventive techniques, and have common sense, have or will make mistakes but in general most people will be understanding, respectful and trusting of their performance.
USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus, USSF Referee Instructor, USSF Referee Assessor
USSF Referee Assignor, District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)