Starting Your Game

I have attended many games since I became the Director of Referee Development for WPA referees. I have witnessed many positive things during my observations. From foul recognition, when and how to administer misconduct and dealing with unruly coaches and parents.

I have also witnessed some things for improvement. Most of these are basic observations but I’d thought I would start with the most simple—what do you do before you blow the whistle to start the game.

First, arrive early. The teams are on time and the referees should be also. You should then meet your fellow referees and place your equipment in the same area. Determine what color you will be wearing and then dress accordingly.

After you have decided what colors and have equipped yourself with the basic referee essentials (red/yellow cards, whistles(s), flags, coin, writing utensil and paper and watch), you need to introduce yourself to the coaches.

Be polite and cordial and be sure you understand any rules for that particular age group. Collect the player passes if applicable.

Next you need to check the players. What are we looking for? The basic equipment for players: shirt, short, shoes and shin guards. No jewelry unless it is medical in nature. Check the GK and be sure that his/her jersey does not conflict with the players on the field. If there is a conflict and no alternate jersey, the GK may wear a pinney.

WE ARE NOT THERE TO PREACH TO THE PLAYERS. It is up to the coach to instruct his/her players as he/she deems fit. Our job is to enforce the Laws of the Game after the equipment check.

After this has been done, you are ready to start the game on time.