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How To Deal With A Soccer Referee

Referees are an important part of youth soccer. They are the only officials that control the game from the moment they enter the field of play till the moment they get back to changing rooms.

Even after the last whistle, the referee has the power to enforce the laws of the game if they hear an offensive language, see a violent conduct or any other infringements.

Understanding their role will help both players and parents deal with them successfully.

There are few guidelines that you must understand and follow:

1. Understand the referee's function. A soccer game is controlled by one referee (on the field) and two referee's assistants, who work along the sidelines.

2. See them as allies. By definition, a referee's No. 1 task is to ensure the safety and protection of players, especially youth soccer players. The referee's second task is to uphold fairness.

3. Teach your child the role of the referee. This may entail learning the rules of the game.

4. Show respect to all officials. This goes for players, coaches and spectators.

5. Refrain from negative comments and pressure. Negative treatment of referees yields the same undesirable results as similar treatment of soccer players.

6. Direct any comments (including praise) or complaints first to your coach, then, in writing, to your soccer league.

Few Tips and Warnings:

- Wait until after the game to direct any comments to the referee. Comments in the heat of battle are not productive.
- Do not step on the field of play at any time. It is against regulations to walk onto the field at any point in the game to speak to officials.
- Say thank you. It is rare that a referee hears a kind word. Praise those you feel have done a good job.
- Know what to praise. An especially good referee uses opportunities to educate players, behaves in a calm manner, and uses humor to defuse tense situations.
- Consider taking a referee's course (cost less than $100). Adults and children as young as 12, can take this course. It gives them an understanding and empathy for the job, as well as a better understanding of laws of the game.
- Learn the Laws of the Game. These 17 FIFA laws will assist you in understanding the referee's calls.

After all, a youth soccer referee is there to watch over our kids while they having fun playing one of the most popular sports in the world... the soccer game!

Emilio C.