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Referee Week at the Creek

Thursday 9/22/2022
Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee on Week 2. We had, again, full teams of referees for every match!
A couple of observations to note:
I see too many instances of coaches roaming the whole touchline. Maybe they don't know to keep to their technical area because they have not read the Coaches Manual or were not explicitly told by Region 9.
I saw the son of a coach walk around to the other touchline to provide coaching instruction! Now, this is all sorts of wrong to it. I do not think the son was a coach (seemed a bit young), and walking around to the other side is clearly not allowed.
There was an incident where a spectator was recording the match on his phone from behind the goal line, and cheering/instructing players.
So, I asked the Coach Administrator to tell the coaches the following:
1. Stay in their Technical Area, which is the width of the Center Circle (NOT THE BUILD-OUT LINE!) AND a yard off the touchline. (Page 36 of the Coaches Manual.)
2. Prevent coaching by spectators. If it cannot be handled, ask a Board Member to help for the next week. (Page 36 of the Coaches Manual.)
3. Keep spectators on their own touchline between the edges of the Penalty Areas. (Page 36 of the Coaches Manual.)
4. Keep spectators and coaches physically OFF the touchline, so they do not affect play AND so they do not block the view of the Assistant Referee. (Page 36 of the Coaches Manual.)
5. If spectators want to record the action or retrieve off-field balls from behind the goal, NO CHEERING.
6. When a Referee Staff member or Board member asks during a match to do any of these things, they should comply, and they should not respond that “The Referee hasn’t said anything so it must be OK.”
Again, The HOME Team is the North (closest to Janss) or West (closest to Freeway) Sides of the fields. NO, the first people to arrive don't get to choose. NO, the home team doesn't get to choose. This also applies to Extra Matches and 14U Area Matches.
Thank you again!
 Monday 9/12/2022
Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee this past weekend! All of the 10+ and Extra matches' Referee Spots were filled, thanks to several multi-gamers like Chuck H, Michael W, Paul J, John C, and David H! And I had to turn away a young lad who wanted to do more.
Already this coming week, we are better off today (Monday) than last Wednesday! But I'll get to that with the Wednesday e-mail. Maybe we will open up Stand-by spots this week.
So, a couple of reminders:
Please plan to show up to Sign In to your game at the ref tent 30 minutes ahead of the game time. AND, to show up at your field 15 minutes prior to game time, preferably together as a full team of referees. We have a lot of Pre-game activities that are critical for a well-refereed match.
We have some newer referees, and we might not go over this thoroughly enough in the Training class: please mark the players on the game cards who are out (NOT in!) with an "X", and who the keeper is playing with a "G", return to the touchline, get eye contact with the Referee, and await the restart. During the Substitution (NOT WATER!) break, please do not commiserate with the referee at this time, unless it is seriously important. Wait until halftime or the end of the match to discuss matters. The clock does not stop for these substitution breaks, so let's help finish them as quickly as possible, so the players can play.
The long version is here:

Brian S will also be passing along the poorly-pre-written game cards (first name only, out of numerical order, substitutions already filled (NO!), etc.) to the Coach Administrator. Coaches need to fill these out in advance. There's a whole six days until the next match.
Also, we use Anglosphere "tally marks" (wiki it!) for goals. There is a column for 1st half goals and a column for 2nd half goals. REFEREES: Please check the cards before you sign them for consistency of scores! Yes, someone (Brian) is looking at them and keeping track!
Regarding sunglasses: I know some of our Referees are adamantly opposed to the wearing of them by Assistants (and Centers). I get it. It's hard to make actual eye contact. So, if an Assistant (or Center) is wearing sunglasses, they will have to communicate harder (nods or shakes of heads, hand gestures, etc.) to get their opinions and feelings across. Even if it might mean dropping the sunglasses down and getting actual eye contact. At higher levels with more serious Referees, yeah, they will seriously frown down upon on sunglasses use. But I'm more in the "mildly frown" camp and probably a foot into the "meh" camp. It's AYSO, we are all volunteers, and I think we can live with sunglasses use. Save the seriously frowning for Area and Section Playoffs and higher-level assessments, please.
The HOME Team is the North (closest to Janss) or West (closest to Freeway) Sides of the fields. If you arrive early enough, you can make them switch. One main reason: The EMTs know this rule. When someone says "the home side" they will go to the North or West side. Also, it is easier for Board Members to see that there are Field Monitors by checking the North or West sides for them. Oh, and make sure there is a Field Monitor, and that you know where they are (and it's best that they do not roam).
Sorry for not getting the water cart out for you folks during halftime. First week coordinating issues.
Thank you again!


Wednesday 11/17/2021
Last week was another full week of Referees! We should be thankful that in our Region each match is expected to have a full contingent of three referees. I know of only one instance all year where we employed Club Linesmen. I hear sad stories of other Regions, and I wish they had what we have.
So, last week I started the pop quiz. As fun (or pedantic) as it was, I was notified that last week a referee AGAIN restarted with an indirect free kick for a deliberate handball by a goalkeeper outside the Penalty Area. So, wondering if this idea works... or should I simply be a snark and ask the question again??
Nah. New pop quiz, two questions.
a) Involving Offside: If a player kicks the ball "backward" (away from the goal line instead of toward it) can Offside ever be called?
b) A Non-Goalkeeper Player deliberately stops the ball from going in the goal with their hand. Is it a goal?
OK, this is the final weekend of the regular season. We have All-Star teams forming and some coaches you know might ask you to volunteer for tournaments. Consider helping out.

Next year, I plan to have a Center Referee session in Early October. We don't train referees to be centers in our pre-season sessions, because there is simply too much to learn in one shot.
We had a good amount of new referees asking to be Centers, and that's awesome (Elise, Denver, Greg and Corey come to mind). In order not to repeat ourselves (over and over…) with each new center, we can have one session to go over all the pre-game, game, and post-game duties. It makes getting two points for your team a whole lot easier.

Quick note: when you are a team referee watching your team's match, PLEASE:
1. Do not wear your uniform top. You could be a distraction to the center if they see double on the touchline. You also become the touchline's "Fact-Checker" for all questions about the referee team's decisions. "That's up to the opinion of the referee, not me," seems a decent response.
2. Do not loudly question the decisions from the touchline. Yes, you might know the proper restart, or know all there is about Offside, but in the same manner that you don't want people loudly questioning YOUR refereeing for which you are also volunteering your time, please stay positive, or quiet.
Answer to the pop quiz:
a) Well, it IS possible but extremely rare: a teammate, in an offside position when the ball was touched, would, after the ball is played, go back toward the ball (away from the goal) and play the ball or get involved in the play.
Recall the THREE requirements for Offside Position, which, recall again, IS NOT AN OFFENSE:
Ahead of the ball, AND ahead of the second-to-last opponent, AND ahead of the halfline/build-out line.
If there is no teammate in an offside position when the ball is touched, there can be no offside. Personally, I like to keep track of players in offside position by counting with the fingers of my non-flag hand. You'd be amazed at how often the count changes!
Also, there can be no offside offense on restarts after a ball goes off the pitch: throw-in, goal kick, and corner kick, BUT ONLY ON THE INITIAL RESTART. After the restart or second touch, yes, there can be offside.
b) If a non-goalkeeper player deliberately stops a ball from going into a goal with his hand, it is NOT considered a goal. A goal occurs only when the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, AND no other offense by the attacking team has occurred. Since that didn't happen, it is not a goal.
Now, certainly SOME offense has occurred. How do we proceed with this at the different levels of AYSO?
U7U8: restart is an indirect kick at the spot of the foul, or if in the goal area, on the closest boundary of the goal area off the goal line. And, explain nicely that the player shouldn't do that, with a smile to convey that it's not the end of the world.
U10+: Be sure it was deliberate and not a natural position, as stated in the Laws of The Game. If in the Penalty Area: Penalty Kick. If outside the Penalty Area: Direct Free Kick at the spot of the offense.
U10: Explain nicely that the player shouldn't do that, with a smile to convey that it's not the end of the world. No, we will not caution (yellow) or eject (red) that player in Core. Extra Program? If I were the referee, I would need to decide if that player knew what they were doing, knew it was wrong, and did it anyway.
U12: Explain nicely that the player shouldn't do that, with a smile to convey that it's not the end of the world. Caution or eject that player? If I were the referee, I would need to decide if that player knew what they were doing, knew it was wrong, and did it anyway.
U14: No more Mr Nice Guy here. Caution or eject (for DOGSO) that player, according to The Laws of The Game.
Thank you again for reading. It has been a great season, thanks to all of our volunteers!!

Thursday 11/11/2021
Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee this past weekend! I refereed only one match, so I consider that a success!
So, fun new game here, we have a pop quiz: For AYSO 10U+ matches, what is the restart when a goalkeeper deliberately handles the ball outside the penalty area? The answer should not surprise you!
Also, for all referees, both centers and AR's: please bring watches to time the halves.
And, politely correct anyone who thinks you should be timing to the quarterly substitution break. I've heard stories of coaches wondering "why the quarter is still going."
Somewhere around half of the half, stop play for substitutions. I prefer they be substitutions only, though that falls on coaches', referees', parents', and players' deaf ears. Exception in the IFAB laws of the game do allow for breaks due to weather, but the weather has been great the past few weeks.
During substitution breaks, A.R.s please mark your players who are out (with an "X") and the keeper who is in (with a "G"), return to the touchline, and await the restart. Please do not commiserate with the referee at this time. Wait until halftime or the end of the match to discuss matters. The clock does not stop for these substitution breaks, so let's help make them as quick as possible.
Answer to the pop quiz:
Outside one's own penalty area, the restart for ALL direct kick offenses is a direct kick.
Deliberately handling the ball outside one's own penalty area by all players is a direct kick offense.

Inside one's own penalty area: the restarts differ when it is the defense's keeper -- I count five such instances when a keeper may not handle the ball in the Penalty Area (can you?), which results in an indirect free kick -- versus the defense's non-keeper, which results in a penalty kick.
Please also note that the penalty area includes the lined boundary. Consult your A.R. in such cases, to make sure the call your team makes is as correct as it could be.
Thank you again!
Wednesday 11/03/2021

Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee this past weekend!

A couple of thoughts and reminders:

All-Star and Extra Program coaches would like a list of referees who want to volunteer for their teams. I plan to send them all of our Level 6 and higher referees. If you are a Level 6 or higher referee and DO NOT want to be contacted, please e-mail me.

Area League Playoffs and Area All-Star Playoffs are just around the corner, in December and January respectively. If you'd like to volunteer for these, and Steve Cooper doesn't have your name from prior years' tourneys, please e-mail me and I'll forward your info. He's always looking for experienced and high-quality referees. Who knows, maybe you'll be among the select few who earn a free weekend vacation in Bakersfield for the Section Championships!

Oh, a reminder: please stop play for the injured when you find it necessary. Your level of necessity might vary based on the level of play.

Personally, I'll stop play when there is a lull (goalkeeper possession, for example) or I'll delay the restart of play.

Of course, the exceptions to this are head injuries and suspected heart incidences. Please stop the match immediately if you believe there might be a head injury or a heart incident.

Thank you again!

Wednesday 10/20/2021
Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee this past weekend! I only refereed one game, so that's good.
A couple of thoughts and reminders:
1. Please arrive 30 minutes ahead of your match, and sign in at the Ref Tent. This is mainly for my sanity, and I like my sanity.

2. Please arrive 15 minutes ahead of your match at your Field. There are a lot of procedures required pre-game, most of which are for the safety of the players: inspecting players, fields, nets, getting a Field Monitor, pregame instructions to A.R.'s, etc. You know how bad the parking lot gets. Please plan ahead.

3. If there are delays in the previous match, please try to start your match on time. Teams are not allotted any amount of practice on the field prior to a match. If the previous match is running long, inspect your match's players while that match is still playing. Even the Coin Flip and getting the soccer balls from the home team can be done prior to the end of the previous match.

4. Home teams are to place themselves on the North or West side of the field, and the Away team on the opposite side.
   Home team does not get to choose.
   First team to arrive does not get to choose.
   Please remind coaches of this if they are not complying.
   This includes Section 1 Extra, Section 10 Extra, and 14U Area Matches! 

5. Please do not, as a Referee or Assistant Referee, retrieve the soccer balls for the players. Conserve your energy. (You can stop one with your foot or hand if you don't have to move too far.)
6. Remember that there is no race to be first with a call of a foul or out of bounds. Wait for the ball to go out of bounds before moving your arm. If necessary, make eye contact with your refereeing teammate and agree before making a call.
7. Do not let spectators coach or cheer behind the goals. It can be distracting to the players. This has happened a few times, and we don't want it to become a habit. If they are back there only taking pictures/video or retrieving balls, that's fine. Otherwise, coaches are in their technical areas (width of the Center Circle), and cheering spectators are between the "18's."

8. Referees of Adult League Matches:
We've heard some concerns about "obvious" fouls not being called and concerns of the safety of the players.
Please consider calling the game with an eye on safety and fairness.

Thanks again!


Thanks to all who signed up and showed up to referee this past weekend!
Just a few observations and notes from the past weekend:
1. Please wear your black shorts and black socks, and affix your patch to the velcro. Do note that your appearance is the first thing coaches and spectators see, and their first impression might stick with them.
2. Referees as spectators: please take off, or cover, your referee jersey. An extra yellow shirt on the touchline can be confusing for the center referee. AND, any questions from others that you answer regarding specific decisions by the Referee can be held against them (or you).
Sample acceptable responses to questions: "They are experienced, so they know better than I"; "They can only call what they see"; "I'm just here to watch my {fill in relation} playing soccer"; "I don't know." Etc.
3. I have had a few newer (and returning) referees wanting to try being the (Center) Referee for matches, but would like some pointers.
I have added an "Advice for Referees" page on the website:
This contains a lot of info, taken from a usyouthsoccer web page, but I believe it to be sage advice to anyone starting out. If any of our more experienced referees think there should be some editing, please let me know!
I am looking for more Level 4 Referees who would like to try the Center. Please read the advice above, and ask at the ref tent!
4. For any referees just getting back into refereeing after being idle for three or more years, there were a lot of changes to the Laws of The Game in 2019:
Coin Toss
Goal Kicks and other Kicks inside the Penalty Area
Dropped Balls
Ball Touching the Referee
Cards to Team Officials
Attackers Near a Wall
Penalty Kick: Keeper Position
Please review those Law Changes if you hadn't refereed for a few years. I have posted a summary of them under "Law Changes" on the web site:


Good news for me is that I got to referee three matches last Saturday!
Bad news for me is that I HAD to referee three matches last Saturday.

Referee Team: please make sure that the Game Cards are returned to the Referee Tent. We are still missing game cards. Check your bags and pockets! I know it happens, because I've done it myself! 
Also, if the game is an Extra match or a 14U match, these have to be forwarded on to Section or Area Administrators, respectively. Please let us know so we can keep them separated. (note to self: bring two paper clips...)

I see there are six Core Teams with 0 referee points. Anyone can see this, as it is available in the "Standings" page on the Region 9 website.

This week, we have only three Extra Matches and three 14U matches. Good news, as these matches, when there are a lot, increase the number of Experienced Referees needed.
It also means that, assuming equal numbers of home games, that other weekends will be heavy on Extra matches.
On 10/23 and 11/6, Region 9 will host EIGHT and SEVEN Extra Matches, respectively, and TWO and TWO 14U matches, respectively. 
Please, Experienced Referees, please, be available on those days! I know that the AYSO United teams have been informed of this, so thank you in advance United Refs (and thank you, Steve Brown)!

And, any newer referees at Level 4 who want to move up in Level ranking to be able to sign up as AR's for Extra Matches or 14U matches, please e-mail me, and I'll have a member of our mentoring team observe you. to provide feedback for you and for me.

Hey, all. Thanks to all who signed up online and worked their games! And thanks to those who walked up and volunteered, and to those who stepped to do one more match.

We had a good week for refereeing: all spots were filled, though we did not have enough sign-ups to open the stand-by spots.
Stand-by spots are opened up ONLY WHEN ALL Level 4 (10U and 12U AR) spots are filled.
We had another 20 new referees take the Regional (10U and up) Badge On-Field Course on Saturday. So I expect those spots to be filled and the Stand-By spots to be opened and filled. 

I've had some comments that I need to relay to you:

1. DO NOT START THE MATCH UNTIL THE FIELD MONITOR IS AT THE FIELD WITH A WALKIE-TALKIE IN HAND AND HAS SIGNED THE HOME TEAM CARD! I'm yelling in caps, because it is important, for the players' (and your own) safety.

2. 10U and above Center Referees: please make sure that the two game cards match in scores before signing them. Make sure that the Assistant Referees, who might be new at this, fill out the cards correctly. We had two cards from a game not match each other. AND, make sure the cards get back to the ref tent. We're missing one card.

3. U7 and U8 Referees: make sure the coaches fill out their cards correctly. They should match before you sign them and turn them in.

As usual, if anyone wants an observer to watch their first (or second) match ever, please ask us at the tent.
And, if anyone wants to step up to be The (center) Referee at a match or take on more challenging assignments at a higher Schedule Level, I welcome it (nothing at the Ref Tent makes me happier), but I want some expert eyes to observe and/or monitor before I can allow your referee level to be changed on our Self-Scheduling System.


This is Sean Donohoe, Referee Administrator, and this is a new feature regarding updates and other observations that we would like to share with our referees.

Thank you everyone for signing up online, signing in to your matches at the ref tent, and refereeing the matches!
And thank you everyone for a great year!

We would like to find ways to improve our referees. If you have some ideas, please let us hear them! For the most part, refereeing more matches is the best way to improve one's ability, as is reviewing your performance afterward with other referees. That is one feature of the Referee Tent, and I hope you utilize the resources (other referees) there.

I would also like to hear from you if your experiences as a referee -- training, signing up, the matches, the staff -- were less fun than you hoped for.

Email me at [email protected] with any of your thoughts on improving the referee experience at Region 9.



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