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Baldwin Whitehall Soccer Association

General Guidelines for Referees

  • The referee's first concern is the safety of those playing. Referees will immediately stop any unsafe play or actions.
  • The winner of the coin toss or behind the back finger guess has the choice to kick-off or select which goal to defend.
  • For the five minutes before and after the match, and during the match, THE REFEREE is in charge on the field.
  • The coaches are there to assist the referee in controlling the game and their players.
  • Referees will ensure spectators are seated far enough off the field of play. If necessary, they will be asked to move back. Coaches and Board Members will assist referees with anyone misbehaving.
  • Referees will use a stop watch to keep time.
  • Referees will BLOW THE WHISTLE so it can be heard for a foul or a stop in play.
  • All players, coaches, and referees are required to arrive at their fields 15 minutes before their scheduled starting times to allow for the pre-game preparation. 
  • If needed, referees will explain call(s) to coaches and players. Recreational soccer is instructional as much as it is recreational. 
  • Board members, wearing purple and white shirts are always on hand during the day. Do not hesitate to find one if you need assistance.

Recreational (In-house) Game Management

Recreational (In-house) League Responsibilities for Managing the Game
Issue/Situation Referee Coach Note
Injured player Call the coach if needed. The coach is responsible for helping the player. Address injury and substitute if needed Sometimes the referee will let play continue if play is away from injured player and they do not notice. If possible teach the players to kneel or"go down" if hurt so game can stop.
Bleeding player Stop game and send the player to the coach Address bleeding. Do not send back in if blood on uniform or if still bleeding. If the referee denies reentry because of blood the coach should respect the decision. If there is a conflict address after the game with Board member.
Clarification of referee calls Address coaches question as best as possible when asked. Be calm and courteous if possible wait for a stoppage in play. Coaches should ask for clairification if needed and not challenge the call. If the referee explaination is not consistant with the coaches understanding then pease let the referee coordinator, assignor, or a board member know.
Unruly spectators Two Options:
1. Address yourself by asking spectator to behave.
2. Ask the coach to address the spectator.
Two Options:
1. Address the unruly spectator.
2. Stop the game and find a board member to assist.
If the spectator has not cooperated, just stop the game until they leave. Put the focus on them, that they are holding up everyone's enjoyment.
Unruly coaches Two Options:
1. Address the coach in a calm and considerate manner.
2. Stop the game and head to the concession stand.
If there are two coaches please try and address anyone who may have been unruly. When coaches become unruly it takes away from the enjoyment of the game for the players, referees, and spectators. When an issue cannot be resolved please request help from a board member.
Unruly players Three Options:
1. address the player directly by giving them feedback on their actions and to stop unruly play.
2. Ask coach for help in controlling player.
3. After the game contact the referee coordinator for help with situational management of the game.
Three Options:
1. Work with the referee to address player actions.
2. Remove the player from the game and provide feedback to player.
3. Remove player and talk with parents.
Referees and coaches are both responsible for managing the actions of players. However, as an adult, coaches should hold more responsibility for the actions of the players with respect to directly correcting the players actions.

We do not card players in rec league soccer.
Not enough players Ask the coaches to share players or wait to see if more players arrive. Work together to determine the best course of action:
Share players, play short, play with less kids on both sides.
The referee should work with the coaches to make the game fair. Playing is always easier then trying to make up a game.
Fouls Three Options:
1. Call a foul.
2. If careless you can ask the coach to sit player for a little bit.
3. If player is being dangerous ask the coach to take the player out of the game.
Three Options:
1. Support the call of the referee for a foul.
2. Address conduct if the referee asks you to take a player out.
3. If there is no call on a foul that is reckless or dangerous don't wait for the referee to address. Please be proactive in correcting players.
Not all fouls are created equal.
A careless foul example is one where a player trips another by mistake.
Reckless fouls are when a player runs out of control into another player knocking the other player down.
Dangerous (excessive force) fouls are ones where one play may be mad at another and pushes them down or hits the other player. This should not be tolerated and should be addressed immediately.
Starts and restarts 1. Be sure the starts of the game are done correctly.
2. Be sure starts after goals are done correctly.
3. Use your whistle to stop the game and reset if needed.
1. prepare your team for the restart if possible.
2. if they do not restart correctly and the referee is resetting the restart, please coach the players on their responsibilities.
This happens in younger age groups. Please work together to help the kids learn the right way to restart.
Player with a cast or splint Ask the coach if they had the player checked. Make sure the player has been to the concession stand and has been cleared to play by a board member. Referees are not trained to evaluate the safety of a cast or splint. Please be sure that the player has checked by a board member before playing.
Substitutions When there is a stop in play, if the coach wants to substitute, wait until all the players have been substituted to restart the game. 1. Have players ready wait for referee to be ready for subsitution.
2. If the players are old enough send them to the half and request a substitution.
3. Politely ask to substitute if needed and wait for referee to beckon the players on to the field.
The younger the kids are the harder it is to substitute in an orderly fashion. Try and teach the kids to go to the half to wait to be substituted if possible. This is clearly a coaching decision, but if the kids want to play travel they will need to learn to go to the half for substitutions.
Thunder or Lightning Stop game for thunder or lightening, NOT for rain. Stop game for thunder or lightening, NOT for rain. If you can hear thunder, then the potential exists for lightning in the area. To learn more visit
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