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Glossary of Terms

Note: terms and definitions in gray are deprecated terms left in for historical reference.

A-League: See USL First Division.

ARA: Area Referee Administrator - Assists in the day to day referee operations within your local league or area. This may include course planning, assessments, re-certification requirements and more. If you need something or need to know where to turn for an answer, chances are the ARA can help you. See the list of ARAs.

Advanced Clinic: Held for Regional Referees and those aspiring to that level, and deals with advanced techniques useful to referees working adult level matches. These are typically invitation only.

Adult: Fomerly known as Amateur (and before that, Senior) level, players over the age of 18 at the start of the registration year are considered Adult players. Games played with teams that include adult players are called Adult games. These competitions fall under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts State Soccer Association (MASS).

Affiliated: Activities which are under the jurisdiction of a recognized governing body are known as affiliated. There are two such bodies active in Massachusetts, and they are the MASS and Mass Youth Soccer. These organizations, also known as State Associations, are responsible for registering players and coaches, organizing games, and many other activities according to their charter.

Amateur: See Adult.

Assessment: The process of having an assessor present at your game. You may request an assessment, or one may be assigned by the State Director of Assessment (SDA). Note - assessments are often done at tournaments. If you plan to attend a tournament with assessors present, please notify the tournament's referee coordinator that you would like to be assessed.

An assessment provides feedback to the referee and to the MSRC indicating the competency of the official and recommending areas of performance for enhancement. The assessment serves the individual referee's development and together with the referee's own report provides input to the MSRC's instruction program to improve the performance of the referees across the state.

Assessor: Experienced referees who observe your game and provide both written and verbal feedback to you, so you may better your referee skills. Assessors also provide a report to the state to assist in evaluating your ability.

Assignment: When you are given a game to do, it is also referred to as an assignment. Assignments will include the time and place where a game is to be played. By accepting an assignment, you are agreeing to referee the match.

Assignor: The person who gives you an assignment (game). Work closely with your assignor to assure good communication. Click to find the assignor for your area.

Assistant Referee (AR): An official used in the Diagonal System of Control (DSC) to help the center referee. Assistant referee duties are spelled out in the Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees, and Fourth Officials (although this document is deprecated, it is still useful). Assistant referees are most often assigned to games where the players are age 16 years old or older.

Bay Stater: The official publication of Mass Youth Soccer. It has been the policy of Mass Youth Soccer to mail one copy of each edition to every household which has a registered player or adult participating in one of Mass Youth Soccer's programs. Referees should also receive the Bay Stater.

Certification: Also known as registration, this is required annually of every referee who wishes to officiate in affiliated matches. Certification requirements may vary depending on the grade of the referee.

D-3 Pro: See USL Second Division.

Entry Level Course: This is a course that you must take to become a referee. In this course you will learn the foundation of what you need to know to become a referee. See the list of available courses in the Course Schedule.

FIFA: The governing body of worldwide soccer. The name comes from a French acronym (Federacion Internationale de Football Association). Visit the FIFA web site.

Fitness Test: A fitness test is a requirement for higher level referees and those aspiring to those levels. Fitness tests are administered at least annually. View the schedule of fitness tests.

Grade: Referees are designated by grade. See the full explanation of grades.

Instructor: The people who have been certified to teach the Laws of the Game and conduct training classes for referees. Instructors must keep current with any changes in the Laws of the Game.

KidSafe: Mass Youth Soccer has initiated a KidSafe program which includes referees. The program assists in protecting players from adults with a history of certain crimes against children. MSRC works with Mass Youth Soccer to do the necessary CORI background check before being assigned to work in an affiliated match or volunteer in any other capacity.

Laws of the Game: These are the rules of soccer set forth by FIFA and the USSF. The Laws are updated annually and are sent to all affiliated referees. See the complete text of the Laws of the Game.

League: A collection of teams competing with a fixed schedule. For youth soccer in Massachusetts, the state is organized into approximately 25 recognized, competitive leagues. Most leagues are geographically organized, and players on competing teams must live within predetermined boundaries or towns.

Linesman: See Assistant Referee.

MLS: Major Soccer League - the professional first division league in the United States. The New England Revolution is the MLS team based in Massachusetts. One can read more about the MLS and the Revolution.

MASS: Massachusetts State Soccer Association, the recognized governing body for adult soccer in the state. Visit the MASS web site.

MSRC: Massachusetts State Referee Committee - The administrative body for Massachusetts' soccer referees. MSRC activities include organizing clinics, scheduling assessments and overseeing the expenditure of referee program money. The MSRC, under the direction of the SRA, is responsible for registering and grading referees according to USSF standards. See the list of members of the MSRC.

MTOC: Massachusetts Tournament of Champions - This tournament, hosted by Mass Youth Soccer for youth teams, takes place each year over the last weekend of June. Teams qualify for inclusion in the tournament by winning their local league championships.

Mass Youth Soccer: Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association - the recognized governing body for youth soccer in the state. Visit the Mass Youth Soccer web site.

Mentor Program: The mentor program attempts to pair inexperienced referees with a veteran referee. The mentor may act as a guide and counselor for the new referee. It's someone that you can talk with about all aspects of refereeing, and can guide you through the many situations that come up before, during and after a game.

ODP: Olympic Development Program - See full description. The Olympic Development Program fields teams in the U-13 through U-17 age groups. This program is the first step in a Regional and National team selection process and an avenue to the US Olympic and US Soccer National teams.

PDL: Also called Premier Development League, this is a semi-professional division of soccer, one step below the USL Second Division in the United Soccer Leagues system. For many young players, it is the first step in establishing a professional career in soccer. Massachusetts has one PDL team, the Cape Cod Crusaders, who won the National PDL Championship in 2002 and 2003.

Recertification Clinic: Also known as in-service training, this is the mandatory, annual clinic typically held in December, January and February. These are usually 3-4 meetings and serve as a refresher class as well as keeping up with any changes in the Laws of the Game. Recertification clinics are held all across the state. Check the latest information about Recertification.

Region: The geographic region of the country as divided up by US Soccer for the purpose of organizing tournaments and other activities. There are four regions in the country, Massachusetts and most other northeast states are part of Region 1. Visit the East Region web site.

Registration: Also known as certification, registration must be completed prior to refereeing in affiliated matches. Annual registration fees must be paid by each official and these vary depending on the grade of the official. New referees are registered immediately after the successful completion of an entry level course. In following years referees are mailed a registration form directly from the US Soccer Referee Office in Chicago.

State Assignor Coordinator (SAC): See State Director of Assignment.

State Director of Assignment (SAC): The person in charge of the Assignment program. The SAC coordinates activities between assignors as needed across the state. Contact the SAC. This role had formerly been known as State Assignor Coordinator, hence "SAC".

State Director of Assessment (SDA): The person in charge of the Assessment program. The SDA coordinates the matching of assessors with those referees needing or wanting and assessment. Contact the SDA.

State Adult Referee Administrator (SARA): The person who heads up the State Adult Referee Program. The SARA develops programs and oversees referees who officiate in adult matches. Contact the SARA.

State Director of Instruction (SDI): - The person in charge of instruction across the state. The SDI schedules instructors to teach at the various clinics across the state. Contact the SDI.

State Referee Administrator (SRA): The person responsible for the referee program in the state. The SRA develops programs and oversees referees who officiate in matches across the state. Contact the SRA.

State Youth Referee Administrator (SYRA): The person who heads up the State Youth Referee Program. The SYRA develops programs and oversees referees who officiate in youth matches. Contact the SYRA.

Small Sided: Games played on small fields with teams of fewer than seven players per team. Most outdoor games are played with eleven players on each team. Visit the rules for small sided play published by USYSA.

State Association: The governing bodies of soccer in the state. Massachusetts, like most states, have two state associations, one for youth and one for adult. You can visit the state association web site for either the Massachusetts State Soccer Association or the Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association.

State Cup: The recognized championship tournament for each state association. Each state association holds an annual competition to determine their state champion, and the winners are then eligible for Regional or National cup competitions.

Upgrade: The formal process of attaining a higher referee grade (see Grades) so as to become certified to officiate older age groups. Look for further information about the upgrade process.

Upgrade Clinic: Held for any referee who is requesting upgrade, this is a mandatory part of the process, and ensures that those referees assigned to older age groups are properly instructed on the techniques needed to control the match. Consult the calendar for a schedule of upgrade clinics, and be sure to contact your ARA before attending.

USSF: United States Soccer Federation - More properly known as US Soccer, the governing body for soccer in the United States. The acronym USSF is still used but is limited to designating the referee program. Visit the US Soccer web site.

US Soccer: United States Soccer - The national governing body for all of soccer in this country. US Soccer collects dues from every player, and runs a broad array of programs, including the national men's and women's teams that compete for the World Cup. Visit the US Soccer web site.

USASA: United States Adult Soccer Association - the national association which governs adult soccer in this country. Visit the USASA web site.

USYS: United States Youth Soccer - the national association which governs youth soccer in this country. Visit the USYS web site.

USL: United Soccer Leagues - the organization of all professional and semi-professional leagues below division 1 in the United States, including women's leagues and development leagues. The USL also hopes to launch a national youth league in 2000. Visit the USL web site.

USL First Division: Formerly A-League, classified as Division 2 professional soccer in the United States. USL First Division is one step below the MLS. Currently, there are no A-League franchises in Massachusetts. The Boston Bulldogs last played in the A-League in 2001.

USL Second Division: Formerly D-3 Pro, classified as Division 3 professional soccer by the U.S. Soccer Federation, is one step below the First Division in the United Soccer Leagues system. Massachusetts has one Second Division team, the Western Mass Pioneers who play in Ludlow. The Pioneers won the 1999 National Second Division Championships.

W-League: Now the highest level league for female players in the United States since the demise of the WUSA, and part of the United Soccer Leagues system. Massachusetts has one W-League team, the Boston Renegades who play in Framingham. The Renegades were the 2002 National Champions of the W-League.

World Cup: Quadrennial world championship of soccer played under the auspices of FIFA. Over 150 countries compete within their geographic region for almost two years for the privilege to attend the World Cup Finals.

WUSA: Women's United Soccer Association, the former professional first division league for women in the United States, the WUSA ceased operations at the end of the 2003 season. The Boston Breakers was the WUSA team based in Massachusetts. Visit the WUSA website.

Youth: Players under the age of 19 at the start of the registration year are considered Youth players. Games played with teams made up with youth players are called Youth games. These competitions fall under the jurisdiction of the Mass Youth Soccer.