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Welcome to the U.S. Soccer Referee Community

Congratulations on becoming a member of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). There are about 150,000 referees in the country, and that number grows every year. There are more than 6000 referees just in Massachusetts! When you step onto the field for your first match, you may think you are all alone, but you have a very good team behind you. The Massachusetts State Referee Committee (MSRC) is responsible for delivering the referee program in our state. This document contains useful information and some advice to help new referees navigate the system.

Understanding the Laws of the Game

  • Read and know the Laws of the Game and work to learn the correct interpretations.
  • Know the generally accepted mechanics approved by the USSF and found in the Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and 4th Officials. You should have received this booklet in your entry level course.
  • Read the Advice to Referees. More than just telling you what the Laws of the Game are, this book gives practical advice on how to referee.
  • Know the local Rules of Competition. You can usually get this from your assignor.
    • Length of halves
    • Size of ball
    • Number of players
    • Substitutions
    • Penalty kicks or no penalty kicks
    • Direct free kicks allowed or only indirect free kicks
    • Offside, no offside
    • What you do with the game report
    • Uniform requirements
  • As an inexperienced referee, you will not make all the right decisions. You will learn from experience and from working with more experienced referees.