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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Caledonia Ayso #675


Why become a referee?

Referees are the guardians of the game. Their job is to keep the game SAFE, FUN, and FAIR. This is DEFINITELY the best seat in the house to see all the action. Games cannot be played without a Referee and we provide complete training and a uniform.

Entry level certification training takes 4 - 5 hours to complete and the commitment is for only 1 game per weekend. The minimum age is only 10 years old and we can provide community service hours for volunteering. Please consider becoming a Referee so you can help make a difference in our children's lives. Please contact our Referee Administrator Alex Miller

Safe, Fair & Fun

Referees play a vital role in keeping the games Safe, Fair and Fun - which is what AYSO is all about:

Safe: The Referee's #1 job is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players. While there is risk in all sports, the referee is responsible for minimizing such risks from field conditions, equipment, spectators, and the players.

Fair: The Referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game Safe, Fair & Fun. He interferes with the game as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses. Referees only make calls for offenses they are sure occurred.

Fun: We want our kids to continue to play, and they will keep playing as long as it is fun. Referees learn that fun soccer varies from age group to age group of players.


The 2016-2017 Laws of the Game are organized as follows:

  • Law 1 – The Field of Play
  • Law 2 – The Ball
  • Law 3 – The Players
  • Law 4 – The Players' Equipment
  • Law 5 – The Referee
  • Law 6 – The Other Match Officials
  • Law 7 – The Duration of the Match
  • Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play
  • Law 9 – The Ball In and Out of Play
  • Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match
  • Law 11 – Offside
  • Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct
  • Law 13 – Free Kicks
  • Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
  • Law 15 – The Throw-in
  • Law 16 – The Goal Kick
  • Law 17 – The Corner Kick


Referee FAQ's

Q. How do I become an AYSO Referee?
A. You must first complete an AYSO volunteer application form on our website and be approved as an AYSO volunteer. Once you are approved as a volunteer, the training to become an AYSO referee is provided to you free of charge.

  • Complete the On-Line Safe Haven course (also available at  Safe Haven is a one-time requirement for all volunteers.
  • Complete the On-Line Referee Training course available at
  • Complete the On-Line CDC Concussion Training  course available at CDC Concussion is a one-time requirement for all volunteers.

Note: All volunteers must register annually, even if they no longer have kids in AYSO.

Q. Is prior soccer experience required to officiate?
A. No, but some familiarity with soccer is certainly a plus. Coaches, parents, players and other volunteers have all proved to be excellent referees even if they have not played this sport. (Youth referees are welcome!)

Q. How are referees assigned to games?
A. Once you are a certified AYSO referee, our Referee Administrator Adam Jarchow will contact send you the link to sign up for the games at the level for which you are certified. Signing up is important!!  AYSO referees are volunteers and are not paid. 

Q. Where do I get referee gear and equipment?
A. For official shirts, shorts, socks, patches, flags and other equipment, contact Adam Jarchow at [email protected]

Q. I’m already a Regional Referee; when should I try to become an Intermediate Referee?
A. Referees should be able to easily upgrade to the Intermediate level by their second or third year. For more information contact Adam Jarchow Regional Referee Administrator at [email protected]

Still have a question? Contact our Regional Referee Administrator, Adam Jarchow at [email protected]




Among AYSO volunteers, referees have special responsibilities that are part of their duties as game officials, leaders, and role models. The following standards should serve as guidelines for the proper behavior toward which to strive on and off the field.
  • Take responsibility for the safety of the players during a match and ensuring that play remains safe, fair, and fun.
  • Know the Laws of the Game, understand the spirit of the game, and apply the Laws fairly and impartially.
  • Show respect for the players, coaches, spectators, and the game itself.
  • Behave honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of the position.
  • Remember that every game offers the opportunity to make a POSITIVE difference in the life of a player, coach, parent, or other referee.
  • Manage players, coaches and spectators effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness.
  • Handle disputes with coaches, players and spectators calmly and respectfully.
  • Stay calm when confronted with emotional reactions from players, coaches and spectators.
  • Support good sportsmanship with a positive word to players, coaches and spectators of both teams when deserved.
  • Encourage and enforce the AYSO Philosophies of "Everyone Plays," "Positive Coaching" and "Good Sportsmanship."
  • Remember that the game is for the players. Player safety and fair play come first.
  • Never tolerate nor allow abusive behavior or language.
  • Strive to achieve maximum teamwork with fellow officials.
  • Honor accepted game assignments. In an emergency, find a replacement.
  • Assist fellow officials to better themselves and their work.
  • Respect other referees' decisions and never publicly criticize another official.
  • Wear the full and proper uniform and keep it in good condition. Remember that when in uniform, one represents all referees and should act accordingly.
  • Maintain good physical conditioning so as to keep up with game action.



1. Consistent with the U.S. Soccer mandates on heading the ball, heading is banned for all division players U-11 (U-12 and below for programs without single age divisions) and below in both practices and games.
Heading for players in U-14 is limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers, per player. There is no restriction on heading in matches.
2. An indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player age 10 or younger, deliberately touches the ball with his/her head during a game.
a. The indirect free kick is to be taken from the place where the player touched the ball with his/her head.
b. An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team’s goal area, must be taken  on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the player touched the ball with  his/her head.
3. Neither cautions nor send offs shall be issued for persistent infringement or denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity related to the heading infraction.



AYSO web site for all AYSO volunteers and includes all AYSO National Rules and Regulations as well as referee publications, and general information.

This is a fun website to use to refresh your Law memory or ask questions about refereeing. Note: This is not an official AYSO or USSF website but the information presented here is usually very useful.

This is the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) website. FIFA is the international governing body of soccer. On the bottom of the page, there are quick links for the Laws of the Game and Refereeing. The former includes Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, and the latter has Referee Teaching Material. A quick link to the current Laws of the Game is: Laws of the Game (IFAB).  AYSO follows the official Laws of the Games, with permitted adjustments for youth play. 

This video posted on YouTube provides a very clear explanation of the Offside rule. * If you have problems with the link, paste the following into your browser window:

 This website contains hundreds and hundreds of videos, including situations broken down by the U.S. Soccer’s Referee Department. . 


Referee Game Bag, i.e. what to bring

  1. Invest in a dedicated bag. This will really make life a lot easier as you have less of a chance of dashing out the door with a missing item.
  2. Ref uniform. Consider washing your own ref uniform as soon as you get home so you know where all the various pieces are.
  3. Always bring the following to every game. Our friend and fellow ref, Paul Lindauer, has a handy mnemonic device: WW, CC, PPP:
    WW:   Whistle, Watch
    CC:   Coin, Cards
    PPP:   Pencil, Paper, Patch. Don’t forget, YOU are the official scorekeeper, so make sure you write down who scored the goals and the final score.
    Also, bring flags for the Assistants.
  4. Some other items to consider are sun block, ponytail ties, extra pens, an extra whistle, band aids, extra coins, gloves, red scarf to contain bleeding, the small blue and white laminated cards with the basic rules/signals.
  5. Wear black shoes. These shoes need not be soccer specific.
  6. Cold weather protection. It is perfectly ok to wear shirts, vests, etc. underneath your uniform. You can wear gloves as well, though you should be able to write with these gloves.
  7. Keep a large plastic garbage bag in your dedicated bag. If it rains you can put the ref bag inside the garbage bag to keep your stuff dry.
  8. Keep your car keys in exactly the same place in your bag. Nothing spoils a day like losing your keys.
  9. Bring your own toilet paper in case of emergency.
  10. If you have forgotten something crucial, contact the Referee Administrator or seek out another ref.


Pre-Game Checklist

The following pre-game checklist is a general collection of things to think about before the start of any game. The more experienced the referee, the more automatic it is to organize the many things to take care of before your starting signal. Each of these items can be further broken down in future topics of discussion.


  • check the markings
  • check that the corner flags are in place and located at outside corners
  • check for dangerous conditions or items


  • check that goals are properly assembled and the cross-bars are not sagging
  • check that goals are centered in goal areas
  • check that the front of posts align with front (field side) of goal line
  • check that goals are adequately anchored
  • check that netting is adequately attached and free of openings


  • write down names of all assistants, shake hands
  • if certified AR's, provide specific instructions (such as team inspections)
  • if club linesmen, advise of their limited duties


  • write down names, shake hands
  • review game cards if applicable
  • provide any commentary necessary
  • get game ball (check for proper inflation)


  • check for complete uniforms
  • check for jewelry and non-compliant apparel
  • check for casts, splints, braces, etc.


  • when ready to start, proceed to center circle with AR's, game ball
  • introduce captains
  • administer coin flip (write down result)
  • silently count players, determine all are ready
  • signal start of play, start your watch

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Caledonia Ayso

Po Box 202 
Caledonia, Michigan 49316

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