Advice to U8 Referees

Don’t worry about making mistakes

As long as it is Fun, Fair and Safe you’re doing a good job!

Don’t worry about the sideline if you call the wrong restart, if you don’t see a hand ball, etc.

If coaches have questions/comments they can talk to you at half time or at the end.

If you have questions, remember to ask them to another referee at the end of the game
or contact your RRA.

Be protective of the less agressive players whether verbally warning or actually calling fouls

You don’t want to call a foul each time there is a contact between players, but it’s better
to set the tone at the beginning of the game and show players what you allow or not. Also,
since timid players tend to become less involved once they feel agressed it helps keep the
game fair for all skill levels.

The gasp test is usually right for you to decide to call a foul.

There are 2 cases where there should be no hesitation:

– slide tackle (from any direction)

– dangerous play (for instance player on the ground while another one tries to kick the ball
next to her, or player doing a high kick next to a player’s chest or face)

For a more detailed description of what to call at U8 see
Fouls for the Ages

Keep on-going communication with your encouragements and “instructional information” to both teams

  • “good pass!”,
  • “nice way to recover the ball”,
  • “be careful not to kick the player when you steal the ball”,
  • “no pushing please”,
  • “pay attention to the corner kick now”,
  • etc.

You will have a better impact that the chaotic and loud instructions
coming from the sidelines!

Keep coaches (or any coaching parent!) in their area. Keep the noise level down too.

  • Coaches and spectactor are not allowed onto the field at all unless a kid gets hurt AND you
    call on them. During the duration of the game the field is entirely yours!
  • Coaches should not run up and down the sideline, to keep shouting more instructions
    or position players during corner kicks, etc. Their place is near the half-way line.
  • We know it’s tempting for adults to keep coaching these little kids at every second
    of the game. If you feel it’s out of control just stop the game and ask the sideline to
    let the kids play.
    Remind them that AYSO fields are a “Kid Zone” where parents, coaches and referees
    are there for the kids to have a good time in a safe environment, not to win at all cost
    or to hear non-interrupted screams for 40 minutes.

Do not allow substitutions outside the normal substitution times

(except in case of injury)

In fact there should be no need for substitution in U7/U8 games since all players
are supposed to play (it’s OK to play 4 v 5 or 5 v 6 is one team is short)

Don’t let the sideline demand a particular restart

(direction of a throw-in or corner-kick vs goal kick)

Either you saw who last touched the ball or you can actually ask the players themselves!

Do not allow defenders to park themselves in front of the goals

Region 43 doesn’t have goal keepers in U7/U8 and it’s unsportive behavior to let 1 player
guarding the goals (it’s also not fair for the others doing all the running)
Usually it’s easier to tell the player directly, but talk to the coach too if necessary.

Use your whistle at the right time

  • When you call all players on the field to start the half.
  • When you start or end the game.
  • When you call a foul.
  • When you need to stop the game for particular reason.

In particular you don’t need to blow the whistle when a goal is scored or when the ball
goes out of play.