Referee Guidelines


  1. Referees should arrive at the designated field at least fifteen minutes before the scheduled game time.  Upon arrival, the referee should select a referee jersey which will not conflict with either the home team's or the visiting team's colors.  The referee should then inspect the field and the goals for safe conditions for play.
  2. As soon as a team representative with an official roster is present, the referee should check in those members of that team who are present.  Check-in requires a Mass Soccer picture ID with a printed name, to be compared with the player's face and her printed name on the roster.  Rosters must be certified by the league or division registrar.  Handwritten player names on the roster are unacceptable -- such players may not play.  Referees should be aware that players' last names change frequently in this league -- but first names seldom do.  Players without a picture ID may not play.
  3. When the scheduled game time arrives, if both teams have the minimum number of players (7), the game should kick off.  If one or both teams are short of the minimum, the referee should wait for the grace period to elapse (15 minutes) before declaring the game unplayable. In case of known excessive traffic delays, the grace period may be extended at the referee's discretion, and the game playing time may be shortened accordingly if necessary, so long as a reasonable-length game can be played.
  4. If the game start is delayed by field or field equipment repairs, or by the previous game on the same field running late beyond the scheduled start time, the referee may shorten the game playing times (by the same amount in each half) to assure that the game ends within the time allowed by the field permit.
  5. If the referee declares the game unplayable due to safety concerns which cannot be corrected in time to play a reasonable length game, the referee should collect the rosters and depart. Referees then enter score and remarks in US Officials in a timely fashion. 
  6. If the referee declares that no official game can be played due to unsatisfactory field markings which cannot be corrected in time to play a reasonable length game, the referee should offer to officiate a friendly game, and should report it as such in the game report, along with a description of the markings (if any) in the Remarks section of the supplemental page.
  7.  Players who arrive when the game is in progress need to be checked in by the referee at the half.
  8. A game which is terminated due to darkness, bad weather or deteriorating field conditions should be reported as such in the US Officials referee's game report.  The league's bylaws state that the game result will be accepted as played, if the first half has been completed.  But don't try to squeeze in the last five minutes of the first half in a lightning storm!
  9. Substitution rules (quoting EMWSL rule 3.2):
    3.2  Substitution shall be unlimited in number (unless otherwise indicated below), subject to consent of the referee, only at the following times:
    1. Prior to the taking of a throw-in in your favor, or in the other team's favor if they substitute.
    2. Prior to the taking of a goal-kick.
    3. After the referee stops play for an injury.  In this case, substitution is one-for-one for the injured player(s).
    4. After a goal is scored.
    5. At half-time.
  10. Player uniforms and equipment (quoting EMWSL rule 3.10):
    3.10 Teams must wear uniform shirts with numbers.  The home team is responsible for wearing alternative color shirts if the visiting team's color matches the home team's color.  In that event, the alternate shirts do not need to be numbered.  Players wearing knee braces shall cover them so that no metal surfaces are exposed.
  11. Match control.  Referees should control the match using the tools available to them, including the whistle, their voices, cards, and volunteer linesmen, as appropriate.  Team managers or coaches should act responsibly, and should assist the referee in match control.
  12. Game reports.  Referees must report games scores and notes on the USOfficials website in a timely fashion.

Even if the referee chooses not to be paid for the game, the game report and rosters still need to be submitted.  Timely submission will be no later than 48 hours after the game is completed.

In case of serious injury to any participant, it is important that the referee report and the supplement describe the incident during which the injury occurred, and identify the name of the injured person. The report will be required to file a claim for backup medical insurance.