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Fundamental Soccer Blog

Prepare to Have FUN

To be prepared, especially after some time since they were contacted for their next assignment, most officials will review rules and make sure their uniforms and supplies are packed and ready to go.

Officials may want to think about a few other things if it has been some time since they were contacted.

Make your decision as soon as possible and let your assignor know by email, text, or whatever method is used that you have accepted or declined the offer.  Officials who do not respond on a timely basis may find their assignments transferred to another official and at the bottom of the priority list for future assignments. It is also good business practice to inform the assignor ahead of time about any potential conflicts of interest and game dates you are not available to work.

Once you accept an assignment, document all the information: date, field location, age group, game time, partners, etc.  Officials have faced embarrassing situations and loss of income for forgetting to show up, going to the wrong locations, or showing up at the wrong time.

Be prepared to keep accurate and detailed reports of your games, especially when cards are issued, substantial injuries occur, or a game is not played to a conclusion due to things like weather or mass confrontations.  Questions, including potential lawsuits, may surface days or weeks later.  Having all the information ready can significantly benefit those involved, including the official.

Good recordkeeping will also help resolve questions concerning any payment discrepancies.

Look at every game as a new contest and a chance for new opportunities.  Every game should start with a blank slate.  No preconceived notions, anger, or prejudices should officials carry extra baggage from game to game.  Before accepting assignments, officials should strive to clear the mind of any decision-influencing thoughts they may have involving either team to provide fair and equitable decisions in every contest.

Any decision that may give the impression of retaliation, favoritism, or conflict of interest will spread a dark cloud over the contest and undermine the authority of an official.

For most people who officiate, this is an avocation—an activity outside their main occupation (work or school)–.  With few exceptions, neither officials nor players are professionals.

Officials often receive a stipend for their service, but, like players, the majority look at exercise, camaraderie, and FUN.  Players and officials lose interest in participating when those things are no longer present.  Expecting officials to have FUN while constantly being questioned or yelled at by coaches, fans and players may be a tall order to fill.  Still, every official owes it to themselves to have FUN while officiating. 

Whether one considers refereeing a vocation or avocation, some degree of FUN must be involved to keep the enthusiasm going.  There is little or no enjoyment in refereeing without some degree of FUN involved.

Pat Ferre

US YOUTH SOCCER (2021 Volunteer of the Year) USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus USSF Referee Instructor USSF Referee Assessor USSF Referee Assignor District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)