Being a Referee is Fun
Being a referee can seem intimidating at times, especially for a first-time ref, but
refereeing is fun! In AYSO, referees are both teachers and mentors. We spoke to
a few referees to get their take on refereeing.
As a veteran National Coach, I am always looking for opportunities to
expand my knowledge and experience with the program. Being a referee
for the first time this past season enhanced my appreciation of the game.
As a coach, your circle of influence is limited to your players and parents,
but as a referee, you had the opportunity to make sure the game remains
fun, fair and safe for both teams as well as for the coaches, parents and
- Joe Dito (Region 63, Burlingame, Calif.)
Soccer rules are very logical and, being a researcher myself, it is easy
for me to understand them. Naively, I also thought that it would be
easy to apply those rules, but it turned out to be not as straightforward
as I thought—there is still a lot left for a ref ’s interpretation. Some
people might not like it, but others appreciate the leeway in the rule
application, which lifts the role of a ref from being a mindless robot to
being a part of a soccer game.
Being in the middle of the action, making sure that kids are having
a safe and fun game and, at the end, getting the feeling of doing
something important and appreciated by kids, coaches and parents is
worth the effort. Finally, reffing is also a great cardio exercise.
- Sergei Ivanov, Region 104 (Albuquerque, N.M.)
I was certified and reffed for the first time last year. At first, it was
What I take from being a referee is the confidence it has given
me. To make a decision and stick with it. I was asked to volunteer for
a game that did not have a full staff. It was a Boys U-12 game. At one
point I made a call and the center ref wanted to make a different call;
however, he came up to me asked what I saw and asked to explain
why I had made the call. I did and he thanked me and stuck with
my original call. It was there that I realized that if I explain and I’m
confident in what I called I can make an impact.
I have more confidence now not only on the field but also in
other areas of my life. That is something that will stay with me
forever. I have taken the intermediate class and my younger brother
is working on getting certified himself. I am going to make sure he
and my sister get certified, it will help them more than they realize.
- Kenneth Fuentes-Carmona, Youth Referee (Region 18,
Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
My little sister was in AYSO and I thought it would be a fun
experience. I’ve never played soccer, I’m a football player, but
I thought that I would learn a lot from it. I had a lot of fun. It’s
something I’m definitely going to do again this season.
- Luke Canfield, Youth Referee, Region 1411 (Fenville, Mich.)