REFEREE GUIDELINES FOR U5/6/8 MATCHES
· Tools: Whistle, stopwatch, coin, voice, hand signals, (pencil/paper to track quarters/half, score). If you can, have two whistles - each having a different sound. This will come in handy when you ref a game in close proximity to another where the other ref has a similar sounding whistle.
· Arrive early enough to walk the field and check for safety problems like rocks, glass, and divots/holes. Also check the goals to make sure they're anchored with a sandbag or two on the goal frame (not the netting).
· Visit coaches, introduce yourself, bring up any issues you found on your field check. Also cover how you'll be handling and calling throw-ins. Note that younger age groups will implement kick-ins in place of throw ins. Verify times for subbing and quarters/halves.
· Check the players to see if they’re wearing something that may harm themselves or other players (jewelry, earrings, watches). Check cleats, shin pads.
· Check the game ball. Make sure it’s a size #3. Insure it’s not over or under inflated. Also inspect to make sure cover is in good shape with no sharp pieces between panels.
· Insure that the match gets started on time, particularly if there’s another to follow. Get the captain(s) and perform coin flip (winner chooses which goal to defend, loser kicks off.)
· How far can defenders be from ball on kickoffs and free kicks? Throwins?
· Safety 1st. If a player appears injured, error on the side of caution, blow the whistle and restart with a drop ball (assuming it was still in play.)
· Position yourself to get a good view of the action. Make calls but don’t become part of or obstruct the play. Remember, you’re part of the field.
· Apply the laws of soccer recalling exceptions for small-sided play. Pre-game inspection time is a good chance to communicate with the players and let them know you’re there for fairness and safety and that you want them to have a good soccer experience. You might give them an example of what you’ll call a handling or anything else you have to say.
· No PK’s for u5, u6. All fouls result in indirect kicks for this age group.
· Be loud enough with whistle and voice so that everyone in the area can hear your call. Make sure there’s no doubt. Example: “Green kick, going this way.” Use hand signals.
· U5 – 3 v 3 No goalie or penalty area. 8 minute quarters or 16 minute halves. 5 minutes between halves. 2 minutes between quarters (if used). Kick-in takes the place of throw in.
U6 – 4 v 4* No goalie. 10 minute quarters or 20 minute halves. 5 minute between halves. 2 minutes between quarters (if used). Kick-in takes the place of throw in.
U8 – 4 v 4* No goalie. 12 minute quarters or 24 minute halves. 5 minute between halves. 2 minutes between quarters (if used). Number of players may be reduced due to sub availability.
· Get started on time, particularly if another game is to follow. If match starts late you can cut the quarter or half time breaks or shorten the last quarter/half of play as needed Advise coaches.
· Blow whistle twice for quarter/half, Three times for end of match.
* - General guidelines for players per side. Adjusted based on available players, e.g., play 3 v 3 if needed.