June 3, 2016

Greetings Referees,

With only a few weeks remaining in Spring season, I think it is appropriate to comment on the good, the bad and the ugly:

THE GOOD:  Referees have been very timely in submitting their game reports and USSF Supplemental forms this season.  Remember - the leagues in which you work require that you do your game reports in a timely manner as they rely upon them for score verification and information pertaining to the events of the match.  When you have a send-off or coach dismissal, leagues need to know ASAP, as does the SRC so that we can follow-up and determine how best to address the situation.  In some instances, it may require a bit more work on your part.  We cannot address these critical issues without your reports and I want to thank you for getting them done quickly.  Keep up the good work!!

THE BAD:  Referees still seem to be plagued by the issues surrounding availability.  When I read some of the reasons provided for declines on matches assigned, it makes me scratch my head and wonder how the referee made it this far in life.  Yes, things happen and there is no predicting issues such as injury, work and family emergencies.  I know that as I live it nearly daily.  However, when there is an event such as SATs, Prom, Graduation and events that are usually scheduled months if not years in advance (news flash - since I was a high school student, the SATs have always been the first Saturday of May).  Please be thoughtful when updating your availability.  Life is fast-paced, but if you take just a little bit more time to use some forethought, you will find that there is less stress on you and your assignors will be less agitated when you pay attention to the details.  

THE UGLY:  We as an organization are allowing too much dissent and confrontation from the players and the coaching staffs.  I am NOT advocating that you go card crazy or start dismissing every coach you see - I am asking that you consider the long-term effects of your actions or inactions as your fellow referees have to deal with those players and coaches that are let off the hook.  No one wants the burden of being the bad guy nor do they want the burden of paperwork or possibly attending a Disciplinary Board hearing.  By the same measure, nobody wants to be subjected to situations that are preventable if addressed.  As a team, referees can work together to help make the atmosphere more pleasant for all, but we have to be consistent.  Please follow the Ask, Tell Dismiss procedures and be firm with your decisions when deciding to caution or send off a player.  If you play the nice guy, you are only making things harder for your fellow referees.  In conjunction with this, please also remember to be professional and to respect the players and coaches when they have an "emotional outburst".  They react to things jjust as we do and it is up to us to determine if their behavior is egregious or merely emotional.  Refer to the Laws Of The Game and the addendums found in the online sections of US Soccer's website for referees. 

One last reminder:

Vacations, Proms, SAT's, ACT's, graduation parties, and other family and school related events are bound to conflict with game times.  You can assist the assignors of all leagues by keeping these events in mind and blocking the dates in  your calendar in the various assigning programs.  This is not a difficult task, but it is a critical task.

Please remember that regardless of the league(s) you may be working, you need to be a professional and to do the following:
  1. Accept/Decline your assignments promptly.  The assignors want to know as soon as possible that you can or cannot wok the game(s).  Keep your availability current!!! 
  2. Arrive to your games at least 30 minutes prior to kick and be professional.  
  3. Do your game reports and report your game scores as soon as possible after the game.  Many systems now allow for reporting via smartphone.  You should submit your game reports within 48 hours per US Soccer Policy.  If required (due to cautions, send-offs, dismissals or other unusual event) be sure to submit a US Soccer Supplemental Report to the assignor and the SRA as well, with a copy of the game report.  These reports are found on this site under the "Resources" tab on the left side of this page.  There is no substitute for using the correct form!  Despite many of the assigning programs having these reports built in to them, you still need to use a USSF Supplemental Form when sending off a player, dismissing a coach, reporting a serious injury or other unusual situation.  In time, the software programs will get the new forms incorporated, but until that time, please send in the form as described above.
  4. Please work hard in your games.  I have seen many referees this season just walking around and not "caring".  This is unacceptable.  Whether you are working a rec league game, NHSL, MAPLE or NEP, these games deserve your best.  If you don't try hard, it will be noted and your game counts may likely drop.  The amount of compensation that many of the leagues pay is quite good and your effort needs to match the pay rate.  I have no problem telling leagues to cut your pay.  Show them that you deserve it!
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns that you cannot get answers for from your assignors or Area Representatives.
Best regards,
State Youth Referee Administrator