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One of the great things about being an AYSO referee is that there are a lot of ways for the new and the not-so-new referees to get help in improving their referee skills. Beyond the courses we teach, the monthly referee meetings, and the tons of helpful advice we get from the touchlines, anyone who is interested can always ask to be mentored, observed, or assessed to get advice on not only things they need to improve on but also things that they do well.

Observations and Assessments

Observations and assessments are formal ways for referees to be evaluated for badge upgrades, but also can be done informally to get more structured feedback. Formal observations are required to upgrade from a Regional badge (U10) to an Intermediate badge (U12). Assessments are used to move from Intermediate to Advanced (U14) to National (U16 and U19).

Currently AtUpgrade ToGame Level RequiredPre-Assessment Needed?
AssessmentIntermediateAdvancedU14Yes, Center & AR
AdvancedNationalU16/U19Yes, Center & AR

You can schedule an observation or assessment by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. Intermediate observations and the pre-assessments (Area policy to check that you are ready for an upgrade) are scheduled internally within Region 84, so those are pretty easy to do. For the formal assessment; however, we need to bring in an assessor from outside the Region, so we need at least 2 weeks lead time. Once we have the time, date, and place of the match that you are scheduled to do, we will work with you to schedule the assessor.

Things to do to Make Your Assessment Easier

  • Have a good pre-game discussion with your referee team. You might not fail an Advanced assessment because of a poor pre-game, but it will increase the chances for failure in the match because of the confusion that results. You will fail a national assessment with a poor pre-game.
  • Stay within 10 to 15 yards of play. If you are consistently far from play, you will miss fouls, lose credibility, and risk the safety of the players.
  • Work on your foul/non-foul recognition. We like to see a good balance between enforcing the laws (controlling the match) and applying the spirit of the game (allowing play to flow). In other words, keep the players safe, the match fair; but let them have fun.
  • Show teamwork. We like to see a lot of eye contact and acknowledgement of signals during the match.
  • Use sharp signals, a clear whistle, and your voice. Poor performance here and you risk losing credibility with the players, coaches, and spectators.
  • As an AR, keep with the second to last defender or the ball if it passes that defender. We have strict standards for AR upgrades in Area L. We expect to see the AR even with the defender or hustling down the line after the ball. Why? Not being in a position to see if the attacker was offside when a goal is scored can lead to loss of match control.
  • Know the laws and the correct restarts. You’ll be more comfortable and have an easier time in your matches. Major mistakes here are another avoidable way to lose control of the match.

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AYSO Region 517

P.O. Box 26701 
Santa Ana, California 92799

Email Us: [email protected]
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