Assistant Referee Basics

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Currently, most games in our AYSO region are called by a single referee assisted by parent volunteers, or “club linesmen.” However, many referees have shown an interest in learning the skills of an assistant referee. Trained assistants can help the referee call offside much more accurately, and the extra “eyes on the field” are very helpful, especially in the U14 and U19 divisions. The following is a brief guide for assistant referees.

PRIMARY DUTIES

  • Indicate when the ball is out of play
  • Indicate when an offside offense has occurred
  • Verify whether a goal has been scored

ADDITIONAL DUTIES

  • Indicate fouls or misconduct that the referee may not have seen
  • Handle substitutions

BASIC MECHANICS

  • The AR's flag should be visible to the referee at all times. Hold it straight down at your side. Hold it in your left hand most of the time, in case you need to turn quickly (to your right) to follow an attack.
  • Throw-ins: When the ball goes out of play over the touch line, raise the flag from your side and up to a 45-degree angle in the direction of the throw-in. Don't cross the flag in front of your body. Instead, switch hands quickly below the waist.
  • Goal Kicks & Corner Kicks: When the ball goes out of play over the goal line, keep running and stop a few feet from the corner flag before indicating the restart. It is important to be near the goal line, as this is the best position to spot potential problems. Point your flag at the goal for a goal kick. Point your flag down at the nearest corner for a corner kick.
  • Ball Enters the Goal: When a goal has been scored, turn and run quickly toward the half line, about fifteen yards. Keep your flag down at your side. Make eye contact with the referee.
  • When you consider a goal to be invalid: Stand with your arms at your sides and make eye contact with the referee.
  • Offside: Stay even with the second-last defender. This is the proper position to call offside. When you see an offside offense, stop, raise the flag straight up and make eye contact with the referee. When the referee whistles, lower the flag in front of you to indicate the restart position (near, center or far.)
  • Fouls and Misconduct: When you see a foul or misconduct that the referee may not have seen, stop, raise the flag straight up and make eye contact with the referee. Shake the flag quickly by bending your wrist. When the referee whistles, lower the flag to a forty-five degree angle to your side indicating the direction of the restart, as you would for a throw-in.
    NOTE: This duty varies at the referee’s discretion.

TIPS

  • Stop and face the pitch before making any signal with your flag.
  • Think of the flag as an extension of your arm and always hold it with your wrist straight.
  • Don't cross the flag in front of your body. Instead, switch hands quickly below the waist when you need to signal with the other hand.
  • Make frequent eye contact with the referee, whenever the ball goes out of play and especially when you signal.
  • Side-stepping: Most of the time, you should face the pitch and use a side-stepping motion along the touch line. This gives you the best view of the game. When speed is necessary, turn and run with your flag straight down at your side.
  • Assist, don't insist: You are there to provide additional information to the referee, whose decision is final in all matters. If you disagree about a call, simply lower your flag and resume the proper position.

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you have any questions about this guide, please contact:
John McNally
jmcnally@acm.org
Referee Administrator
Brooklyn AYSO, Region 473
jmcnally@acm.org