Game Day Protocol

  • Check your e-mail, text and voice mail often for possible schedule changes. Game Officials will update you per the instructions which you have given the program.
  • Frequently Check the Game Officials website for updates, including schedule changes. General information such as ISD, etc. may be posted on HSSOA as well.
  • Update your availability on as often as it changes, and BEFORE you have to decline an assignment.
  • The Referee should contact their Assistant Referees by phone prior to game time (contact to occur preferably at least three hours before the first match) to verify that everyone will be there and be there on time. The referee’s phone numbers should be on the email from Game officials.
  • Call the school for game confirmation (date and time). Specifically, call the coach if at all possible. If you don’t have their number, call the school, and ask for the varsity women’s soccer coach or varsity men’s soccer coach. Varsity usually knows what JV and Freshmen are doing. Here is the text for a sample email you can use to send to the coach the day before the game:

    My name is YOUR NAME, CREW NAMES and I are scheduled to referee your soccer matches this afternoon/evening at STADIUM NAME / TIMES.
    If there is any problem with the playing of the games, please let us know. Feel free to text or phone me with any updates you have.
  • Carry your phone list and schedule with you to work and to the field, or bookmark them in your smartphone. If you have a cell phone, carry it with you and make sure that everyone on the crew knows the phone number. Keep it on until the entire crew arrives at the field. Let the crew know if you do not receive texts.
  • Every game must have at least a 2-man crew. Do not run a 1-man system unless it is agreed upon by the two coaches.
  • Make every effort to arrive at the field 30 minutes prior to game time. If you have an emergency and cannot make it to the field by game time, call the home team coach and your assignor and advise them immediately. Also, call someone on your crew. A decision can then be made concerning whether or not a replacement needs to be made, or switch to dual, or whatever needs to be done.
  • If your partner(s) are not at the field by 15 minutes prior to game time, call your partner(s). If it looks like someone will not make it within a reasonable time, call your assignor so that he can make a decision concerning a replacement. Inform the coaches as well.
  • In order to get paid, you must comply with the school or school district requirements, fill out and complete the sign in sheet, and fill out the W-9 the first time you visit each school (district). You can sign one W-9 and then make as many copies as you need. If you run out of forms, normally schools will have them available for you. NOTE: Some people are VERY reluctant to leave tax ID forms like this. You have two options. One is to write on file, and then call the ISD athletic office the next day, and if they really want a W-9, you can securely FAX one to them. The other is to pre-fill one of the forms, and put it in a sealed envelope with instructions to only be opened by ISD tax office, in a secure environment. This will let them know that you are serious about the protection of your Social Security Number.
  • If it is required, you must sign the Roster and return it to coaches. Technically, this should always be done, but you need to keep at least one copy for yourself as the center Referee.
  • When you arrive at the field, inquire who the security person is for the game, and where he/she is located. If you are told that there will be no security, inform the home coach that he will be responsible for the safety and security of everyone involved in the game. After the game, a report must be filed. An administrator on duty may also be in charge. Let the person(s) responsible for security know that they must check with you after the game to see if you need an escort to your car. Make them understand that they must be available, and that you should not have to look for them.
  • Look professional when you officiate a game. The entire crew must be dressed alike in the appropriate uniform, an approved USSF Referee uniform. There are several uniform shirts that you may wear: Yellow w/black pinstripes, Red w/black pinstripes, Black w/white pinstripes, Blue with black pinstripes, and green with black pinstripes. Make every effort, to have both long and short sleeve shirts so that the entire two or three man crew matches. If you do not have a long sleeve shirt and need to wear one, wear the appropriate color UnderArmour or turtleneck underneath your short sleeve shirt. Everyone must wear the same color shirt.
  • Your shorts must be black without any white stripes. The socks for the referee crew should match, while it is suggested that black with three white stripes be your first choice, current Official Sports USSF socks may be worn - again, be sure your crew wears the same sock style. Your shoes must be predominately black and clean/shined.
  • Follow the HSSOA Guideline concerning the meeting with the coach and the players. Read the card concerning sportsmanship (or memorize it) and make sure to ask the coach if his/her players are properly equipped. Note that this is in front of the rest of your crew, the players from both teams, and the opposing coach. This may save you considerable grief later if the question arises as to whether or not this was done. At this point, you should also ask, "Coach – Do you have any players who require a signed medical release which you would like to show me?".
  • Inspect the field. Make sure that it is in compliance with all NFHS and TASO guidelines and does not pose any hazard to players or officials. If it poses a hazard, do not start the game until it is corrected. If it does not meet the guidelines, and the rules state that the game cannot be played with this condition, do not start the game until the problem is corrected. If the problem such as this cannot be corrected, do not do the game, and fill out the online report in Game Officials. In future bullets, this will be abbreviated as "HSSOA".
  • Inspect the game balls. Make sure that they meet the proper specifications. Also, make sure that there are at least two ball persons. If there are not, and this causes problems in the game, and fill out HSSOA report.
  • Players equipment must be in compliance with NFHS guidelines. It is not your responsibility to make the players change if they are not in compliance (as per NFHS/ TASO); it is the coach's responsibility to certify that the players are properly equipped. If a player is not in compliance, he/she does not play until he/she is in compliance. If that means that there will not be a game, so be it. Make sure to fill out the online report in Game Officials. Similarly, there will be absolutely no jewelry worn by players, with the exception of an appropriately taped medical or religious article. Your first test on the field will be to make players remove the string wrist bands, and to NOT allow taped ("…but I can’t take them out – I just got them.")
  • Do a thorough pre-game briefing. Save time by doing this as you inspect the field. (If there is bad weather in the area, what is the AR’s sign to you that there was lighting / thunder? No, a flag in the air from the AR is not fit for purpose!)
  • Foul language must be dealt with appropriately. According to NFHS and TASO policy, any foul language is deserving of at least a caution. If the language is really foul, or is directed at someone, send the player off, and file the report with UIL and HSSOA.
  • If a coach asks you for information concerning a yellow or red card, provide him/her with the information. If a coach asks you what the foul was, give him/her the proper signal. Always keep your cool, and keep your attitude in check. Remember that coaches, just like players, will test you. Be professional. Remember that in High School, unlike USSF, you MUST communicate with the coach.
  • Dealing with foul or inappropriate language/gestures from fans is not your responsibility. Remember that references to ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation are offensive, and must be dealt with. If inappropriate behavior in the stands becomes an issue, have the appropriate coach or administrator deal with it. If that does not work, ask the home team coach to have the Security person remove the person(s) from the stands. If that does not work, use your best judgment whether or not to continue the game. If you terminate the game, you must file the report with UIL and HSSOA.
    - If you issue a caution, or incident, file the report with HSSOA.
    - If you send off a coach, file the report with UIL and HSSOA.
    - If you show a Red Card of any type (straight or second caution), file the report with HSSOA.
    - If you issue a Red Card, file a report with HSSOA Leave the field as soon as possible after the game. If you need Security to escort you to your vehicle, and, it is not available, file a report UIL/TASO as well as on to HSSOA.
  • You thought we had forgotten the score keeper / timer. Don’t forget to have a pre-game chat with this person. Show them what you will do to start the clock. Remind them that the clock does not start on your whistle, but on the movement of the ball. Please, reinforce this with the appropriate signals, not on your whistle, but when the ball is in motion.) Remind them that there are only four times the clock stops (can you name them?), and show them how you will stop the clock. Remind them to be vigilant about watching the referee crew during the last five minutes of a close match.
  • Other points to consider.
    - Are you current with your assignment fees? If you have games coming up, contact the HSSOA treasurer and arrange for payment.
    - Have you changed any information? (Address, phone numbers). If so, be sure to send the registrar a note, and change them in Game Officials.