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Preparing and Training…
Andrew Castiglione
Founder of Ken Aston Referee Society

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To become an AYSO referee you must attend an AYSO referee training clinic. The introductory clinics cover the Laws of the Game (for those new to soccer), the way AYSO soccer games are structured and held (from coin-toss to end of game handshakes), and the spirit and philosophy of AYSO. At these clinics, you can also pick up some things you will need - a copy of the Laws, the Regional Referee's Handbook, and referee uniforms, whistles, etc.

The introductory clinics are designed to be quick, easy, and fun to take - even for those with no prior soccer experience at all. There are two introductory clinics, one for those who will Referee Under 8 players and one for those preparing to Referee in Under 9's/10's or above.

And it is easy to sign up too!

Preparing to Referee Under 8 players

The Under 8 clinic is especially designed for the complete beginner (although it is equally useful to recalibrate experienced soccer players to the Under 8 game!). It consists of a single, two and a half hour class session. The class session will answer all your questions, including "Do I really want to do this?" (YES!)

There is also a videotape about Refereeing Under 8's. Since this was made a few years ago, it shows only 7-a-side play, but much of the material still applies to play in this age group. (In 2002, all Under 8 games are 4 v.4, Under 9 games are 5 v. 5, and Under 10 games are 7 v. 7.) The videotape should be available from your Region Referee Administrator.

Preparing to referee older players

The Regional clinic is an introduction to the full Laws, designed to prepare you to Referee Under 9's/10's and above. This clinic takes two class sessions, each two and a half hours long, and there is a subsequent exam on the Laws that is required in order to be awarded an... AYSO Regional Referee Badge. This is a little longer than the Under 8 clinic because it covers the full Laws, rather than just the simplified ones used for Under 8's.

The Regional clinic is also good for beginners who want to start in Under 9 or Under 10 (we don't normally recommend starting in the older age groups). In addition, folks who have previously refereed Under 8's, and who are planning to referee older children for the first time, should attend the Regional clinic - the Laws change significantly between Under 8's and Under 9's/10's, and experience in Under 8's, although a good base, is not sufficient to Referee older children's games successfully.

Referee training for experienced players

If you have played the game extensively, you might wonder whether you could just "jump in" at a higher level. While playing experience is a great help to a referee, we still recommend that you start by taking the Regional clinic. Although some of the Law material will be familiar to you, most players' Law knowledge is a little uneven and the comprehensive review will be worth while. Also, Refereeing is a skill, like playing but different, and you should take a little time to learn the game from this novel perspective.

One kind of experienced player who is particularly welcome as a Referee are local high school students who are current or former youth soccer players. If you are one, and are interested in Refereeing AYSO games, plan on taking the Regional clinic and please also contact the Region Referee Administrator so we can get you included in the Fall's schedule.

If you are already a certified Referee in another organization, please contact the Region Referee Administrator. AYSO does do cross-certify referees from some organizations (most notably USSF) and we'd be happy to get you involved with AYSO.

Advanced Referee training

In addition to the clinics described here, there are also more advanced classes for more experienced referees which cover the Laws and the art of Refereeing in greater depth.

These are described in... +- Becoming a Better Referee -+.

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