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-= Assistant Referee - Mechanics =-
Assistant Referee - Mechanics
Andrew Castiglione
Founder of Ken Aston Referee Society

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Welcome to the Ken Aston Assistant Referee Page. The purpose of this page is to assist new Referees learning the art of a good Assistant Referee mechanics.

Please feel free to contact your LOCAL REFEREE ADMINISTRATOR about any of the points being presented. We hope that you will also link up with a ‘MENTOR’ to help you through your first year as a Referee, and also as you advance on to higher levels of Refereeing.

Review the following and read the helpful hints that were suggested by numerous AYSO, FA, FIFA, National, and State & Senior Referees from across the U.S. and abroad.
The Assistant Referee (AR) can best help the Center Referee (CR) by following the ball all the way down to the goal line.

Always try to face the field of play at all times, especially BEFORE you give any signal.

Good Eye Contact is also important before the flag is moved to signal a goal or foul.

Being at the goal line (end line) is always the best position for the AR to "Sell The Call" during goal situations!

The AR's first responsibility is to stay even with the... 2nd to last defender in order to be in the best position to signal OFFSIDE.

Always try to face the field of play at all times with eyes focused directly across to that defender rather than watching play going on up field. Developing a quick, smooth, side step movement to stay even with that defender is the best practice.

Once you have determined that an attacker, who was in OFFSIDE POSITION, is involved in play, your 1st step is to raise your flag to get the CR's attention.

DO NOT lower the flag until the CR recognizes your signal (unless the CR gave you other specific directions in your pre-game).

If the CR does not wave you down, then indicate with your flag in which part of the field did the OFFSIDE infraction occur. Always wait for eye contact with the CR BEFORE giving your 2nd step signal.

As AR, you assist the CR in determining the direction of the throw-in when the ball completely leaves the field of play.

You give this signal ONLY on your half of the field. The CR may give you other directions during your pre-game. The flag goes directly to a 45-degree angle in the direction of the throw-in on your half.

During play, if the ball goes completely out of play and back in again in the air or on the ground on the CR's side, you will pop the flag straight up to indicate that the ball went out of play and is now back on the field side (a good habit too establish is to raise the flag up in the hand which will determine direction if it were on your side).

Be sure the ball has COMPLETELY crossed beyond the touchline BEFORE you raise your flag. Don't anticipate the ball going out because a player may save it to keep it in play.  

After the ball is out of play, the AR will supervise the throw-in. The CR usually watches the hands and the AR usually watches the feet to be sure that the player keeps both feet either on or behind the touchline. These directions may vary, depending in what the CR tells you during your pregame.

When the ball has completely broken the plane of the touchline, the ball is in play. REMEMBER, the player's foot may raise AFTER the ball is in play, not before.

After the ball has been thrown into play and then bounces back out again, you will pop the flag to a 45-degree angle to indicate that the ball is out of play and going the other way.

Be sure the ball has COMPLETELY crossed beyond the touchline BEFORE you raise your flag. The same is true if the player steps beyond the touch line onto the field of play during the throw-in.

Fitness is very important in being a good AR. It is very difficult for the CR to get from one half the field to the other in 2 seconds. You are usually closer to the goal line than the CR during dynamic play. That is why you following the ball all the way down to the goal line is so important. You will usually have the best point of view of balls in or out of play resulting in either corner or goal kicks. You can't best tell if the ball is out of play from the vantage point of either the 18 yd. or 6 yd. lines. BE AT THE GOAL LINE TO SELL THE CALL!!!

If the ball goes out by a defender, signal CORNER KICK.

If an attacker last played the ball, signal GOAL KICK

It's important to be in the correct position. Assuring the ball places assist the CR further by assuring the ball properly in both the corner kick and goal kick.

Watch carefully to see when it was touched and put back into play; especially on corner kicks. Be sure the ball has left the Penalty Area before any other player than the one who took the goal kick touches it.

If you see either of those infractions, this is when the AR signals with a slight wiggle of the flag.

When the Assistant Referee thinks a goal has been scored, they will lower the flag,
optionally may point to center with their hand and sprint back to the center line.
If they want to dispute the goal, however, they will put the flag up and stay where they are.

The Assistant Referee simply keeps the flag straight up after the whistle is blown,
he is indicating he needs to talk to the Referee.
The Assistant Referee may show this signal if, for example,
a player begins abusing him or he sees outside interference.
In particular, if he wishes to indicate that a player deserves a yellow or red card,
he will place his hand over his chest badge.

The AR also assists the CR when they see any misconduct behind the CR's back or out of their immediate view.

REMEMBER, AR's don't call fouls; they only indicate when misconduct or other incident has occurred out of the CR's view. The CR is the one who indicates if it is a foul or misconduct, based upon your observations.

The Assistant Referee holds his flag above his head with both hands,
The Assistant Referee is indicating to the Referee that a substitution
is being performed and that play should not be started until it is finished.

Finally, one of the five duties of the Assistant Referee is the signaling of Substitutions.

Though the number of substitutions and when subs are permitted vary from league to league, the mechanics should always be the same.

After either the player or coach has brought to your attention a need for a substitution at the next stoppage of play, you instruct the player to stand at mid field because Law 3 states that all substitutions take place at mid field.

You give the appropriate signal by holding both ends of the staff (NOT the flag) and hold the flag up over your head until the CR recognizes it (if the CR is doing their job correctly, they will look towards the mid field at every stoppage of play and will see the subs and your flag). As soon as the CR recognizes your flag, bring it done to your side. The player coming off may exit the field of play anywhere.

As soon as the exiting player is off the field, the CR will beckon the substitution onto the playing field.

Assistant Referee Review

The duties of the AR are to assist the Center Referee by indicating:

- When the ball is out of play

- Who is entitled to the Corner Kick, Goal Kick or Throw In

- When a player may be penalized for being in an Offside Position

- When a Substitution is requested

- When an incident has occurred out of the view of the Center Referee

GOOD COMMUNICATION is... Essential !!!

Your job is to provide information to help the CR make decisions. Therefore it is important to keep good eye contact with the CR, give accurate signals, be in the best position to gather the correct information, and verbalize only when necessary.

Work on your flag mechanics and be sure to always have a good pregame with your fellow Referees.

This is the secret to having a great team, a great game, and having a fun time!

The Document:

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Page updated on... Monday, August 25, 2014 @ 22:07:04 -0700 PM-GMT
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