Referee Notes from the Kohl’s Cup

The Kohl’s Cup was held on Nov 5-6 at the Fish Hill Complex in Coventry. At the Kohl’s Cup, assessors and instructors were on hand to provide feedback to the referees working this event. Below is a compilation of feedback given during the event, from State Youth Referee Administrator Adel Cabral:

Appearance – Referees need to wear black under attire. Black gloves, or even black hats are OK when weather is extremely cold, however, they must be black. Hoodies, shirts not tucked in, basketball shorts, and lanyards around the neck are not permitted.

Flag mechanics – Flags must be kept facing downward, and towards field when AR is moving. When making calls, ARs must stop and look at referee while making the call. Make the call with confidence and with proper signal. Once the referee acknowledges the call, the flag should go down – do NOT leave flag up after the referee acknowledges the call.

Watching game versus officiating the game – Assistant referees need to move constantly in order to stay with second to last defender. When the ball passes the second to last defender, the AR must move with the ball! This means that an AR must watch both where ball is (action on the field) and where the second to last defender is. ARs MUST be in proper position and alert.

Substitutions – Substitutes must report to halfway line. When ball is out of play, AR1 (when it’s permitted to substitute) holds the flag UP with both hands to signal for substitution and the AR2 also does the same. AR2 should mirror the flag of AR1 in order to get the referee’s attention. Flags should go down when the referee beckons subs into game. AR1 must manage the technical area and make sure bench players are not near the halfway line. The referee should make eye contact with the ARs when ball is out of play.

Whistles – There is no need to blow the whistle when the ball is clearly out of play. A hand signal is sufficient along with the AR’s flag signal. Conversely, when a foul occurs, a loud whistle is needed. Whistles should not be carried on a lanyard around your neck – either use a wrist lanyard or carry the whistle in your hand. All referees must have a wristwatch (with a stopwatch capability of course), pen or pencil and paper. Everyone must be keeping time on the field, not just the referee.

Goal-kick and corner-kick signals – Assistant referees MUST move near the corner flag in order to make these two calls. Do not stand still while the ball is moving towards the goal line. Remember that once the ball passes the second to last defender, then the ball is the offside line and you MUST follow the ball.

Referee movement – Referees must be moving to position (and as much as possible, anticipate where ball is going) to make proper calls. You have to “sell” the call by being in the correct position, by blowing the whistle loudly, and with a firm signal with ONLY ONE hand.

Referees should be observing how other referees officiate. Watching a professional game on TV or in person and observing how the referees interact with players, how they move on the field, and how they interact with each other is important for you to grow as an official. Go to for further referee training information. All referees (even those at the highest level) are constantly trying to improve.

About Devin Miller

Devin Miller is the State Youth Referee Administrator
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