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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

AYSO Region 161 - Port Huron MI

What! Me Referee?

The Referee’s job is to be the official in charge of the match. He/she is the independent arbiter and manager of the match. A referee’s authority extends to everyone at the field, including players, substitutes, team officials, spectators, and assistant referees.

The first priority for the Referee is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players.  While there is risk in all sports, the referee is responsible for minimizing such risks from field conditions, equipment, spectators, and the players.

The Referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game Safe, Fair & Fun.  The referee is expected to interfere with the game as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses.

Refereeing in AYSO is a challenging and rewarding volunteer experience. Here is an opportunity for you to join the kids on the pitch as they learn to love the “Beautiful Game”. You’ll have a great time and get some exercise too!

AYSO refereeing is available for youth and adult volunteers. Kids as young as 12 years old are permitted to officiate matches in the U10 division.  As the kids enter high school, they have opportunities to manage more challenging matches and even earn High School Community Service credits as AYSO referees. Refereeing in AYSO is a terrific way to help kids learn responsibility, build self-confidence, and possibly even begin to build a career. Just as there are professional soccer players who started out as kids in AYSO, there are also professional soccer referees who started out as kids in AYSO.

Region 161 Referee Administrator offers mentoring for all referees with additional advocacy for youth and female referees.  If you have any questions about becoming a referee, please contact Ron Komraus, Referee Administrator at [email protected].

Each AYSO referee must meet the following core requirements

  • Register as a volunteer for the current membership year: this submits you for the AYSO background check and provides AYSO soccer accident insurance, among other things.

  • Complete Safe Haven training* (can be taken online or at an in-person class):  AYSO's Safe Haven was developed to protect both children and volunteers.  The program covers protection guidelines, safety and injury prevention, as well as the importance of role modeling sporting behavior and supporting the philosophies of AYSO.
  • Complete Referee training* for the age level you will be officiating (in-person classes)

*see Referee Training and Certification page for class dates/times

See you on the pitch!

What it Takes to Become a Referee

1.  Ability to tell time
2.  Ability to blow a whistle
3.  Ability to learn 5-10 rules (depending on age division)
4.  Ability to work with other people young and old (kids on field; coaches/parents on sideline)
5.  Ability to ignore sideline chatter
6.  Need to be 12 years old or older (we don't care how old)
7.  Must be able to run to keep up with game play:
•••••• 6U - walking
•••••• 8U - jog occasionally
••••••10U - running occasionally
••••••12U - running a lot
••••••14U - need to be in good shape to keep up 
8.  Ability to go to a computer and fill out the volunteer application (takes about 20 minutes)
9.  Take Regional Referee course (to learn the rules).  Takes 6-8 hours.  
10.  Take Referee Safe Haven course.  AYSO's Safe Haven was developed to protect both children and volunteers.  The program covers protection guidelines, safety and injury prevention as well as the importance of role modeling sporting behavior and supporting the philosophies of AYSO.
11.  The willingness to have fun with your kids and learn soccer, along with your child(ren).
12.  Look good in referee yellow (optional)

Region 161 Referee Administrator

Referee Questions or Concerns?

Ron Komraus, Referee Administrator
[email protected]

Soccer is designed as a players’ game and the involvement of non-players (coaches and referees) is intended to be limited.

This can be a difficult concept for those accustomed to seeing active involvement by coaches and officials in other popular sports. Coaches participate in these other popular sports by directing the action of the players, debating rule decisions with officials or completely stopping the action by calling time-outs. Officials, in these other popular sports, participate by stopping the game for each rule violation and not continuing play until the infraction and violator have been identified, the punishment options explained to the opposing team and a final accounting of the entire incident announced or signaled to the spectators. Indeed, it is not uncommon in some sports for considerably more time to be devoted to dealing with these matters than is actually spent playing the game. The spirit of the game of soccer intends something quite different.

In soccer, particularly youth soccer, the application of the spirit of the Law is far more important than the rote application of the letter of the Law.Soccer is a fast-paced game that should flow with a minimum of interruptions.  

Referees have considerable authority and flexibility when determining whether or not to stop play. Violation of the letter of the Law may be overlooked if the referee considers it to be a trifling or doubtful offense. The referee may also elect not to stop play for a foul when it would be more of an advantage to the team that was fouled to continue playing. It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming overly concerned with the details of various rules and regulations surrounding the game. Players simply want to get on with the enjoyment of playing. Standards that may seem appropriate to enforce during international, college or high school competitions are not necessarily appropriate to apply at all levels of youth soccer.

Soccer is a game, and the reason people play games is to have fun. The role of AYSO coaches and referees is to facilitate a game that will provide the maximum enjoyment for the players. Understanding the spirit of the game and the philosophy of refereeing can significantly contribute toward the enjoyment of the match for all concerned—coaches, referees, spectators and players.

Referees strive for uniformity of interpretation, just as players strive for excellence in playing skills and coaches strive to develop successful teams. With varying degrees of success, each does the best he or she can, and it is the inevitable human variation that makes for
greater interest and enjoyment. 

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Contact Us

AYSO 161

P.O. Box 610224 
Port Huron, Michigan 48061

Email Us: [email protected]
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