10 Minute Grace Period

For each game, there is a 10-minute grace period.  See the rules of play for each age group to determine the minimum number of players needed to start a game.  If there are not a minimum number of players to start the game, the game will not be played.  It is not the referee's decision as to whether there is a forfeit or not - that is a league decision.  Simply file the game report (score of 0-0) and state which team was present and which team was absent.

UNDER NO circumstances should the referee stay at the field and referee a scrimmage.  Fields are scheduled for league play only - no scrimmages and no practices.  Teams should be instructed to leave and the coach can contact the Competition Coordinators to see if the game is a forfeit or will be rescheduled.


If a team shows up late but within the 10-minute grace period, do not allow extra time for that team to "warm-up".  They need to take the field and play.  Back to back games are scheduled and when one game is delayed it impacts other games as well as referee assignments.

Club Pass

The easiest way to think of a club pass is to think of it as a guest pass for one game. I’ll try to break it down more for pre-game:

  • Coaches should bring a copy of their team roster – only their team roster (you can keep the roster)
  • Check player/coach passes against the roster for primary and secondary players registered to that team
  • Any player that was placed on that team with a club pass will have “CP” noted next to their name OR their name may be a handwritten name with “CP” noted next to it (in CYSL games only)
  • “CP” noted players will not have a paper pass or digital pass for you to review
  • All of the above are allowed to play
  • When filing your game report – note any missing player passes (for primary and secondary players) AND all players using a club pass “CP”. ALSO file a no pass report.
  • League and NSSA officials will follow-up by confirming that all players marked as “CP” are registered players to another team in that club
Player/Coach Passes

ALL coaches and players are required to have a valid NSSA pass.  Paper passes must have a current picture and laminated in order to be a valid pass.  Electronic passes are accepted.  PapioRec games do not require a roster or player passes.

Missing Player Passes

If a player pass is missing or not valid (i.e. missing a picture or lamination).  Allow the player to participate, but note the first and last name on the game card and report the missing pass on the game report and file a NO PASS report with NSSA. (HEYREF link available)

Missing Coach Pass

If a coach does not have a valid pass - then they are a parent or spectator and must move to the other side of the field.  In the rare occasion when there is no coach, allow ONE adult to serve as a coach for that game.  However, please file a NO PASS report with NSSA.  Note the information in the game report also.  Be sure to get the first and last name.

Game Card

Log in on HEYREF.us and go to your schedule and print a game card for each game.

No Guest Players

Leagues do no allow guest players during league play.  If a player does not have a player pass - see the section on Missing Player Pass.

Goals Must Be Anchored

All goals must be anchored.  If the goals are not permanently anchored and cannot be safely anchored prior to the game, the game will not be played.  If in doubt - call Mary Gene at 597-2426.

Check Game Status for each Game

ALWAYS check the game status for your games.  Games are cancelled or moved to other fields for reasons other than weather.  Just because it is sunny and no rain doesn't mean all games will be played.  If referees don't check game status and report to a game that is not being played, there is no pay.

HOWEVER, if a referee checks the game status and the scheduled game is to be played AND one team or both teams do not report within the 15-minute grace period, then report the score as 0-0 and state which team or teams were not present.  Referees will be paid if they report to a game that is not played for whatever reason as long as it is not cancelled via Game Status phone numbers or websites.

Referee Discretion on Game Status

If the Game Status reports that games will be played as scheduled, but if weather or conditions arise, the game will be played at the referee's discretion at game time - REPORT to your assigned game.

IF you get to the field and the field or weather conditions warrant cancelling the game - do so.  Player safety is our main concern.  File a game report and you will be paid.

However, if you are scheduled to referee more that one game, it is your responsibility to report at the next game time and follow the same procedures.  Try to check for updates on game status if possible.


Nets should be properly secured to goal posts.

ENSA fines coaches who do not provide nets.  Be sure to correctly note which team did or did not have nets.


Flags should be provided by both teams.

ENSA fines coaches for not having flags.  Be sure to correctly note which team does or does not have flags.

CYSL does not fine for no flags, but please note if flags are missing.

Team Benchs

ENSA & CYSL require both teams to take the north or west sideline with spectators on the opposite side of the field.

Spectators will NOT be allowed to stand on the field sidelines or behind the goals.

CYSL EXCEPTIONS - at SJEA all persons must be on the North side of the field and at St Robert's all spectators will take the East side of the field

Jewelry - Earrings covered with Band Aids are not allowed

No jewelry is allowed.  Medical bracelets and medallions are to be taped with the shield exposed.  Attached is a Position Paper that speaks to the issue of "Jewelry"

Jewelry Position Paper

Lightning - please be safe

If lightning is determined to be within five (5) miles (using the one mile for each 5 seconds between lightning and the thunder), the game shall be delayed by the referee.   If there is 30 seconds or less between lightning and thunder, the game should be suspended immediately and cover should be found in an enclosed location.  The game may resume 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard.  If not, the game shall be terminated.


Please note:  When a game is suspended or terminated - all players - spectators and referees should vacate the field and take appropriate cover.

Comments - we need comments

REFEREES - please send comments when you have an issue with a coach, player or spectator.  We need to track these teams for unsportsmanlike behavior.  You are our eyes and ears at the field.  We need your feedback.  You may be able to deal with a situation in an appropriate manner, but we still want to track such behavior.  We want to be proactive.  Thanks for your help.

Penalty Kick Restart

What do you do if a penalty kick is awareded and the kicker scores a goal but a teammate of the kicker infringes (enters the Penalty Arc or the Penalty Area, prior to the ball being touched by the kicker)?

The Law states:

"If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:

"A teammate of the player taking the kick infringes on the Laws of the Game:

-if the ball enters the goal, the kick is RETAKEN.


New Hard Cast Rule


 New Playing Rule


NSSA Playing Rule V.6.  Dangerous Equipment. A player must not use equipment or wear anything which is dangerous to himself or another player. The referee has the final determination if the equipment is safe to the player or another player on the field of play.


With the advancement of medical techniques and durable medical equipment, the interpretation of what is deemed a “hard cast” is subjective and is generally beyond the training and expertise of the referee. FIFA Laws of the Game, Law 5, has expressly given the referee full authority to enforce the Laws of the Game, which includes the determination of what is or is not dangerous equipment.


Attached is a "Position Paper" regarding Player's Equipment to help a referee perform their duties under Law 5.  Item #3 is very definitive; don't make assumptions before the game on how the referee thinks the player "may" use the equipment. That determination should only be made during the game on how they are "actually" using the equipment. 


Old Playing Rule that was replaced 

NSSA Playing Rule V.6.  Dangerous Equipment - Hard Cast, Splints and Hard Knee Braces.  Player will not be allowed to play with any type of hard cast.  A hard cast is a cast that cannot be removed.  Splints and braces of any type fall under the determination of the referee if it is safe.  If allowing the splint or brace to be padded can make the equipment safe, then the player should be allowed to play.  The referee has the final determination if any equipment is safe to play in or safe to the players on the field.


Equipment Position Paper

Referee Pay
Full Sided - 11 v 11 U13-14 U15-16 U17-19
Referee (one-person)  $60 $75 $80
Center (three-person) $43 $50 $55
Assistant Referee $30 $35 $40
Small Sided U8 U9-10 U11-12
Referee (one-person) $21 $32 $36
 Center (three-person)     $32
 Assistant Referee      $20
Full Sided - 11 v 11 U13-14 U15-16 U17-19
Center (single AR) $46 $55 $60
Single AR $32 $40 $45
Small Sided     U11-12
Center (single AR)     $35
Single AR     $22
* Properly uniformed - uniform tucked in, referee shorts, referee socks, socks pulled up, predominantly black shoes, wrist watch.
* Confident posture - your demeanor on the field is half the battle. If you look like you know what you are doing and appear confident and professional, parents, coaches and players will give you the benefit of the doubt.
* Stay 5 to 10 yards from play at all time. Try to (generally) stay back and to the left of the ball and look through the play.
* Blow your whistle. Your whistle should always be loud!!! A soft whistle is the biggest complaint that coaches and parents have with referees.
* Run, Run, Run, Run, Run - if you work hard, parents and coaches will see that you are working hard and give you the benefit of the doubt.
* Teach when necessary
* Show empathy
* 9/10 year old soccer players look at teen age referees like they are adults. They will listen to you. Use your voice to help you manage the game. Tell them to stop if they are doing something wrong.
* Identify infractions
* Call fouls - keep it simple (what is important in a U-little game??) Pushing, Holding, Tripping, Kicking (look for these things and blow your whistle when they happen.
* Listen to player reaction
* Listen to coach reaction
* Listen to spectator reaction
* Listen to crew feedback
* If you hear the level of grumbling increasing during the game, maybe you should start blowing your whistle more!!
* Do not show cards in U-little games. Talk to the coach and have coach deal with issues.