How to Handle a Soccer Referee in a Youth Match


The referee! Villain of many a lost soccer game – (Photo:

Oh, those pesky referees!  You never know what kind of nonsense they might pull next.  One sliding tackle is met with a strict yellow card and another is completely let go without even a whistle!  Linesmen often get important offside decisions wrong, and they may even punish a player through mistaken identity.  Such was the case in a professional English Premier League match this weekend, where Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs was wrongly sent off for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!  It is as though the sport thrives off of controversial moments like these and the madness that often occurs in the heat of an intense game!  As a soccer player, you need to know how to correctly deal with a referee.

First off, don’t beg for unnecessary fouls.  A soccer ref tries to come into any match as an impartial judge.  He or she wants to simply make the right calls and help the game go as smoothly as possible.  When a player immediately starts the game off by disagreeing with their judgment, they are looking for trouble.  While we like to believe that referees are as impartial and honest as any top-of-the-line computer, they are not!  They are living, breathing, and conniving people just like you or me.  So when you start pestering them about some stupid foul that wasn’t called, they will get annoyed, and there’s a good bet that they may start ignoring you in the future…

Think of it like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.  You’ll be waving your arms in disarray for the 5th time about a non-call, and then when that golden moment comes where you actually are fouled in the box with a minute to go and desperately seeking a game-tying goal, and the ref ignores you once again, and then you go running up to them screaming like a banshee, and then they throw a yellow card in your face, and then the captain of the other team comes up and shoves you, and then all your teammates get in a huff with their team, and then little do you know how much precious time has ticked away, and the ref blows his whistle, and you lose.  Remember, you cannot beat a ref.  Sure, they may make a mistake that can be retroactively corrected after the game, but that won’t change the score line.

Instead, treat the referee like a human being and respect them.  You may disagree with their calls and you may want to scream at them, but it won’t help you any.  If you’re being hacked repeatedly by an opposing player, inform the referee in a mature and calm manner.  That is how you sway a referee, not by screaming and flailing arms.

Being a referee is actually a very difficult job and requires a certain steel resolve.  Even the best of them can make erroneous decisions in the heat of a major match, but one thing often remains clear.  The players that are constantly yelling at the refs and getting into a big huff are usually the ones losing.  Stop worrying about the ref and start working towards performing your best!


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