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The Care and Feeding of the Assistant Referee
Appreciating their efforts helps create a cohesive crew

When it comes to officiating a soccer match, participants and players alike place the majority of attention on the Referee, who must spend 90 minutes running up and down the pitch, blowing his whistle, evaluating and calling fouls, and generally ensuring that the match is played within the boundaries of the Laws of the Game.

In addition to the 22 players on the field, there are two other people the Referee must closely monitor and communicate with: the assistant referees. Formerly known as linesmen, these two helpmates on the touch lines can make or break the evaluation of a crew's performance. Therefore, it's important that the Referee treat his assistants properly to create the best chance of walking away from the match with a sense of accomplishment and a job well done.

Set the tone with the pregame

For some Referees, the pregame discussion is a minute-long litany of standard catch-phrases that are more ceremonial reflex than anything. But a good pregame discussion can go a long way toward setting the tone for the match and ensuring the crew will work together, especially crews where the officials have just met, which is an all-too-common occurrence on the majority of youth soccer fields in the United States.


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