top of page

Referee Notes/Guide


This page is a study guide for you to learn from. It has some of the important facts you will need to know. But having the knowledge is only half the picture, the other half is how to implement this knowledge. Come to the course for this. To print these notes (.pdf) [click here]


Soccer has just 17 laws ...


  1. The Field of Play

  2. The Ball

  3. The Players

  4. The Players’ Equipment

  5. The Referee

  6. The Other Match Officials

  7. The Duration of the Match

  8. The Start & Restart of Play
  9. The Ball In & Out of Play

  10. Determining the Outcome of a Match

  11. Offside

  12. Fouls & Misconduct

  13. Free Kicks

  14. The Penalty Kick

  15. The Throw-In

  16. The Goal Kick

  17. The Corner Kick

*Remember the main function of the laws are for the safety of the players.


We will concentrate on Law 11 - Offside & Law & 12 - Fouls and Misconduct ...




  • Four Parts - Offside position, active participation, not offside, punishment

  • Player ahead of ball

  • Player completely in opponents half of field

  • There are less than two opponents near the goal line

  • Active participation -interferes with play, or an opponent or gains advantage


The punishment is loss of ball and an INDIRECT FREE KICK (IFK) to opponents.


CAN'T BE OFFSIDE - on a corner kick, throw-in or goal kick


What are the MAJOR FOULS?    10 in all


  • Kicking, Striking, Tripping, Pushing, Jumping At, Charging

(Considered to be Careless/Reckless/Excessive force)


  • Four other offenses (that C/R/EF not required).

Holding, Spitting, Tackling opponent (before the ball), Handling the ball

  • The restart after a major foul is a DIRECT FREE KICK except when the major foul happens in the penalty area then a PENALTY KICK is taken.


Key point: A goal can be scored from a Direct Free Kick!



What are MINOR FOULS?    5 in all


  • Dangerous Play

  • Charging fairly when ball is not in playing distance

  • Charging the Goalkeeper

  • Impeding the progress

  • Time wasting by Goalkeeper


The restart after a minor foul is a INDIRECT FREE KICK even when the minor foul happens in the penalty area!


A Dangerous Play occurring in the penalty area while sounding major is still INDIRECT!

Key point: A goal can not be scored from a Indirect Free Kick unless two players touch the ball. Two from the same team or one from each team (i.e. The kicker and a goalkeeper)

Dangerous play could be playing the ball while player is on the ground depends how close an opponent is to the player.

  • Nearby (within playing distance) = DANGEROUS PLAY

  • Not Nearby = NO DANGEROUS PLAY



A couple of sample test questions:


The ball is automatically out of play if the player playing the ball is off the field?   Yes  or  No


The only kick to restart play that must travel forward in direction to be in play is a:

A. Kickoff 

B. Goal Kick 

C. Penalty kick

D. Direct free kick


Referee Guide

  1. Introduce yourself to the coaches

  2. Check field, goals and nets for any problems

  3. Discuss the following with the coaches:

All games have 6 field players and a goalie (7 total)

Substitution rules: Any throw in, any goal kick, after a goal or injury


1st & 2nd Grades:

25 minute halves

Only one coach from each team on field at any time

No off-sides / No penalty kicks

3rd & 4th Grades:

25 minute halves

No offside except for very obvious

Infractions (goal hanging, 20 yards off...)

NO penalty kicks


5th & 6th Grades:

30 minute halves

Offside rule applies

Penalty kicks are awarded (taken from penalty area line)

bottom of page