A Matter of Respect

What is the best way for a referee to be respected? The answer is simple, but it takes effort, pride and work to be respected.

It goes back to the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The first thing a referee needs to do to earn respect is to show respect — that is, show respect to the game, the players, the coaches and the spectators. Showing respect to the game is to represent the game as the participant that has the authority to govern each individual game.

U.S. Soccer has established a standard uniform that referees are to wear. Those referees that show up to the game dressed inappropriately are showing disrespect to the game and do not earn respect simply by their appearance. “Looking the Part” when a referee approaches the pitch gets the referee off to a good start. Looking the part means having a proper uniform jersey in good repair (not faded, not frayed), shorts that fit and are worn at the proper level on the waist, referee socks that are worn at the proper level, polished shoes (mostly black), and current badge at the appropriate level for the game.

The next step in earning respect is “Knowing the Part.” To know the part, you must know “The Laws of the Game” and the competition/league rules. It is the referee’s duty to enforce the laws and execute the rules established by the competition. A referee cannot earn respect when the players and coaches know the laws and rules better than the referee. The referee should review “The Laws of the Game” on a regular basis, review the “U.S. Soccer Position Papers” on the U.S. Soccer web site, and be abreast of the local rules.

The next step is “Acting the Part.” Although the referee has complete authority in the match, the referee should enforce the laws firmly, fairly and also courteously. The referee must treat each side the same. Greet each coach with respect and spend approximately the same time with each coach prior to game. During the match, the referee must deal with the incidents that occur firmly, fairly and with respect to those involved. The referee must restrain from reacting to misconduct in a similar manner as the misconduct that the referee is trying to stop. In reacting similarly, the referee now has become part of the misconduct.

Remember to be firm, fair, and courteous. “Look the Part,” “Know the Part,” “Act the Part.” And above all, show the respect to the game and others that you want shown to you!

Thanks to all of you for all the support you give for the North Texas Soccer Referee Program and North Texas Soccer.

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