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AYSO Region 418 Chicago Lakefront

Pre Game Checklist

The following pre-game checklist for center referees is a general collection of things to think about before the start of any game. The more experienced the referee, the more automatic it is to organize the many things to take care of before starting your game.


  • Check the markings
  • Check that the corner flags are in place and located at outside corners
  • Check for dangerous conditions or items


  • Check that goals are properly assembled and the cross-bars are not sagging
  • Check that goals are centered in goal areas
  • Check that the front of posts align with front (field side) of goal line
  • Check that goals are adequately anchored
  • Check that netting is adequately attached and free of openings


  • Introduce yourself. Write down names of all assistants
  • Provide specific instructions (such as team inspections)
  • Review expectations


  • Write down names, shake hands
  • Obtain the game ball from the home team (check for proper inflation)


  • Check for complete uniforms
  • Check for jewelry and non-compliant apparel
  • Check for casts, splints, braces, etc.


  • When ready to start, proceed to center circle with AR's, game ball
  • Introduce captains
  • Administer coin flip (write down result)
  • Silently count players, determine all are ready
  • Signal start of play, start your watch

What To Bring To Games

There are a number of things to remember to bring to a game as a referee. Here's a list of a few things to think about:

  • Always make sure to bring your referee uniform. Late in the Fall and early Spring, it is often cold, so consider finding a base layer you can use under your uniform for additional heat.
  • Make sure to bring the essential items (with the various acronyms of WW, CC and PPP):
    • WW:   Whistle and Watch
    • CC:   Coin and Cards
    • PPP:   Pencil/Pen, Paper and Patch. 
  • Small blue and white laminated AYSO card with the basic rules/signals, game timing, ball sizing and player counts.
  • While not required, black shoes will definitely help you look more professional.
  • On cold days, gloves and a hat come in handy.
  • Bring sunglasses if you need to when going to the game, but never while you are reffing a game.
  • Bring a large plastic garbage bag in case it rains you can protect your belongings while you are reffing.

For all of these items, consider setting aside a dedicated bag where you can store your referee items. This will really make life a lot easier as you have less of a chance of dashing out the door with a missing item.

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AYSO Region 418 - Chicago Lakefront

4507 N Ravenswood Ave, Suite 101
Chicago, Illinois 60640

Email Us: [email protected]
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