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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; shin guards completely covered by socks
  • Check for jewelry (none allowed, even if covered; must be removed in order to play) and non-compliant apparel
  • Check for casts, splints, braces, etc. (Not allowed)
  • Hard-billed caps are not allowed. Goalkeepers can wear soft-billed caps if the sun is in their eyes.


  • When ready to start, proceed to center circle with AR's, game ball
  • 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:

  • Wear your referee uniform with the shirt tucked in. 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.
  • While not required, black shoes will definitely help you look more professional. Soccer or artificial turf shoes are highly recommended.
  • On cold days, gloves and a knit hat can come in handy.
  • Only wear a hat if you need to, e.g. to protect your skin from the sun or keep the rain off your glasses. If you do need to wear one, it should be mainly black.
  • Do not wear sunglasses while reffing a game unless you have a medical need to do so.

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]
Phone : 312-216-0102
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