We Need You to Referee U8 Games!

One of the often heard complaints from U8 coaches and parents is that there are too many U8 games with no referee. Being relatively new to AYSO, many U8 coaches and parents don’t understand where our referees come from. All of our referees are volunteers just like our coaches, and they are usually parents of players in that division.

In the U8 level, parents often are intimidated by the thought of refereeing. This is unfortunate because U8 is the perfect entry-level referee position! The job is much simpler than at the older levels–there is no keeping score, no offside, and very few intentional fouls. The main job of a U8 referee is to keep time, get the ball back in play properly (throw-ins, goal kicks, corner kicks, kick-offs), and keep the kids safe. Since most of the kids don’t know what they are doing out there, there is a lot of instruction on the re-starts–and the players rarely second-guess a call because they have no idea if the ref is right or wrong! They are 6 and 7 year olds–our adult referees can stay one step ahead of them without much difficulty! Really.

Weeks Your Team For Which Your Team is Responsible. Since we need U8 parents to referee U8 games, we are requiring each U8 team to be prepared to provide a referee for their assigned games.  A schedule of the referee assignments will be posted. Note that since there is an odd number of weeks, some teams will cover five games and some will cover four games.

Signing Up for Games.  For your assigned week, you will need to sign up to referee your game online, just like the rest of our referees. The referee schedules are accessible from the Referee tab on our website. Sign-ups are available all season but must be done no later than noon on the Friday before your assigned Saturday game. Scheduling 124 referee positions EACH WEEK is a very demanding task; please do not make our Regional Referee Administrator’s job more difficult than it needs to be.

It is possible that you will get lucky and your game will be covered ahead of time, as we do have youth referees and new U10 adult referees who want to get their feet wet at the U8 level. If so, enjoy your found time!

Referee Requirements. Your team may fulfill its referee responsibility by everyone taking a turn, two or three willing volunteers, or one dedicated parent who wants to do them all. That is up to you and your team. ALL parents who are going to referee must fulfill certain requirements; you should get going on this now.  All U8 referees will need to:

(1) Register as a 2016 AYSO volunteer at eayso.org;
(2) Take the online Safe Haven course at aysotraining.org;
(3) Take the CDC Concussion Awareness course at aysotraining.org; and
(4) Become either a U8 certified referee or a fully certified basic Regional referee.

To become U8 certified, a volunteer is only required to take the online Basic Referee Online Training at aysotraining.org. While you need to pass this online course, we have also prepared an outline of the aspects that U8 referees need be most concerned with.  All U8 certified referees will receive a referee t-shirt and a whistle at the referee tent on game day. There will also be field training at Damon Garcia the Wednesday before the season begins, where you will be able to visit a fully functional U8 field and gain instruction on how to manage a U8 game. There will even be some short scrimmaging between players for demonstration purposes!

Volunteers are also welcome to become a fully certified referee. To do this, you must take the Basic Referee Online Training (BROT) at aysotraining.org and then attend the BROT Companion Course. The Companion Course is typically offered 2-3 times during the fall season. Fully certified referees receive a referee bag, jersey, socks, whistle, and the all-important red and yellow cards (very handy for use at home!). Referee gear orders are usually taken at the training session. You are then eligible to begin refereeing U8 and U10 games.

We Need Your Help! We know that this requirement is going to cause some angst for some and that it puts a burden on the coach to get it done. One suggestion is to get a parent volunteer to be your team’s referee coordinator, who will take responsibility for getting parent coverage for your team’s assigned games. It is also important to share with all parents that AYSO is an all-volunteer organization. Just as our coaches are parents who stepped up and volunteered, often with trepidation and arm-tugging, we need other parents to take on the referee component in order to make our program work. And who knows? You may find that you enjoy it! Really.

Thank you for all you do and your support of AYSO and our players!