For Coaches

Welcome, coaches!

This page is designed to give you insight into how referees are trained and the factors that contribute to the decisions made during matches.

Introduction to the Laws of the Game / Training for New, Entry-Level Referees

U.S. Soccer provides online learning modules that mirror the content delivered during the training of new, entry-level referees:

U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives

The U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives are now MANDATORY for all WVSA member leagues and events, as of August 1, 2017

Recent Changes to the Laws of the Game

How are referees taught to interact with coaches?

U.S. Soccer instructs referees to interact with coaches politely and professionally.  If, however, a team official's behavior becomes irresponsible and interferes with or undermine's the referee's ability to manage the game, U.S. Soccer directs referees to use the "Ask, Tell, Dismiss" approach -- 
  1. Ask the coach or team official to behave responsibly, but if the irresponsible behavior continues, then
  2. Tell the team official that continued bad behavior will result in a dismissal, and finally, if the irresponsible behavior does not stop, then
  3. Dismiss the team official from the field and its immediate surroundings.
Referees are not obligated to follow every step of this process and may bypass one or more steps when dealing with egregious behavior.

Unless local league policy directs referees to use yellow or red cards during the process, the referee will ask, tell or dismiss without showing a yellow or red card to the team official.  It is therefore important for coaches to recognize and comply with the directions of the referee, who might use phrases such as these examples:
  • "Coach, you've said your peace.  We're moving on now." (Ask)
  • "Coach, I'm asking you to stop that behavior." (Ask)
  • "Coach, the referee saw it differently and is closer to the play than we are." (an Ask from an Assistant Referee)
  • "Coach, if you want to stay, you need to stop that behavior." (Tell)
  • "Coach, if that behavior does not stop, I will have no choice but to dismiss you." (Tell)
  • "Coach, is there anyone else available to coach your team should you be dismissed?" (Tell)
  • "Coach, if you continue, I will call the referee over here to dismiss you." (a Tell from an Assistant Referee)
A coach or team official who is dismissed must leave the immediate surroundings of the field (i.e., out of sight and sound of the field). It is not acceptable for a dismissed team official merely to sit or stand among the spectators for the remainder of the game.  The game will not resume until the dismissed team official has departed. 

If the dismissed coach or team official refuses to leave, the referee is directed to terminate the match and file a report with the league or competition authority as well as with the WV Soccer Association state office.  In addition, coaches or team officials who are dismissed must serve a minimum suspension of one game from the next regularly scheduled match of the team with whom the dismissal occurred, per WVSA Administrative Rule 4.2.2 (see the WVSA Administrative Rule Book, Chapter Four).

What makes a tackle a foul?  A yellow card?  A red card?

The Laws of the Game direct referees to asses whether a tackle was made fairly (no foul), carelessly (foul), recklessly (foul + yellow card) or with excessive force or brutality which endangers the safety of the opponent (foul + red card).  U.S. Soccer offers the following short video clips to help with these distinctions:

What are the current instructions to referees regarding Offside?

When is contact between the ball and hand or arm considered a Handball?  When does a Handball receive a yellow card?  A red card?

Is there a young referee with whom you are impressed?

If so, nominate her or him for the WVSA Young Referee Academy or as the Young Referee of the Year >>

Do you have a concern about a referee that you wish to report?

If so, the Referee Assignor for your local league should be your first point of contact.  See the WV League Referee Assignor Contacts page >>