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.

IFAB Laws of the Game

  • 2019/20 IFAB Laws of the Game
  • 2019/20 Supporting Documents
    • Presentation of all changes to the Laws for 2019/20 and clarifications, including video examples
    • Changes to the Laws and Clarifications 2019/20
      • Full document [PDF]
      • Summary of main Law changes 2019/20 [PDF]

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, the 2019/20 version of the IFAB Laws of the Game empower the referee to issue a warning, a caution (yellow card) or send-off (red card):


The following offenses should usually result in a warning; repeated or blatant offenses should result in a caution or sending-off:

  • entering the field of play in a respectful/non-confrontational manner
  • failing to cooperate with a match official e.g. ignoring an instruction/request from an assistant referee or the fourth official
  • minor/low-level disagreement (by word or action) with a decision
  • occasionally leaving the confines of the technical area without committing another offence


Caution offenses include (but are not limited to):

  • clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area
  • delaying the restart of play by their team
  • deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational)
  • dissent by word or action including:
    • throwing/kicking drinks bottles or other objects
    • gestures which show a clear lack of respect for the match official(s) e.g. sarcastic clapping
  • entering the referee review area (RRA)
  • excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card
  • excessively showing the TV signal for a VAR ‘review’
  • gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner
  • persistent unacceptable behaviour (including repeated warning offences)
  • showing a lack of respect for the game


Sending-off offenses include (but are not limited to):

  • delaying the restart of play by the opposing team e.g. holding onto the ball, kicking the ball away, obstructing the movement of a player
  • deliberately leaving the technical area to:
    • show dissent towards, or remonstrate with, a match official
    • act in a provocative or inflammatory manner
  • enter the opposing technical area in an aggressive or confrontational manner
  • deliberately throwing/kicking an object onto the field of play
  • entering the field of play to:
    • confront a match official (including at half-time and full-time)
    • interfere with play, an opposing player or a match official
  • entering the video operation room (VOR)
  • physical or aggressive behaviour (including spitting or biting) towards an opposing player, substitute, team official, match official, spectator or any other person (e.g. ball boy/girl, security or competition official etc.)
  • receiving a second caution in the same match
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
  • using unauthorized electronic or communication equipment and/or behaving in an inappropriate manner as the result of using electronic or communication equipment
  • violent conduct

Where an offense is committed and the offender cannot be identified, the senior team coach present in the technical area will receive the sanction.

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 abandon 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).

Detailed information on the U.S. Soccer Concussion and Player Development Initiatives (PDI) as implemented by the WV Soccer Association as of August 1, 2017, including the Build-Out Line, the prohibition against deliberate heading at U11 and younger age groups, the prohibition against goalkeeper punts or drop-kicks in 7 v 7 games, etc.

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?

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 >>