Covid-19 Guidelines

Hopefully, everyone has received Henk's emails regarding the Covid-19 Return to Play Guidelines. For anyone who may have missed or needs to reread it, the document can be found here.

Here are the main points that apply to referees. Please commit these to memory as we all need to set the example!

  • Referees have the option to wear masks while officiating their matches

  • As much as possible, remain 6 feet away from anyone before, after, and during matches

  • Use hand sanitizer and/or wash your hands before and after matches

  • Assistant Referees should bring their own flags. No sharing of flags should take place

  • When utilizing club linesmen, have them indicate out of play by raising their hand straight up in the air (do not share flags)

  • No handshakes, hugs, high-fives, fist-bumps, elbow-bumps, or any other deliberate contact outside of gameplay. Remind players during pregame.

  • No coin toss. Home team will defend the north or east goal and will get the kick-off at the start of the game.

  • Equipment check is done at the halfway line, with teams lining up 8 feet from the halfway line and 6 feet from teammates.

  • For post-game, teams line up like in the pre-game, 8 feet away from the halfway line, across from one another, 6 feet apart from teammates. They will clap for the other team. Players can then make their way to the spectator line to clap for the spectators.

Law Updates

There are a few updates to the laws for this season (and a reminder that there were several updates last season). For a reminder of the 2019 Law Changes, view them here. For the new 2020 Law Changes, you can view them here.

Here is a summary of the 2020 Law Changes.

  • Law 11 - Offside:

    • Deliberate handball by a defending player is considered "deliberate play" for offside. Why this is important is if a defender deliberately tries to handle the ball which ends up going to an attacking player who was in an offside position the center referee can apply "advantage" and not whistle the handball offense. With this law change, the attacking player will not be penalized for being in an offside position because of the "deliberate play" by a defender.

  • Law 12 - Fouls and Misconducts

    • Handball boundary has been changed so that the part of the arm between the shoulder and the armpit is now considered to NOT be a handball. In other words, about one to two inches from the shoulder down the length of the arm is NOT considered a handball.

    • "Accidental" handballs by an attacking player are only penalized if they occur "immediately" before a goal or a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Recall that the law changes in 2019 more clearly defined handballs to try to not penalize "accidental" handballs (in the opinion of the referee). The main thing to note here is that "accidental" handballs by attackers are always penalized if it leads to a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity. Otherwise, no call is needed.

    • Any offense (not only a foul) which "interferes with or stops a promising attack" should result in a Yellow Card (YC). Remember to take the age group into consideration here for AYSO. We never show YCs at 10U and rarely at 12U (so we would only apply this law change at 14U and above)

    • If the referee plays advantage or allows a "quick kick" restart for an offense which "interfered with or stopped a promising attack", the YC is not issued.

      • Just a reminder, that if advantage or a "quick kick" is done where a RC would be given, this would then be a YC instead. Basically, the severity of the misconduct goes down by one level when applying advantage.

  • Law 14 - The Penalty Kick

    • There are several changes around cautions for keepers and the kicker, but I would say, in general, we won't be issuing cautions in AYSO matches for these infractions anyway. Read up on them so that you are aware, but just know they won't generally be applied for AYSO matches.

  • Law 10 - Determining the Outcome of a Match

    • This would only apply in the finals of our Playoffs, but YCs and warnings are not carried forward to Kicks from the Penalty Mark at the end of a tied match. Everyone enters the KftM with zero YCs (Red Cards are still carried over, though).

As always, if you have any questions about any of the law changes, feel free to reach out to us at for further clarification.

Referee Kits

Please email me at if you have not received a ref kit or if you are in need of any supplies.


If you would like to have a mentor for a match or if you would like to volunteer to assist as a mentor, please reach out to Mark Holt at; he will get you set up with all your mentoring needs!

Incentives - Help Needed

I am looking for some additional help with handling referee incentives. The referee incentive program is a program I have been trying to get off the ground but just haven't had the time to do. If you would be interested in helping out with this, please contact me at

Thank YOU

As always, thank you for volunteering your time out on the pitch! This program could not exist without all of you. If there is ever anything I can do to help make your lives as referees easier, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! Thank you for all that you do!

TC Smith
Referee Administrator
Region 1112