The New Jersey State Referee Committee schedules classes for those interesting in earning USSF certification.
To officiate Lawrence Hamnett recreation matches, you will need EITHER to attend our annual Hamnett referee clinic in late August (the most popular option), or earn USSF certification (specifically a Grade 8 or Grade 9 certification).
To officate our competitive travel league matches, you will definitely need a grade 8 or 9 USSF certification and also alert our league assignors that you are available. Grade 9 referees must be at least 14 on the first day of class, and may only work as assistant referees. Grade 8 referees must be at least 16 on the first day of class, and can work as center referees when ready. USSF courses typically require that you first study and pass an online test before attending class. Annual recertification is required.
A good primer for all youth soccer officials can be found at The Watch & The Whistle.
Teenagers interested in officiating just for the local Lawrence Hamnett recreation games, should be at least 14 by the end of the current calendar year, though exceptions are occasionally made. Visit our referee page for more information.
Some Common Myths
1) Did You Know - that The Laws of the Game are intended to provide that the games should be played with as little interference as possible, and in this view it is the duty of the referees to ignore trifling infractions?
2) Did You Know - the terms "high kick," "playing the ball on the ground," and "obstruction" do not appear in the Laws of the Game?
3) Did You Know - that it is NOT illegal for a throw-in to "spin"
4) Did You Know - that a player may remain in an offside position the whole game and NEVER be called for an offside infraction?
READ & WATCH MORE...
As a soccer referee, you can always expect to hear someone - a player, a coach, a parent - yell "hand ball" every game, even when there's no contact! And when there is contact with the ball, the chorus is even louder, but as a referee, you have to determine if the contact was deliberate. Hint: It usually isn't.
From the NCAA:
12.6.2 HANDLING. A player shall be penalized (Direct Free Kick) if the player deliberately handles the ball; that is, carries, strikes or propels it with his or her hands or arms. This does not apply to the goalkeeper within his or her penalty area. Inadvertent touching (the ball touching the hands or arms) shall not be penalized even though the player or the player’s team gains an advantage by such inadvertent touching.
From the USSF Advice to Referees:
12.9 DELIBERATE HANDLING
The offense known as "handling the ball" involves deliberate contact with the ball by a player's hand or arm (including fingertips, upper arm, or outer shoulder). "Deliberate contact" means that the player could have avoided the touch but chose not to, that the player's arms were not in a normal playing position at the time, or that the player deliberately continued an initially accidental contact for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage. Moving hands or arms instinctively to protect the body when suddenly faced with a fast approaching ball does not constitute deliberate contact unless there is subsequent action to direct the ball once contact is made. Likewise, placing hands or arms to protect the body at a free kick or similar restart is not likely to produce an infringement unless there is subsequent action to direct or control the ball. The fact that a player may benefit from the ball contacting the hand does not transform the otherwise accidental event into an infringement. A player infringes the Law regarding handling the ball even if direct contact is avoided by holding something in the hand (clothing, shinguard, etc.).
Some points to stress. Contact with the upper shoulder is OK. Whether the player gained an advantage from purely accidental contact is irrelevant. Understanding when an arm is in a normal playing position is important. Differentiating instinctive responses from deliberate choices is critical.
Myth #1: There is a persistent myth that female players may “protect the chest” by raising their arms and deliberately taking chest traps on their forearms. There is a clear difference between an instinctive movement of the arms when the ball is fired from close range, and choosing to use the forearms to make a trap. The former is legal, and the latter is not, regardless of age. If there was time to make a decision, then there was time to avoid contact with the arms.
Myth #2: There is a myth that anytime the arm is away from the body it is denying space to the opponent, so contact with the ball is considered deliberate. While this is frequently true, especially for arms raised above the head, there are instances when a players arms are outstretched in a normal position and contact may be purely accidental. For instance, a player running rapidly will have his arms swaying forward and back. A player jumping up to head a ball will have arms away from the body for balance. A player falling to the ground will instinctively use his arms to break the fall. In such cases, the referee needs to consider other factors, such as whether the player could see the ball coming and could reasonably be expected to avoid contact.