Referee Guidelines: Grades 2 & 3

Game length:

2nd Grade: four 10 minute quarters with a two minute break after quarters 1 and 3, and a 5 minute break at the half.

Remember to have the teams change ends only at the half.


Game format:

3rd grade: The games are 7v7 (one goalie with six field players, which is new for Fall 2012) on a more ‘regular’ field. Keeper can handle the ball from sideline to sideline within about 10 yards of the goal line. This boundary may or may not be marked.

Teaching the Game: Use words to help the girls understand the rules and the calls you make. You are a teacher of the game while you referee at this age. Use your whistle and your voice to help the girls keep the game moving and so they learn the rules.

Substitutions: Any stoppage of play when the ball has left the field. This means a coach can request a substitution before any goal kick, throw in, kickoff or corner kick. The coach must first get your permission. In case of an injury stoppage, any injured player may be subbed for. No subbing on free kick restarts resulting from a foul. The players must get used to restarting the game promptly after a foul has been called (assuming there has been no injury).

Kick offs: The ball must go forward and the kicker may not touch it twice (the ball must be touched by another player before the kicker can touch it again). If the ball does not go forward, have the kick redone. If the kicker touches the ball twice in a row, give an indirect free kick to the other team.

Goalies (Grade 3): Watch for goalies that roam out of what you have decided is the penalty area and then handle the ball. You can use your discretion to give a verbal warning, but you can also blow your whistle and give a direct kick to the other team for handling. Don’t worry about or make a call for the goalie who holds the ball for more than 5-6 seconds; just advise her to put the ball back in play. When the goalie has possession of the ball, all play on the ball must stop. If there is any attempt to go after the ball when the goalie has possession, blow your whistle and give a direct kick to the goalie’s team. Give a clear verbal message to a player who kicks or kicks at a keeper who has possession of the ball. Do not call ‘passbacks’ to the keeper as a violation without having given verbal warnings beforehand.

Handling: Do not call handling for balls that accidentally hit arms during the course of play or arms that are crossed over the chest. Handling is called for deliberate handling of the ball – hand or arm to the ball, not ball to hand or arm – and results in a direct kick for the other team.

Goal kicks (New policies for Spring 2012 and beyond): The only notable ‘rule change’ concerns goal kicks for these grades: in order for goal kicks to serve their intended purpose of getting the ball back into play (rather than being goal-scoring opportunities for the team that just kicked the ball out), the non-kicking team must retreat to the halfway line so the ball can be kicked and leave the immediate vicinity of the goal area. Then the non-kicking team may move forward to try and play the ball. While we would prefer for the kicking team to gain control of the goal kick and start moving the ball upfield, as long as the kick and its immediate aftermath have removed the ‘threat’ of a cheap goal by the non-kicking team, we are ‘good to go’ and play should continue. If the non-kicking team encroaches too much and does end up with a cheap scoring chance, play should be whistled dead, that team reminded to stay at the halfway line until the ball has left the goal area, and the goal kick retaken.

Fouls & Free Kicks: Remember that your number one responsibility is to insure a safe game. Pushing and tripping are fouls. Blow your whistle and give a direct kick to the non-offending team. Fouls in the younger games are almost always accidental but still need to be recognized. If you think a foul has occurred –it probably has. Have courage and have confidence — Blow your whistle loudly!! No penalty kicks at this age — no free kicks closer than five yards from the goal at second grade; maybe 8 yards at grade 3.

Drop Balls: Use a drop ball to restart a game that stopped because of injury (that wasn’t from a foul), dog on the field, baby on the field, etc.

Throw-ins: Try to avoid multiple ‘do-overs’. If it’s not too bad, let it go, but blow your whistle and have the throw-in redone if the throw is really bad. If they make the same mistake again, just allow the play to continue, but try to use your words to correct the player. If the same player keeps doing it poorly, you can blow the whistle and give the throw to the other team. Explain why the throw-in was bad. Again, avoid having the game bog down and have time wasted over this simple restart.