Soccer Referee Mentors
Mission 2018
Entry Level
Rotary Engine
of Entry Level
101, 102,
103 (Ninja Mentoring)
104 (Scrimmage Game)
A Mentor's Notes/Form
* Print it
* Save it
* Send it
The Compliment
A Powerful Teaching Tool
To Learn It,
Teach It

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Where You Officiate Matters, Where You
Take Entry Level Training, Matters Even More!
2 Booklets Speed Up Training Resource Links

For Beginners, Practice Should Precede 'Refing.'

male mentor
WELCOME, and please accept my salute to you and to all who have been involved in setting up Mentor programs, where a Mentor can jump into action at the fields. Setting up a program is a BIG challenge, but not as tough as recruit, train and maintain process for new ones. Our salute goes to those who are doing that well because a Mentor is truly a brilliant contribution to the training CHALLENGE, how to bring new Refs into acceptable 'job ready' status......

What this relatively brief EXPERIENCE WITH MENTORS has shown us is that optimal new Referee training reaches its apex IN THE GAME ITSELF, in at least two scrimmages that occur before the Season begins...and other scrimmages that become available after that. It is in these games, that Mentors get to impart the Art of Refing by coaching,supporting,re-directing our new Refs.

Many now see the best way to finish the training at the field lies in AT LEAST 2 mentored scrimmage games before the season begins. Typically, these games often occur on a single weekend prior to the season's first scheduled games. This is a most opportunistic time for player training too-Coaches scramble to get scrimmage games before the season begins...A SALUTE goes to Coaches because they do this all the time...Taking the initiative to include/officiate in at least two(2)Mentor-supervised scrimmage games falls clearly onto the Referee Coordinator ....prior to the soon-to-be licensed Referees receiving their badges.

This Snapshot Summary of today's New Ref training is beginning to look 'old school' in that 'c' is becoming more integrated into Local League Training Plans:
        a) An Instructor imparts knowledge of the Laws of the Game, certifies this achievement, issues the badge
        b) Conduct a Field Session with emphasis on Location on Field,Movement,Proper Signals...
        c) PLAN for a 2-Game(per new official) Mentor-supervised PRE-SEASON PRACTICE at Refing
        d) Mentors are typically deployed to observe from the touchline & teach at ½ time & end of the game - more on other popular Mentor formats= reviewed in Chapter 3: 101, 102, 103-aka 'Ninja' or 'Unbridled Mentoring'), 104 Jamboree Style

It's hard to 'sell the call' when you don't know what you are doing; hard to manage the game for players' safety and to fairly apply the LOTG if you don't know how to do what you'll soon be doing.This is precisely where at least 2 mentor-supervised games can deliver that training!

In many cases, mentors are like the urgent field technicians deployed to arrive on the scene of an 'accident.' Soccer Tips & TechniquesThe 'accident' being less than optimal Refing due to the absence of PRACTICE. New referees have a right to count on those in charge of training to deliver relevant hands-on training prior to 'real deal' Refing.

We've all seen the utter dismay of coaches when players with the potential to score 'don't finish.' Well, here we could be doing the same thing with new Referees & their parents...but 'don't finish' the training prior to the start of Refing. We cut training short and start chasing our new Refs with Mentors- in games that have a lot of meaning to players, parents and coaches -AND- it seems that we are putting the safety of players at risk every time new referees are placed into games without having first practiced the skills to be used.

The game itself brings pressure for better New Ref training

There is a noticeable trend even with 'entry level' teams which deepens our need for action: players are coming into the sport at stronger skill levels and with a greater sense of how the game is played than ever before. Today's new players need & deserve better trained new referees.

We have the Good Example of Coaches To Follow
We should follow a formula that works so well for coaches:
Practice Precedes don't practice, you won't be in the game.....
Coaches provide the consistency and predictability of training that is so necessary for any new player. On the other hand, Referees are given a 'get out of jail' card to skip practice. Why do we do this? Our formula ought to be similar to that of the Coaches:
Practice Precedes Refing.

  The Operative Concept Here is to develop a cohesive TRAINING PLAN, a 'combo' of Class Learning and experiential learning in mentor-supervised pre-season games. The good news is this: it is now within our realm of expertise to adopt Step "c" and it will take all of us to correct and maintain this new direction in training in every soccer league in the country.

We begin Locally, it takes the full support and cooperation of five(5) key 'players' to achieve optimal relevant training: Assignor, Referee Coordinator, Coaching Coordinator, Mentor Coordinator, the League President.

By skipping Step "c", we are 'kicking the can down the road' and new refs are in that can. Most of us know that for many years, we've advised new referees, ' get better as a referee, get games, lots of games...' If we had been heeding our own advice -as we now know how to do- 'chasing the problem' would not be the serious issue that it is today. Luckily, forward movement can now be seen with the new emphasis in adding A FIELD SESSION to New Ref training, where various Refing skills can be shown BUT solid progress will be the most noticeable when New Refs are Mentored in Pre-Season Games which then becomes the norm. Lastly, it ought to go without saying, but for those who might think otherwise, we are not genetically engineered to bi-pass or not need practice.

To deal with this, we should not play the‘blame game’

I must plead guilty to having done this in the past as I used to think that " those at the top" were solely responsible for creating pre-season in-the-game training... hence, I've recently come to realize that 'those at the top' have actually done exactly what we asked them to do, artfully teach the Laws of the Game. But, we can urge them to have Soccer Leagues set up pre-season in-the-game training.

However, it seems that TRAINING PLANs(those without pre-season training in games) don't go away quickly...we suspect that advancement forward across the nation will hasten when 'those at the top' also speak up about the need for PRE-SEASON PRACTICE. Referees tend to be 'obedient' by nature...we tend to follow those in authority above we really do need 'those at the top' to get on board to redefine New Referee training, to move it beyond the theoretical approach ( take the Class,pass the EXAM,to be considered 'good to go'). If 'those at the top' actively guide/direct us to stop accepting partial training as the norm, we'll see very desireable improvement in New Ref performances & referee longevity.

---------------------- We have to stop treating ourselves this way ----------------------


Any resemblance of Pogo's shirt to a Referee's Shirt is
strictly coincidental, and now that you noticed,
the important part of the graphic is what he has to say.
Translation: We created the training problem and WE
Must Solve it. Until we do, we are standing in our own way.

There's a proven 'work around' available  
Things don't have to be this way anymore & the path to real training isn't as painful as some might think it is.
The solution is Board Mandated, Required minimum of at least 2 Pre-Season games of Entry Level Officiating AND, it seems feasible & very inviting to have our Entry Level Licensing Class participants Officiate in at least two(2)scrimmage games as part of requirements to receive their Badge.

Why Board Mandated?  
1. Leadership Turnover: a Board mandated training event in local soccer leagues cannot  be deferred /delayed or abandoned due to the interest level or turnover of League Presidents / Referee Coordinators / Assignors/ Mentoring Program Coordinators, etc.  Entry level training should never take ‘second seat’ to the realities of leadership turnover.
2. Law 18. Boards of Directors have two(2) training constituencies: players and new referees. Pre-season scrimmage game training benefits both.
3. Law 18 Again. It’s the professional & right thing to do.
4. History has shown us that when training is OPTIONAL, attendance is low. Inconsistent Referee training will yield inconsistent officiating. It gets worse, those who do not attend still get as many games as they want.
5. If the LOTG Licensing Classes are the ‘Yin’ then Pre-Season Mentor-Supervised Scrimmage games are the ‘Yang’
  Cohesive Training Plan In Balance Cohesive Training Plan in Balance
It Is Not Difficult To Create A Pre-Season  
Former & Current Soccer League President and still Coach & Referee, Tino Silva, says:
Current Coach Coordinator and Referee, Matt Heintz, says:
“I was president of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League Board of Directors when a proposal for a required annual Pre-Season scrimmage game Jamboree was discussed & voted in during a single Board meeting.   Coaching Directors, Referee Coordinator, Assignor and Mentoring rogram Coordinators took it from there.  We haven’t looked back, it was a smashing success.  I was then and still am a coach and a USSF referee. This is one of those ‘no brainer’ decisions that Santa Clara intends to keep: Every coach that I’ve talked to has spoken positively of the Jamboree and the noticeable improvements observed in u8-10 recreational & competitive refereeing.”

“As a coach, USSF referee and current Santa Clara YSL Board President, we will again host the pre-Fall referee training Jamboree. Coaching Coordinators / Referee Coordinators / Assignors & Mentoring Program Coordinators do all the work, while players/refs benefit. My job is to remind the Board that it’s on our agenda and to see that all the proper resources and league administrators make it happen. I’ve inherited a great legacy & it is working out very, very well. Both of my boys are referees too- all three of us have benefitted greatly from this Program.”
Mentoring Program Coordinator, Referee Coordinator and coach, Bob Sherman( who initiated their 1st annual Pre-Season weekend of mentor-supervised scrimmage games) says: Former Referee Coordinator, Referee, Referee Treasurer, Casper Otten, says:
"It's a night and day comparison between refs with at least 2 mentor supervised games & those with none. I've spoken to coaches both from our league and from leagues that have no mandated ex-classroom training requirements for new-referees and the response overwhelmingly agreed that our league's rookie refs are far better prepared and far more professional in their signals and skills. The fact that this is a Board- mandated annual Jamboree means that we'll continue to have this pre- Season practice, even though we are currently in a transition period of losing the Referee Coordinator( me! ) Somehow, with a bunch of other really committed mentors, we'll pull it off; we always do. We support the decision to make it an annual pre-season League event-that way it will happen regardless of turnover in key referee department positions." "After a few years of being the referee Soccer Mentorscoordinator
and assignor, I was finally able to fill the slots for the games for our league. But the quality wasn't there. Most slots at the lower level games were being filled by referees right out of the licensing class. Something was missing. After many discussions, we came up with the Mentoring program idea--not a new idea, but new in the world of the beginner referee. While there were doubters, and several iterations that didn't work as well, we now have a program that has buy-in from the league's Board of Directors, coaches, parents, and most importantly, the referees themselves. And many of these referees express relief and thanks for having to go through a program like this, so that they feel more at ease and competent at their first "real" game."
Former California Youth Soccer Association Director of Coaching, Karl Dewazien, says:
"I know that youth coaches will cooperate because they love the idea of pre-season games which give them stress-less opportunities to prepare their team for their upcoming season. Back in the day, as a former USSF Referee, I went through entry level training the 'old fashion' way which amounted to failing my way toward acquiring Assistant Referee & Center Referee skills. Sadly, this 'traditional method' continues to be used in many leagues throughout the country. The creation of a PRE-SEASON, Mentoring Program, for NEW REFEREES is FUNdamentally sound and should be implemented immediately."
Former National USSF Instructor - FIFA Referee & Player, the late Bob Evans,with permission from his blog: "For the Integrity of the Game":
http:// refereeing/ 2008/04/ solutions-par-1.html
"...what I would do to improve the referee program, I must give credit where it belongs to the ancient Egyptians, for they discovered
something fundamental that applies to any educational system: You can't build a pyramid from the top down. Let me explain... A frequent complaint among referee administrators across the country is that a great deal of attention and money is devoted to training at the higher levels at the expense of training among the rank and file in youth and amateur soccer. I don't have any numbers, but I do hear the complaints. Hence my praise of the Egyptians; they didn't try to build the massive structures from the top down...So what would I do? I would redesign the training of referees from the ground up."
Ronald Ruschmann, A Mentor from Junior United Soccer Association in Yorba Linda, CA,says:
"I am a Mentor with Junior United Soccer Association in Yorba Linda, CA. Your website has been very helpful. Mentors working with new referees during pre-season games has been most helpful in our organization. Every fall, we have Friendship games with no scoring, no standings; just coaches learning with the new teams. Every team plays 3 games. We have, for the past 2 years, used the Friendship games, U10 to U14 groups, as training ground with new refs. It does make a difference.
A/R Mentors shadow 2-3 new A/R's; we have even had 4 teams, 1 on each quadrant with their Mentor. We encourage 4 training games; if they meet the requirement, JUSA may supplement fees for Grade 8 Clinic. We have used 2 modes for Center training; shadowing on the field works well for the new center in order to develop confidence. 2 way radio communication with the mentor off field is used for advising the center's positioning during the game; this works best after the center has done a few games.
Great work with the website. Will continue to enjoy and learn. "
Former California Youth Soccer Association Director of Coaching, Karl Dewazien, adds:
"...this is absolutely right on ...Youth soccer games today are no longer just FUN weekend activities played in front of maybe Mom or Dad and a volunteer coach. The games have become contests played in front of massive and emotional audiences who, in many cases, create stressful playing environments. It is totally unfair to send a newbie-referee into this environment unprepared and they can easily be prepared with what is being proposed here."
We can put the ‘cart(scrimmage game training ) in front of the horse(regular season games )’ where it belongs...SoccerRefereeMentors

Steps 1-2-3: a Cohesive Training Plan:
What we need and are looking for: a well defined Entry Level Referee Training Program with the following minimum elements:
Step 1:  Successful completion of the LOTG Licensing Class Education & Testing
Step 2:  Pre-Season Requirement that New Referees Officiate in minimum of 2 Mentor-Supervised Scrimmage Games
Step 3:  Mentors continuing to teach ‘in’ & ‘at’ Regular Season games **(see Chapter 3, Mentoring 101, 102, 103 )

  Spring - Sample Scheduling Fall - Sample Scheduling  

Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 1
Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 2
Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 3
Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 4
Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 5
Spring 2017 FIELD CLINIC
Spring 2018 SCRIMMAGE GAMES(weekend)

Spring 2018 Licensing Class day 6 Review / Exam /

FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 1
FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 2
FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 3
FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 4
FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 5


FALL 2018 Licensing Class day 6 Review / Exam / Badge

  ONLINE TRAINING....Soccer Leagues could schedule mentor-supervised scrimmage game training on their own after successfully participating in the field sessions AND immediately after shortened Licensing Classes that include Online Training / Testing.
  Cohesive Training Plan In Balance Cohesive Training Plan in Balance

AR Mentors( AR M )usually move up/down touchline with AR's 1,2,3 early in the game...
      -give instructions / corrections / support-compliments
Mentor rotates new AR's from #2 to 1 position, 3 to 2 position, 1 to 3 position throughout each half ; Mentor and all AR's have flags.
CR Mentor ( CR M ) works with CR from any position off the field
      - could rotate a 2nd CR into game too
      - could send ISS's(Instructional Silent Signals = at a stoppage)
from this position ( see Mentoring 103- Ninja / Unbridled Mentoring)
CR(s) /Mentor conduct Pre-Game Conference with all Referees
& Mentors attending. Proceed to positions after that.

Realistic Timetable ???  
( at local, district, regional, state and national levels)
2017 & 2018 inaugural years for soccer leagues to require new referees to officiate in a minimum of 2 PRE-SEASON mentor-supervised scrimmage games. Leagues that are still forming Mentoring Programs may co-sponsor a Training Jamboree with neighboring League(s) that have active Mentoring Program Training capabilities.
The talent is out there to do this amongst those 'at the top' & 'rank and file'
"Together, Let's Get Things Done"
What's your next step? Please take a second & send us your opinions:
*Send this website or Chapter 1 to everyone you know who cares about providing quality training for new referees
* initiate discussion and draft a complete training proposal for Board approval which would include the dual use of Scrimmage Games for Player and Referee Training.
* Launch your Mentoring Program & prepare Mentors for upcoming Pre-Season Jamboree of games; encourage neighboring leagues to follow suit
*Notify all incoming LOTG licensing class registrants of your complete training program requirements

Email Address required
I'm in favor of entry level referees officiating in a minimum of 2 mentor-supervised scrimmage games in an annual and/or bi-annual PRE-SEASON as described above
I'm in favor of entry level referees receiving badge/certification Law 18- AFTER they've been properly trained, it's just a matter of scheduling, yet major benefits...
I have other helpful Training tips/suggestions to share.


Got more info to share? Send to:
© 2018