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Advice for New Youth Sports Referees in the Chicago Area


Football Referee

If you’ve already taken an Official Finders sports referee course and you’re about to start your first youth sports official job in Northern IL or Northwest IN, congratulations! We hope you’re as excited to get on the field as we are to have you represent us. You may be a bit nervous before starting, which is natural. Think back to your training, however, and you’ll find that you already have what you need to succeed. Take a deep breath, read the referee tips and advice that follows, use what you’ve learned, and — this part is important — go out there and have fun!

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Getting Game Assignments

The first step, of course, is getting your assignment for game day. While you’re not obligated to take every assignment we offer, we do keep an eye on individual officials’ availability; if you’re chronically unavailable, you may find fewer opportunities open to you.


Preparing for Game Day

Playing any sport is as much mental as physical. Officiating a game is like that, too, so it’s good to mentally prepare yourself on game day.


Pre-Game Preparations

Eat a light meal before the game, and don’t drink too many liquids. You want to be satisfied and hydrated, but you don’t want to feel sluggish or feel like you need to sprint for a bathroom before halftime. Make sure your referee uniform and sports official gear are clean and ready. Show up early to give yourself time to meet up with the other officials. It’s also vital to familiarize yourself with any “house rules” that the local club or league has in place, since certain clubs or age ranges may have special rules and requirements.

During the Game

You’re likely to be responsible for check-in, which includes inspecting the players’ equipment and uniforms, making sure nobody’s playing sick or injured, and also ensuring that nobody is on or near the field that shouldn’t be. Once gameplay starts, you’ll be calling any appropriate fouls, keeping records, stopping play in the event of an injury, and keeping things running smoothly. Remember, the most important thing you can do is to stay alert and apply all that you’ve learned so that the game goes off without a hitch.

Postgame Wrap-Up