Referees and the Laws of the Game

Rules of Soccer

One of the wonderful things about soccer is that it is a reasonably simple game.  As such, it’s fairly easy to understand as a new coach or as a parent whose child is playing for the first time.  However, there are some subtleties to certain of the rules that are worth a look before you take your team or your child out onto the field for their first game. 

Soccer’s rules, known as the Laws of the Game, are intended to keep the game safe and fair for all of the players on both teams.  Soccer is somewhat unique in that referees are given some flexibility to use their judgment in applying the Laws of the Game, and they are often called on to make split second INTERPRETATIONS of situations.  Making these judgments can be extremely difficult at times depending on the nature of a given game or the conditions (weather, field, etc.) under which a game is played. 

The subjective way in which soccer referees are required to apply some Laws of the Game often leads to confusion, frustration, or unrest among coaches and supporters.  We have done our best to include the things that may require clarification below.

Click here to download a copy of the Laws of the Game at US Soccer’s website 


If you have a question about the Laws of the Game, feel free to e-mail it to us by clicking here.