MVSRA Operating Guidelines

Revised Oct 9, 2016

About the MVSRA

  1. The Mid-Valley Soccer Referees Association (MVSRA) promotes interest in soccer throughout the Willamette Valley by providing referees for soccer games at all levels of competition. MVSRA recruits and trains referees, and in all of its activities, the Association promotes sportsmanship, safety, and knowledge of the sport of soccer.
  2. Additional information about the MVSRA, its governance, constitution, and frequently asked questions can be found online at

Membership and Standing

  1. MVSRA Members are Independent Contractors and are not, and shall not be deemed to be, employees, agents, or servants of the MVSRA. The MVSRA shall not provide any benefits to the referees, including but not limited to, worker's compensation insurance or unemployment insurance.
  2. Affiliate members may not vote, are not eligible for OSAA Client assignments, and are not eligible for holding an office. Affiliate members must have State mandated insurance.
  3. Emeritus members are members that cannot be assigned to any game assignment, but are still allowed to vote and fully participate in the MVSRA, including running for office.
  4. Full membership standing (not including emeritus or affiliate members) is gained by annually:
    1. Signing the MVSRA Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA)
    2. Registering with the OSAA
  5. A member in good standing has met the requirements of the MVSRA, attended a majority of meetings, and has not had his/her membership revoked or suspended by the MVSRA membership or MVSRA Executive Board.
  6. Additional information about the MVSRA membership requirements can be found within the MVSRA Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) available to members online.

Training and Testing

  1. All OSAA referees must attend six regular meetings or complete 10 hours of training per season.
  2. All MVSRA members are expected to attend mandatory training sessions and regular meetings. Attendance is taken by the MVSRA Secretary.
  3. Members who cannot attend a scheduled training session must contact the MVSRA Secretary before the meeting. Please refer to the Meetings section below.
  4. To qualify as an MVSRA official, referees and assistant referees must obtain a minimum score of 75% (75 correct out of 100 questions) on the NFHS Soccer Rules Exam through the OSAA Central Hub.

Playoff Qualifications

  1. In addition to the requirements established by the OSAA, to qualify for playoff matches (including play-ins, league playoffs, and any OSAA state championship event),referees must attend a minimum of four training sessions (obtainable by attending regular meetings and/or other training opportunities hosted or approved by the MVSRA).
  2. Playoff qualified referees are subject to approval by the MVSRA Executive Board.
  3. Championship officials are determined by the Executive Board.
  4. Any playoff eligible referee can be selected as a championship official.
  5. Members are not selected as championship officials for consecutive years unless the previous year's assignment was as a Fourth Official.


  1. Members are expected to attend regular meetings. New referees are expected to attend a MVSRA hosted Assistant Referee Clinic, Soccer Referee 101 Clinic, or a similar clinic as approved by the MVSRA.
  2. Unexcused absences affect referee assignments; members may lose all, some, or none of their assignments, even if assignments(s) have already been accepted by the referee.
  3. In order to be excused from a meeting, members must contact the MVSRA Secretary at least 24 hours before the scheduled meeting.
  4. In case of an emergency, members should contact the MVSRA Secretary by phone or contact the MVSRA Commissioner.
  5. Acceptable reasons that constitute an excused absence include:
    1. Previously known schedule conflicts
    2. Previously known family commitments or emergencies
    3. Work related travel or emergencies
  6. Missing a mandatory meeting in order to referee a soccer game is not grounds for excusing absence.

Game Assignments

  1. All MVSRA game assignments are made by the MVSRA Commissioner, taking into consideration availability, referee rankings, meeting attendance, membership standing, and other criteria as directed by the MVSRA Executive Board.
  2. As a general practice, the MVSRA Commissioner shall work with clients in effort to modify playing schedules in order to attempt to stack varsity and sub-varsity matches at the same site or modify match start times to accommodate busy schedule days with lacking number of officials.
  3. Game assignments are made via the ArbiterSports website or by telephone in emergencies.
  4. The following terms are used in describing the scheduling and assigning process:
    1. "Assign" - The referee is chosen, based on specified criteria, to officiate a game.
    2. "Accept" - The referee accepts a game after being assigned by the MVSRA Commissioner.
    3. "Decline" - After being assigned, the referee declines the assignment.
    4. "Turn-Back" - After accepting an assignment, the referee rejects the assignment or asks to be removed from a previously accepted assignment.
  5. Members must update their availabilities continuously to minimize the number of declines and turn-backs.
  6. Assignments that have not been accepted by the published due date may be subject to reassignment and members should communicate with the Commissioner for unusual circumstances.
  7. In order to promote more accurate referee availabilities, the following penalties apply for referee declines, barring extenuating circumstances:
    1. Per each fee distribution period, each referee is allowed two (2) declines without fine
    2. 3rd decline = $5.00 fine
    3. 4th decline = $10.00 fine
    4. 5th decline = $15.00 fine
    5. And so forth, incrementing by $5.00 with no cap
  8. Officials shall not accept, nor are scheduled for, varsity matches in which a potential conflict of interest exists. Officials may choose to decline or turn-back (without penalty or fine) such assignments. For additional information on the MVSRA Conflicts of Interest Policy, please refer to the MVSRA website.
  9. Once members have accepted a game assignment, they are responsible for fulfilling that obligation.
  10. The penalty for turn-backs, barring extenuating circumstances, is as follows:
    1. Each turn-back = $10.00 fine
  11. In the event of a member declining or turning-back an assignment, it the responsibility of the member to inform the Commissioner and explain the rationale for the decline/turn-back.
  12. Fines are deducted on the next fee distribution. Members wishing to appeal their fine(s) must do so no later than 48 hours prior to the meeting in which FD checks are handed out. Appeals must be in writing and sent to the MVSRA President. The MVSRA President holds the authority to waive any decline or turn-back fine.
  13. If the amount of fines exceeds the member's net game fee on that fee distribution, any remaining amount of fines will carry over and be assessed on the next fee distribution.
  14. Except in an emergency, game assignments are not to be traded without prior approval of the Commissioner.
  15. If an emergency arises, members must follow policies in the Game-day Emergencies section below.

Game-day Emergencies

  1. If an emergency will prevent you from refereeing a match, speak directly with the MVSRA Commissioner over the phone. Do not simply leave a message.
  2. If you cannot speak with the MVSRA Commissioner directly, try to find a qualified substitute for your match. If you are successful, contact the MVSRA Commissioner and a member of your crew as soon as possible and give them your substitute's name.
  3. If you cannot find a substitute, call a member of your referee crew to tell them you will not be present.
  4. If you cannot speak with a member of your crew, call a member of the other crew at the school, or the school or team contact so that they are aware of the situation. After you have eliminated all the above possibilities, leave a message with the MVSRA Commissioner explaining what you have tried.

Referee Tardiness and Absence

  1. If an official is not present at the field and in uniform at least 15 minutes before game time, and if a pattern exists, a written warning will be issued. If the pattern persists during one season or one year, the official will be fined one-half of the game fee for each subsequent tardiness.
  2. An official who is absent without sufficient notification for a scheduled game will not be paid for that game and fined an additional amount equal to the game fee. An official who is absent without sufficient notification for two scheduled games shall be placed on probation for one year.
  3. It is the professional responsibility of other MVSRA officials to report absent or tardy officials to the MVSRA Commissioner and MVSRA Secretary, because such behavior brings disrespect to all MVSRA referees in the same manner as sloppy uniforms and sloppy officiating.

Referee Uniforms

  1. The required uniform consists of the following items:
    1. Referee jersey
    2. Referee shorts
    3. Referee socks
    4. Referee shoes
  2. New referees are required to have at least a gold, short sleeve jersey. If purchasing a second jersey, green is suggested.
  3. The acceptable referee jersey shall be the USSF referee style jerseys, short or long sleeves, and preferably the current USSF style. If an undershirt is worn, it should be black and its length should not extend beyond the jersey sleeve. The color priority of the jersey will be:
    1. Gold
    2. Green
    3. Red
    4. Black
    5. Royal
  4. During the month of October for breast cancer awareness, referees are permitted to wear pink referee jerseys as long as the entire crew wears pink jerseys.
  5. The entire crew shall wear the same jersey color. The sleeve lengths and style should also match but this is not required.
  6. Solid black shorts with a length extending down to above the knee and with pockets are preferred. No stripes, patterns, or prints.
  7. Solid black, knee high stockings topped with 3 white rings are required.
  8. Referee shoes should be black or mostly black. Cleat or turf shoes are preferred.
  9. The clothing should be clean and unwrinkled; the shoes should be clean and polished. Turf or running shoes are best for hard fields; cleats are necessary when the fields become soft and muddy.
  10. Avoid jewelry, hair styles, and warm up clothing that draw attention to you.
  11. Wear the appropriate referee badge. For OSAA games, referees are required to wear the current year's badge. A stick-on Velcro backing for the badge is made available to every MVSRA member.
  12. A black referee cap is permissible, but not recommended. Sunglasses are not allowed during the match or pregame.
  13. All game officials should bring a whistle, watch, notebook, pencil, red and yellow cards, coin, and flags to the site. Two whistles with different tones aid officiating neighboring matches; two watches with running and stopping times are advised.
  14. If you have a cell phone, bring it to the field along with your crew's contact information.

Number of Officials

  1. The MVSRA recognizes the diagonal system of control with three (3) officials as the preferred and best practice. If, however, due to a lack of available referees or by request from a client, two (2) officials may be assigned to matches and operate under the dual system of control if the dual system is allowed by competition rule. In such cases, varsity matches shall receive the priority when assigning in effort to provide three (3) officials with fewer officials assigned to sub-varsity matches if possible.
  2. At game sites with multiple games scheduled, the center referee for the varsity game will be the designated field marshal.
  3. If a referee is missing from any of the crews at a multi-game site, the field marshal shall reassign officials as to provide three (3) officials to the varsity match and two (2) officials to any remaining sub-varsity match. This reassignment may include transferring a varsity assigned assistant referee to a dual on a sub-varsity game.
  4. Note that OSAA prohibits club/volunteer assistant referees (preferring duals or singles,) while USSF prohibits dual referees (preferring single referees and/or club line judges). Club line judges on permissible USSF matches can only call ball out of play.

Pre-Game Responsibilities and Conduct

  1. The assigned center referee should contact the other members of the crew at least 24 hours before the match. At a minimum, they should discuss transportation and a meeting place, as well as known conflicts that might lead to tardiness. Additional items to include in this communication include:
    1. Referee jersey color, style, and sleeve length
    2. Transportation/weather concerns
    3. Car-pooling information
    4. And other information as necessary
  2. Referee crews are strongly encouraged to travel to distant matches together. This helps build a referee team and offers opportunities for the pregame discussion and postgame recapitulation.
  3. Referees are to arrive at a scheduled game-site at least thirty (30) minutes before the scheduled start time.
  4. The referee and assistant referees should meet off the field, and enter the field together-unless one is expected to be late.
  5. A thorough pre-game discussion among the referee crew is essential, with clear instructions given by the center referee. Questions from assistant referees are critical to the discussion. Include positioning, eye communication, flag signals, offside, goal scoring, ball out of play, free/penalty kick mechanics, responsibilities for fouls and misconduct, advantage, substitutions, time and record keeping, bench/fan management, and overall match management. All officials are responsible for knowing what to do in typical and unusual situations. Additional information about referee pregames is available online.
  6. The entire referee crew inspects the field before the match, ensuring that goals are properly anchored, nets are secured, corner flags are in place, and hazards are removed. Issues such as incorrect or unusual field markings should be brought to the attention of the home school's game-site administrator.
  7. The center referee speaks with each head coach, obtaining a roster and determining if the players are legally and properly equipped, if the home school's game-site administrator is present, and where that person is located.
  8. Referees should never address coaches or players by their names; call coaches "coach" and players by their numbers.
  9. When inspecting the field, referees should quickly glance over the players of each team to check their equipment.
  10. The center referee is responsible for ensuring the game balls are provided and comply with the laws/rules.
  11. During the coin toss, all three officials should be present. It is best to keep instructions to players at a minimum, but be pleasant and enjoy yourself.

Game Responsibilities and Conduct

  1. During the match, remember that soccer is a players' game and the officials' roles are to insure it is safe, fair, and fun. Each match is unique. Generally, officials should adjust to the level and style of play, rather than expect teams to adjust to their expectations-as long the laws/rules of the game are followed. This is difficult when teams differ greatly in skill and size-but remember that safe, fair, and fun are all important. High school soccer is an extension of the classroom.
  2. Officials should never lose their tempers on the pitch or sidelines. Resist the temptation to shout back, swear, or make insulting or snide comments to players, coaches, or fans. Also be careful with body language and tone of voice to avoid misinterpretation. Never use words or gestures that incite or degrade players, coaches, or fans, or that could be considered insulting, offensive, or abusive. Certainly never speak or act in a manner that would warrant the official a misconduct if he or she were a player.
  3. In difficult matches, when games seem to fall apart, or when participants become hostile, combative, or quarrelsome, it is crucial for all referees to maintain their self-discipline, control their emotions, and exemplify maturity, integrity, and good sportsmanship.
  4. As keepers of the game, we are held to much higher standards than players, coaches, and fans. The words for referee in French, Spanish, and Portuguese are "arbiter," "arbitro," and "juis," or judge, so consider yourself an unbiased and calm observer of conflicting human behaviors and the laws of the game. Control team and fan behavior through use of humor, brief conversation, your whistle/flag, foul calls, and red and yellow cards. In extreme situations, suspend or terminate the match.
  5. Other than a warm handshake, avoid touching players, coaches, and fans. Touching may invite criticism of your behavior, or escalate to misconducts such as pushing or holding officials.
  6. Avoid making remarks that others may consider offensive for religious, cultural, or sexual reasons.
  7. As a human, officials will make mistakes. Sometimes when questioned, it is wise to acknowledge your error with "I may have missed that one" or "You are right, I will watch for that" or "Thanks for the suggestion." Errors of judgment are one thing-but misinterpretation of the laws/rules should be addressed by continuous careful study of the rules. Missing fouls and misconduct can be reduced by proper mechanics (staying close, staying wide, anticipating play, varying position on set plays, etc.)
  8. Support the decisions of your fellow referees, even if you strongly disagree. If officials can correct a serious error of omission or commission without seriously diminishing the impression of the referee or affecting the flow of the match, consult before completing the restart. These situations should be discussed during the pregame discussion. Sometimes a brief conversation on a critical call or no-call can prevent subsequent discord between players.
  9. Officials should never make negative remarks about the officiating to anyone during the course of the match, even if they are spectators. When officials are spectators, they should remove their referee jerseys or cover them with a warm up jacket.
  10. At halftime, continue working as a team. Meet at midfield, shake hands, and either there or in an official's area, discuss positive and negative aspects of the first half and what to anticipate in the second. Do not chat with administrators, coaches, or fans-unless it is to improve game management.

Post-Game Responsibilities and Conduct

  1. When the match ends, leave the field and parking area together and promptly.
  2. Referees are not required to gather the game balls at halftime or at the end of the game.
  3. The center referee is responsible for contacting the MVSRA Commissioner if necessary and completing any required game reports. Refer to the Game Reports section below for additional information.

Game Reports

  1. If there were any serious injuries (i.e. unconscious player, player is transported by an ambulance, or a player is removed from play under suspicion of concussion,) an unusual situation that caused the game to be suspended or terminated, or a send-off or disqualification was issued, the center referee is to contact the MVSRA Commissioner by phone (call or text) immediately after the game in a safe location, away from the game site. In such cases, a game report will be required.
  2. Game reports are to be sent to the MVSRA Commissioner via e-mail within 12 hours after the game.
  3. Game reports should be factual. Keep personal opinions and witty comebacks out of your reports. These reports need to be well written with proper grammar and spell checking.
  4. Be professional and careful in what you write and how you write it; the MVSRA Commissioner usually forwards your exact remarks to the Athletic Director(s) involved. Be sure to include details and if any foul language was said, include exactly what was said. For example,
    In the 18th minute, Crescent Valley player #19, John Doe, was cautioned and shown the yellow card for dissent as per NFHS Rule 12-8-1(c).

    In the 48th minute, a Corvallis High School player was legally shielding the ball when Crescent Valley player #19 recklessly charged in from behind and pushed the opponent off the ball. #19 was cautioned and shown the yellow card for unsporting conduct in accordance with NFHS Rule 12-8-1(f). #19 was then disqualified and shown the red card for receiving a second caution as per NFHS Rule 12-8-2(c) and Crescent Valley continued the game without replacing #19.
    - Or -
    In the 49th minute, play was stopped and a throw-in was awarded. While play was stopped, WAHS player #24, Courtney Chase, violently punched an opponent, making contact with her fist. The opponent, LHS player #4, Jennifer Smith, was knocked to the ground and was bleeding. #4 then got up and pulled #24's hair while calling her a "fucking bitch." After the players separated, I disqualified both #24 and #4 for violent conduct and showed them each the red card as per NFHS Rule 12-8-2. They were removed from the field and remained within their respective team areas without further incident.
  5. The center referee should also report to the MVSRA Commissioner any problems with fields, such as erroneous markings and any potential safety hazards.


  1. As independent contractors, referees are responsible for their own accidental-medical and liability insurance.
  2. OSAA expects all officials to have medical insurance before being assigned matches. OSAA provides liability insurance through the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials, which is valid for any amateur sporting event that you are qualified by OSAA to officiate, but only for sports offered through OSAA. Indoor soccer, for example, is excluded. Referees should carefully review the National Federation of State High School Associations policy and their own insurance policies. MVSRA does not provide insurance to its members. Additional information about NFHS insurance coverage is available on the MVSRA website.
  3. USSF-certified referees are provided USSF liability insurance for USSF-sanctioned games only.
  4. The National Federation of State High School Associations provides limited liability insurance for Referee Association Officers and Commissioners.

Referee Rankings

  1. Referee rankings are used by the MVSRA Commissioner to assign referees to the most appropriate level of games (in addition to consideration of your availability, attendance at meetings, membership standing, etc.)
  2. Each official with the MVSRA is assigned two ranks, center referee (CR) rank and assistant referee (AR) rank.
  3. Your CR Rank reflects the highest level of play at which you can successfully perform as a CR. Your AR Rank similarly reflects how well you can perform as an AR.
  4. The rankings are as follows:
    1.Senior Official6A/5A Most Difficult Varsity Matches
    2.Veteran OfficialUp to 5A/4A Moderate Varsity Matches
    3.Experienced Official4A JV and Freshman, 3A/2A/1A Moderate Varsity Matches
    4.Novice Official3A/2A/1A JV and Freshman
    5.Entry Level OfficialAny Freshman and JV
  5. Rankings are determined by the MVSRA Executive Board based on direct observation, input from the Assessment Committee, and feedback from other officials. Factors that determine ranking include:
    1. Knowledge of the Game
    2. Application of the Laws/Rules
    3. Referee Mechanics
    4. Conflict Resolution Skills
    5. Physical Fitness
    6. Written Test Score
    7. Professionalism & Appearance
    8. Past Experience
    9. Assessments
    10. Comfort Level
    11. Consistency
    12. Communication
  6. New MVSRA members are automatically assigned a ranking of 5:5 (CR:AR).
  7. Rankings are re-evaluated annually by the Executive Board.
  8. Referees wishing to work higher levels of play can request an assessment. After being assessed, rankings may be re-evaluated.
  9. New officials to the MVSRA with previous soccer refereeing experience may also submit a request for an assessment including a brief description of past experience to the MVSRA Trainer for immediate rank re-evaluation.
  10. Additional information about referee rankings can be accessed on the MVSRA website.

Referee Game Fees & Mileage

  1. The current referee game fee schedule is available on the MVSRA website.
  2. Mileage policies and submission guidelines are also available on the MVSRA website.

Meeting Schedule

  1. The current MVSRA Meeting Schedule is posted and made available on the MVSRA website.

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