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AYSO uses the same philosophies as we do with the recreation players around positive coaching and development.  Our referees are in development and leaning the game just as the players.  To incentivize participation,  AYSO Region 1612 pays referees.  Referees are as critical to soccer as players and coaches. In AYSO, the game can’t be played if there aren’t enough referees. AYSO Referees will learn the rules, develop their own techniques for managing players, coaches and fans, and gain an appreciation for how important the role of the referee is to a fun, fair and safe soccer experience. They often find it very rewarding to expand their knowledge and experience through AYSO’s advanced training and certification process. AYSO’s referee training is considered some of the best in the U.S. and includes both in-person courses in your community and online opportunities. Soccer knowledge is a plus, but is certainly not required. The AYSO referee training will give you all you need to know to have a terrific experience on the field.


Vlad Rabinovich
Referee Administrator
📧 [email protected]

Referee Mailing List

How To Become a Referee

Referee Sign-up Steps

Step 1  –  Volunteer Application

Step 2  –  Referee Pre-requisite Courses

  • AYSO’s Summary of the Laws of the Game (30 minutes - 1 hour)
  • AYSO's Safe Haven (1 - 1.5 hours)
  • CDC: Concussion Arareness (1 hour)

Step 3  –  Regional Referee Training

Two ways to complete Regional Referee Training

  1. Take an 8 hour classroom/field course called In-Person Regional Referee Training and pass the test. Sign up at
  2. Take both the online course Regional Referee Training Online Course (and pass the test) AND attend a field clinic with the Referee Administrator. Sign up at

Step 4  –  Signup for Game Assignments

Sign-up for the Please use the following link to join AYSO Region 1612 assignment site:
To join AYSO Region 1612, you should use authorization code TAG14OE4 when prompted.

Then, under 'Personal > My Availability' menu option set your availability for each game day.

AYSO Atlanta Region Rules

Please, be flexible and remember that our job is to keep the game Safe, Fair and Fun.

Work with our coaches if certain exceptions need to be made: 

  • In extreme heat, if both coaches agree the referee can shorten the halves by up to 5 minutes each. 
  • In the event one or both teams are short players and both coaches agree, sides can be smaller.

Here is a brief summary of some key points:

  • There will not be official Quarters.  A substitution break will be announced by the ref when the ball is out of play closest to halfway through the 1st Half, and halfway through the 2nd Half.  The clock will continue to run during these breaks.  This means coaches will need to have their subs ready, have a quick water grab by the players remaining on the field, and then get the game re-started.  This is not intended to be a coaching break—2 minutes, max.  To recap, substitutions only at:  halfway through the 1st Half, Halftime, halfway through the 2nd Half.
  • Injured players that need to come off the field can be substituted for immediately but won’t be able to return until the next substitution break / half. 
  • No intentional headers in any Division. 
    • Infraction results in: Indirect Free Kick to the opposing team.
  • Build-out lines will be enforced for 10U & older.
  • GK punts are OK in Upper Division Girls & Upper Division Boys only.
  • For divisions with GKs (10U & older), penalty kicks will be enforced for direct free kick fouls inside the penalty area.
  • For 10U & older, offside Law will be enforced.

Are you aware of 2019-2020 season's law changes?

The following summarizes the main Law changes for 2019/20 with an explanation for the changes (in alphabetical order).
A full list of changes can be found here.

Dropped ball - Laws 8 & 9

  • If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper
  • If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch
  • In all cases, all the other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5yds) away
  • If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded

  • The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents’ half) or an aggressive confrontation. Returning the ball to the team that last played it restores what was ‘lost’ when play was stopped, except in the penalty area where it is simpler to return the ball to the goalkeeper. To prevent that team gaining an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball, must be at least 4m (4.5 yds) away.
  • It can be very unfair if a team gains an advantage or scores a goal because the ball has hit a match official, especially the referee.

Free Kicks - Law 13

  • When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, the attackers are not allowed within 1m (1 yd) of the wall; an attacker less than 1m (1yd) from the ‘wall’ when the•kick is taken will be penalised with an indirect free kick
  • When the defending team takes a free kick in their own penalty area, the ball is in play once the kick is taken; it does not have to leave the penalty area before it can be played

  • Attackers standing very close to, or in, the defensive ‘wall’ at a free kick often cause management problems and waste time. There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’•and often damages the image of the game.
  • The experiment where, at a defending team free kick in the penalty area, the ball is in play once it is kicked and does not have to leave the penalty area, has produced a faster and more constructive restart. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area and at least 9.15m away until the ball is in play. The same change has been made to the goal kick (see Law 16).

Goal Kick - Law 16

  • The ball is in play once the kick is taken; it can be played before leaving the penalty area

The experiment that at a goal kick the ball is in play once it is kicked, and does not have to leave the penalty area, has created a faster and more dynamic/constructive restart to the game. It has reduced the time ‘lost/wasted’ including stopping the tactic of ‘wasting’ time when a defender deliberately plays the ball before it leaves the penalty area knowing that all that will happen is the goal kick will be retaken. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play

Handball - Law 12

  • Deliberate handball remains an offence
  • The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be a free kick:
    • The ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand/arm
    • A player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touches their hand/arm•and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
    • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger
    • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

  • The following will not usually be a free kick, unless they are one of the above situations:
    • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/near
    • The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger
    • If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger)
    • If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a team-mate but the ‘clearance’ fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball

Greater clarity is needed for handball, especially on those occasions when ‘non- d•eliberate’ handball is an offence. The re-wording follows a number of principles:
  • Football does not accept a goal being scored by a hand/arm (even if accidental)
  • Football expects a player to be penalized for handball if they gain possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm and gain a major advantage e.g. score or create a goal-scoring opportunity
  • It is natural for a player to put their arm between their body and the ground for support when falling.
  • Having the hand/arm above shoulder height is rarely a ‘natural’ position and a player is ‘taking a risk’ by having the hand/arm in that position, including when sliding
  • If the ball comes off the player’s body, or off another player (of either team) who is•close by, onto the hands/arms it is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball
  • When the GK clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball into play, this shows no intention to handle the ball so, if the ‘clearance’ attempt is unsuccessful, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball without committing an offence

Kick-Off - Law 8

  • The team that wins the toss can now choose to take the kick-off or which goal to attack (previously they only had the choice of which goal to attack)

  • Recent Law changes have made the kick-off more dynamic (e.g. a goal can be scored directly from the kick-off) so captains winning the toss often ask to take the kick-off. 

Penalty Kick - Law 14

  • The team’s penalty taker can have (quick) treatment/assessment and then take the kick
  • The goalkeeper must not be touching the goalposts/crossbar/nets; they must not be moving 
  • The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line

  • It is unfair if the kicker needs assessment/treatment and then has to leave the field and cannot take the penalty kick.
  • The referee must not signal for the penalty kick to be taken if the goalkeeper is touching the goalposts, crossbar or net, or if they are moving e.g. the goalkeeper has kicked/shaken them
  • Goalkeepers are not permitted to stand in front of or behind the line. Allowing the goalkeeper to have only one foot touching the goal line (or, if jumping, in line with the goal line) when the penalty kick is taken is a more practical approach as it is easier to identify if both feet are not on the line. As the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick.

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AYSO Atlanta Region 1612

500 Englewood Ave SE 
Atlanta, Georgia 30315

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 404-536-3209
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