Palo Alto Referees are well trained and known for their fairness, skill and professionalism.
However, the following four issues need more focus.
U8 referees underestimate the importance and need for entering game data into the system. Do games turn into lopsided scores? Are weak teams being pitted against strong teams? Management has a dashboard that brings these issues to its attention; but the dashboards rely 100% on the game data being entered into the system. Be sure to enter the game data for EVERY GAME within 36 hours.
The way you conduct yourself, and the progress you make to learn to be correct in your calls, are noticed by players, coaches and parents. None of us expect you to be 100% knowledgable and correct all the time. We all learn together. But when an Assistant Referee is alert and running the touchline, or the Referee is always near the play, with crisp decisions, everyone gains confidence. Even when a call is incorrect, respect is given to the official that is visibly putting in the effort.
Intermediate and Advanced
Games can get too physical, to the extent that soccer skill doesn't win. And too often referees are letting play get too physical because both teams are physical, and they feel it is balanced. Unfortunately, the players feel compelled to get increasingly physical, until the Referee starts making calls, in order to match the opposing team as they, too, get increasingly physical. But unless the Referee steps in early and dampens the physicality, everyone loses.
Players do not like excessively physical games, even when they can dish it out. Too often, players on both teams complain about the other team's physical play, and complain about the Referee, because the game is out of control. The Referee takes the biggest hit, as both player and parent opinion after the game is negative. Referees need to err on the side of more control and less physicality in the game. Start with verbal warnings and be prepared to show a yellow card if a verbal warning is not heeded.
Intermediate and Advanced
In games with younger players, Persistent Infringement is most commonly associated with individual players when they keep committing careless fouls. Individual players may commit persistent fouls in such a way that advantage works to their favor as they consistently slow down or hurt strong players, with an accumulative harmful effect on the play of the strong player.
Teams with knowledge of Persistent Infringement as a negative gamesmanship tool sometimes use it as a team tactic to stop skillful opponents. This happens when different players take turns fouling the same opponent in order to slow down or stop a player who is playing effectively against them. In a series of team fouls for Persistent Infringement, once the Referee decides that this tactic is being used, the Referee may caution the most recent player committing the foul, even if that player previously has not committed any other foul.
Persistent Infringement is a source of frustration for all players, primarily for the ones receiving the fouls but also for the teammates. The frustration spills over to the touch lines, and the coaches and spectators tend to become an additional challenge for the Referee. To avoid this frustration and manage Persistent Infringement, the Referee should track all fouls, including those for which advantage has been applied. The Referee can do this mentally or record the fouls in the record book, and the assistant referees can help with this task. There is no specific number of offenses which constitute Persistent Infringement, so the Referee should judge and deal with possible Persistent Infringement in the context of effective game management.
Most commonly, this persistent infringement looks like defenders hacking and chopping at strikers enough to slow down and hurt them, without taking the ball. Advantage says to play on, but the game and player is harmed.