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Youth development is the central focus of the AYSO Region 345 program. This includes development of youth whether they are soccer players or soccer referees. All the AYSO Region 345 guidelines and policies on providing a "Safe, Fair and Fun" environment for players also apply to youth referees. Only "Positive, Instructive, and Encouraging" comments are allowed to be directed at youth players or youth referees. The purpose of this policy is to make clear that verbal abuse of youth referees is as unacceptable as verbal abuse of youth players and to adopt basic standard sanctions for improper conduct.

This policy is not intended to imply that youth referees are always "right" and the adult spectator or coach is always "wrong". Just as youth players will make mistakes during play, youth referees will make mistakes in officiating, particularly in the younger divisions where they are learning how to referee. In addition, sometimes youth referees are "in over their head" because of a particularly challenging game, an assignment beyond their experience or comfort level, etc.

Policy on AYSO Region 345 Youth Referee Abuse

1.It is never acceptable to abuse youth referees verbally or otherwise, in any situation. AYSO Region 345 will not tolerate any verbal or other abuse or criticism of a youth referee by any coach or spectator. Abuse includes any verbal or other conduct, which is defined or characterized as abusive conduct under the AYSO National Guidelines.

2.Should such abuse occur, the incident will be reported immediately by the AYSO Region 345 Regional Referee Administrator who will implement the "AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Sanctions for Youth Referee Abuse."

3.Any AYSO Region 345 Board Member or AYSO Region 345 certified adult referee shall, if necessary, intervene if any coach, spectator, or other adult is abusing a youth referee, verbally or otherwise and may take immediate appropriate action to include directing the offender to leave the site, and/or to suspend or terminate the game. Handling general dissent is part of the referee's job. If the offensive conduct constitutes dissent rather than abuse and the youth referee appears to be managing the dissent appropriately, no intervention is necessary. However, serious, repetitious dissent to provoke an argument shall be regarded as a type of abuse and is deemed unallowable and will be dealt with according to the AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Sanctions for Youth Referee Abuse.

4.A Coach may only communicate in a positive way with a youth referee.

The coach is responsible for ensuring all spectators follow the AYSO Region 345 Guidelines relating to communication with a youth referee. A coach/ spectator may not express disagreement or dissatisfaction with the youth referee's officiating.

5.AYSO Region 345 adult volunteers (any coaches, Board Member, other referees, Division Commissioner, etc.) shall report any incident of youth referee abuse to the AYSO Region 345 Regional Referee Administrator within 24 hours of the incident.

6.There are appropriate avenues for coaches or spectators to share concerns about the quality of officiating. The AYSO Region 345 Referee Staff welcomes constructive comments about youth referees. However, any criticism or critique of a youth referee's performance may only be communicated to the youth by the AYSO Region 345 Regional Director of Assessment, a designated AYSO Region 345 Referee Mentor, the AYSO Region 345 Youth Referee Director, or the AYSO Region 345Regional Referee Administrator. A Coach or Spectator should not, before, during or after a game, discuss with the youth referee the coach's critique of the referee's performance, other than to thank and compliment the referee.


1.The AYSO Region Regional Referee Administrator, upon receipt of any reported abuse of a youth referee shall investigate the incident and shall implement appropriate discipline, before the next game if possible. The offending person and the AYSO Region 345 Division Coordinator, AYSO Region 345 Regional Coach Administrator, AYSO Region 345 Regional Referee Administrator, AYSO Region 345 Regional Commissioner, AYSO Region 345 Youth Referee Director, and the AYSO Region 345 Child Protection Advocate shall be notified of the disciplinary action.

The following sanctions will be applied until and unless modified by the AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee convened to hear the matter:

  i. Verbal Abuse of a youth referee (serious, repetitious dissent to provoke an argument, criticism or demeaning language, but which doesn’t include offensive, insulting or foul language)-first offense
  1 game/week suspension  
  ii. Serious verbal abuse of a youth referee (e.g. using offensive, insulting, or foul language Or repeated incident of less serious abuse
  2 game/week suspension- AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee hearing to consider additional sanctions and/or remedial actions  
  iii. Stepping onto the field or other threat to a youth referee (by word or action)   4 game/week suspension– AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee hearing to consider additional sanctions and/or remedial actions and, if required by a letter of apology to the youth referee, any specified form of appropriate apology to the player, coaches and parents of the teams affected by the conduct.

2.The AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee when determining whether a lesser level of sanction should be applied take immediate and sincere remorse on the part of the offender into account.

3.Egregious offenses (e.g. repeated of multiple abusive situation, physical contact with a youth referee, or Exceptionally inappropriate misbehavior directed toward a youth referee) shall result in immediate and continuing suspension of the offending person pending an AYSO Region 345  Disciplinary Committee hearing. The AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee will determine if further or more serious discipline is warranted. An egregious offense violates the fundamental mission of AYSO Region 345 and requires strong action. Discipline may include, but is not limited to, suspension for the season, suspension for multiple seasons, taking referee training, referee a set number of games, or other remedial education and training), or expulsion of the person and/or their child from further participation in AYSO Region 345.

4.A suspended parent or other non-coach may not, during their suspension, attend a game of the team at who’s game the conduct occurred; that adult may attend other children’s games in other age groups. A suspended coach may not, during the suspension, attend any game for the team at whose game the condut occurred. The coach may attend practices of that team and games of other teams unless notified of additional restrictions by the AYSO Region 345 Regional Referee Administrator or the AYSO Region Disciplinary Committee.

5.The AYSO Region 345 Regional Board of Directors shall be notified of all suspension at its next regular meeting and shall, subject to any further action of the AYSO Region 345 Disciplinary Committee and any right of appeal, enforce the disciplinary action.

6.These sanctions apply only to the discipline of adult spectators or coaches. This policy doesn’t apply to AYSO Region 345 players or youth (under age 18) spectators.

7.These sanctions do not limit, prevent, or replace any voluntary or required report or referral of improper conduct, by any adult toward any child , to any law enforcement or child protection agency.

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