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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Welcome to AYSO Newport Costa Mesa


Keeping the Game Safe, Fair, and Fun

Why should you become an AYSO Referee? Being out on the field to work with the kids is good exercise AND great fun! If you are in Jr High or High School, you might need to earn Community Service Hours... this is a fun way to give back by helping out newer youth players!

Referees are critical to soccer - the game can't be played without them. The referee is the official in charge of the game - an independent arbiter and manager of the game. His/her authority extends to everyone at the field, including players, substitutes, team officials, spectators, and even assistant referees. 

The referee's No. 1 one concern is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players. While there is risk in all sports, the referee is responsible for minimizing such risks from field conditions, equipment, spectators, and the players. The referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game safe, fair and fun for everyone: the players, the coaches, the spectators and themselves. He interferes with the game as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses. Referees only make calls for offenses they are sure occurred. 

We want our kids to continue to play, and they keep playing as long as it is fun. Referees learn that fun soccer varies from age group to age group of players. If you are ready to become a referee, follow the Training Road Map at the top of this page, and/or contact:
~ Tim Wrubel, Region 97 Regional Referee Administrator ([email protected])
~ Bill Malecki, 11Q Area Referee Administrator ([email protected])

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: In which age divisions are players allowed to "head" the ball/control the ball using their head?

For age divisions 13U and older, players may head the ball. This age-based play restriction is meant to limit exposure to head injuries among the younger ages.
For 9U-12U, when a player heads the ball, an indirect kick is awarded to the opposing team.
For 7U-8U, indirect kicks are not utilized. Therefore, when a player heads the ball, a direct kick is awarded to the opposing team.
For younger ages, restart with a dropped ball after reminding the player to not try controlling the ball with their head.

Q: What are the Fall 2019 guidelines for the (9U-12U) age divisions?

1) For 9U to 10U age divisions, the goalkeeper shall not punt (or drop-kick) the ball
2) An indirect kick will be awarded to the opposing team at the spot of the offense if a goalkeeper for 9U to 10U deliberately punts (or drop-kicks) the ball during a match.
3) An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team’s goal area must be taken on the goal area line at the point nearest to where the goalkeeper punted (or drop-kicked) the ball.

BUILD-OUT LINE (9U & 10U) (**S11** = per Section 11's guidance as of Spring 2018)
1) The build-out line shall be placed across the field equidistant between the top of the penalty area and the halfway line.
2) The build-out line shall be used as the line to determine offside. Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the build-out line.
3) The opposing team must move behind the build-out line for a goal kick or when the goalkeeper has possession. At any time, the goalkeeper may pass, throw or roll the ball to a teammate who is behind the build-out line.
4) The goalkeeper or the player taking the goal kick does not have to wait for the opposing players to move behind the build-out line. The play from the goalkeeper or from the goal kick may be played to a teammate behind the build-out line. After the ball is put into play, the opposing team can then cross the build-out line and play may resume as normal. The first touch is from the goal kick or pass from the goalkeeper.  The ball is considered in play when it has been kicked and clearly moves.
(4a) **S11** Distributing the ball (via goal kick OR goalkeeper) beyond the build-out line is not an infraction. Remember, however, that goalkeeper punts and drop-kicks will still result in an indirect free kick to the opposing team.
(4b) **S11** If the goalkeeper releases the ball into play before an opposing team member has moved beyond the build-out line, that player may play the ball if it comes directly to them, provided they were actually retreating to the build-out line.

(Editor:) Referees should note the similarity of such an outcome to this portion of Law 13 - Free Kicks: "if a player decides to take a free kick quickly and an opponent who is near the ball deliberately prevents him taking the kick, the referee shall caution the player for delaying the restart of play." ... Although this is not a free kick scenario, the retreating team should nevertheless be in the act of retreating behind the build-out line. If they were not, referees may use their discretion to restart play in accordance with Law 5.

Q: I read/heard that 7U-8U age divisions don't have goalkeepers . Is that correct?

Current USSF and AYSO guidelines do not include goalkeepers in the 7U/8U divisions. However, the Board for Region 97 voted to continue using goalkeepers for 8U age division. We have done this for a few reasons:
1) 8U age divisions will only play games within our Region, and therefore this style of play will not differ or conflict with teams from other Regions. (for example, if a Region 97 team plays against an Irvine 8U team)
2) We want to minimize the "re-teaching" of different rules for different age divisions wherever possible, so as not to confuse players, referees and coaches alike.
3) Participating teams and families have grown accustomed to the transition to using goalkeepers at this age.

One last thing I would add here is that AYSO National also suggests KICK-INs, instead of throw-ins, to restart play when the ball passes over a touch line (aka sideline.) The Region 97 Board also voted to continue restarting play with throw-ins for the 8U age divisions, as has been done in the past.

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Newport AYSO Region 97

PO Box 1848 
Newport Beach, California 92659

Email Us: [email protected]
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