Referee Procedures/Game Info

Referees are an integral part of the MDSL and how we keep our matches fair and balance. Without referees our games would just be scrimmages so we ask that all coaches, players, and parents respect our refeeres at all times.

New for the Spring 2023 season:

  • All teams must have MDSL/MSYSA issued player cards and 2 Game Day rosters (2 copies) at each game.
  • If any time a coach asks to see a player’s pass they need to allow it and must show it to that coach with the coach from the other team present.
  • Coaches and Managers must have their pass to be on the sideline and should be visible (on a lanyard around their neck) . If it is not, allow if for now, but tell the coach that they will inform the league.

Referee Procedure to Follow

  1. Confirm game with Home Coach no later than 1 day prior to the game.
  2. Arrive at the game site 15 minutes prior to the start and in uniform. If you are running late, call the home coach.
  3. Check in with the home/away coach and/or manager. Go over details of the game (duration, ball size, special rules pertaining to small side play)
  4. Game fees will be paid out by the league. The teams will not have game fees to give you.
  5. Collect MDSL Game Day Roster from both teams and player cards. (No Game Day Roster – No player cards – No game – Forfeit). GDR/with Photo ID must have all relevant information filled out. (Game details, dates, age group, Player #’s, Coach Signature) See Sample Below. It can be in color or Black & White copies.
  6. Check in Teams, Check Player Cards, Check Names, player pictures and Date of Births, Make sure birth year is age division appropriate, if it is NOT, that Player DOES NOT PLAY – NO Player Card – That Player Doesn’t Play
  7.  Check Player Equipment. 
  8. Coaches Must SHOW their Coaching Card (see sample below) (NO COACHES CARD – NO GAME)
  9. At conclusion of game- verify score with both coaches, If any cards were given, please verify that players given cards are correct on the roster.

Referees will also need to check the Match Day Cards so that they understand the rules of each format. To review the card you can click here.

Game Reports: (Please Read and Follow as Instructed)

  • Only submit game reports and supplemental to the MDSL if your game had any issues to report. For example: cards, no shows, coach or parent issues, field issues, referee abuse, etc. NOTE – Any referee abuse incidents must be directly reported to the MDSL. Email
  • Reports and any supplemental reports must be submitted to no later than 24 hours after the game. Please make sure that you properly report in your report, game number, full player names, team names, player jersey #, along with any details on the incident.
  • Game reporting on the official website must still be completed.

MDSL Game Day Information

All games within this league shall be conducted under the FIFA Laws of the Game as recognized by the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association, USYSA, and USYSA Small-sided games.

Playing Field:

A. Size: Limitations to the size of the field, height of corner flags, goal measurements, and the required markings of the field are in accordance with the FIFA rules of the game. (For Small Sided Games specification we follow USYSA Recommended Guidelines). See MDSL Age Group Guidelines. Click here.

B. Markings: As long as games are played on MDSL playing fields then the league is responsible for ensuring that the lines are visible, correct, and that the markings are complete. If a home club is responsible for hosting then they will be responsible for proper field linings.

C. Maintenance of order: The playing field is to be protected against encroachment by the public. The home club is responsible for any disorders that may arise from insufficient protection and supervision. Both teams should be on same side of field but opposite the fans.

Player Uniforms: 

Teams shall appear in uniform attire at all games. Players who do not follow this provision may be ordered off the field by the referee. He/She must order such player off the field if, in his opinion, the dress of the player may lead to errors in judgement. Where the colors of the two (2) competing clubs are the same, the home team must change or provide satisfactory identification marks. The home club shall not be penalized for loss of time when the colors conflict.

Intentional heading for 11 and under players. The MDSL will follow the USSF referee rules that are below.  

  • Players in Under-11 programs and younger shall not engage in heading, either in practices or in games. Referees have been instructed by US Soccer of the following rule addition in the Under-11 age group and younger:
  • When a player deliberately heads the ball in a game, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the deliberate header occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the infringement occurred. If a player does not deliberately head the ball, then play should continue.

Duration of games:
Games cannot be shortened more than ten (10) minutes under any circumstances. At all times they must  have two (2) equal halves.

Waiting period: 

There will be no waiting time for games under the jurisdiction of this league.  However in the spirit of sportsmanship if both coaches and Referee agree they can allow up to 20 mins but no more for waiting time.

The referee shall have the right to shorten the intermission period between the halves, which should not exceed five (5) minutes, if the start of the game has been delayed or other reasons make it advisable. However, he/she must grant an intermission of at least five (5) minutes, if either of the competing teams requests it.

Minimum # of players, ball size, fees, etc… 

Click here

Game Day Rosters and Player Cards for MDSL GAMES 

The MDSL Game Day Roster and Player Cards (GDR/ID)  must be shown to the referee at all games. This will serve as proof that players are registered properly.  Please check pictures and date of birth.  If any player is over aged that player cannot play in the game and must be crossed off the roster.  Teams can pencil in players, but must have player cards with them.

For every game teams must have 2- copies of their GDR/ID.

  • One Copy for the Referee
  • One Copy for the Opposing Team