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Keys to the Ref-Assignor Relationship
by Randy Vogt, September 24th, 2012 2:40PM

TAGS:  college men, college women, high school boys, high school girls, referees, youth boys, youth girls


By Randy Vogt

Assignors are the people who give referees and assistant referees their schedules every week so it's imperative that an official maintains a positive relationship with them. Some assignors are current or former soccer refs. Others have been involved with the game in some previous capacity such as player, coach or administrator. Some assignors, often in college and high school soccer, were referees but in another sport. I have worked for only one assignor who had no previous connection to soccer or officiating.

I’ve received games from 30 or so assignors during the course of my officiating career and can say that a few assignors crave the power that comes with being an assignor but most do not. Just like a few refs crave the power of officiating although most thankfully do not.

Assignors are very busy people so when they hand out assignments, they do not want to hear anything further about that game. They do not want to receive a turn back from the referee unless it’s an absolute emergency. They don’t want to hear a complaint from a coach or the league about the official. So it’s not surprising that a referee’s reliability along with availability and officiating ability are three of the most important aspects of a referee in the assignor’s eye.

There is no better way to get on an assignor’s “do not assign” list than by accepting a game, then turning it back when a better game comes from another assignor. The easy way around this is after accepting the previous game, close your availability with other assignors so you don’t have to turn down anyone.

The best assignors get to know the ability of each referee and what is most important to them. For me, I really don’t care about the level of play, age group or gender for youth soccer assignments and I’m very happy to be an assistant referee as well as a referee for any assignment. I too am quite busy and am very happy to officiate close to home. Other refs just want to referee the best games. So even if they can handle them, they probably will not receive assignments every week like me who is happy to officiate any type of game.

Assignments used to be done through the U.S. Mail or over the telephone. Today, most assignments are done via secure websites so it’s very important that a referee have computer ability.

If you would like to officiate more challenging games or less challenging ones, more matches or fewer matches, pick up the phone or send an e-mail to your assignor. He or she is there to help you.

(Randy Vogt has officiated over 8,000 games during the past three decades, from professional matches in front of thousands to 6-year-olds being cheered on by very enthusiastic parents. In "Preventive Officiating," he shares his wisdom gleaned from thousands of games and hundreds of clinics to help referees not only survive but thrive on the soccer field. You can visit the book’s website at

  1. David Flanagan
    commented on: September 24, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
    The best line in the story is "refs just want to referee the best games" I would add the truth, the best referees who think they are feel they are "entitled" to the best games. More accurate would be to say the referees want the game that pays the best! In addition there is far too large of a group of referees who only want the most games in a day, how they can justify that there is any fairness if refereeing 6 or 8 tournament games on any given day is a joke. The unfortunate truth is referees beg for assignments based on greed not on what is in the best interest of the game.
  1. Ron Leedy
    commented on: September 24, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.
    Great article. Besides getting to know the referee's ability, the Assignor needs to develop a respectful relationship with their Referees. I know Assignors who treat their Referees like a hungry hyena looking for a carcass. They don't attract the best Referees and their players suffer. On the flip side, a Referee who feels their above certain games won't always get the best games because their lack of loyalty to an Assignor. I have seen some U14 matches that were more enjoyable with better skilled players than some U18 even though they were at the same competitive ladder ranking. When I assign, I look for Referees who work during the game, give the players the respect they deserve and believe becoming a better Referee is a never ending path.

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