References to the Advice to Referees frequently appears in your responses to Ask a Soccer Referee. However, in a recent Northern California referee seminar, a senior US Soccer official called the Advice to Referees “archaic”, said he “never reads that stuff,” and that the 2009 Referee Program Directives were “the real world” and should always take precedence over the Advice to Referees. Can you clarify what roles the Advice to Referees and the Referee Program Directives each play?
USSF answer (May 4, 2009):
You may have misunderstood the “senior US Soccer official,” whose comment regarding management of free kicks was that the directives are more current for higher-level referees than the Advice.
The directives have the advantage of being issued on an as-needed basis, while the Advice is published but once a year.
The Advice to Referees is written to give all referees a firm foundation in the Laws of the Game and the way they are applied in officiating soccer. The Advice is entirely up to date and is not in any sense “archaic.” It is basic information aimed particularly at the lower-level referee; by the time a referee reaches the State level and beyond, he or she should have learned all these things for him-/herself.
The Referee Program Directives (and the usssoccer.com Referee Week in Review) are designed to address the issues facing referees at all levels. They highlight specific areas of focus and current U.S. Soccer initiatives designed to improve performance and aid in the development of officials across the country.