As an AYSO Intermediate Ref, currently working on my Advanced Badge, I was reviewing your Guide to Proceedures.  Under the kick off section, on page 9, you indicate “…starts watch and signals for the kickoff to be taken”.  Is this really correct?  Law 8 states, and a prior instructor had taught me, that the game starts only once the kick off has been taken.  I was originally instructed that you don’t start your watch until the ball moves, as this indicates the start of the game.  Should the USSF Guide To Proceedures actually state “Signal for the kickoff to be taken; once taken, start watch”, or is your current Guide correct to indicate start the watch first?

Please advise,

USSF answer (July 17, 2009):
While we formerly taught that the referee should wait to start the watch until the ball had actually been put in play, we have found that this distracts the referee from watching all that goes on at the actual first kick in the kick-off process.  Therefore, we recommend that referees start their watch and then blow the whistle.  The referee is thus more assured of seeing everything that occurs as the ball is put into play.

If you are worried about the proper amount of time, you can always add that particular second to the time to be added at the end of the period.  Although many referees are encouraged NOT to add time by the rules of competition or by their own mistaken ideas, no game in the world has ever finished without the need for some amount of added time.  Time is lost for numerous reasons throughout each period of play.

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