2019 – 2020 Law Changes

IFAB Laws of the Game changes for 2019-2020 went into effect June 1st, 2019. In Maryland, most associations (including MSYSA and MSSA) will be implementing them for their Fall seasons. Leagues starting in Maryland after August 1st should be playing under the new laws. This can be verified by your assignor.

This year’s Law changes are extensive. It is imperative that referees familiarize themselves with all of the changes. Here are links to a summary of the Law changes as well as a complete presentation of all changes and clarifications:

Summary of IFAB main Law changes for 2019-2020

MSR complete presentation of all Law changes and clarifications for 2019-2020

Important Information For All Maryland Referees

There are a large number of changes coming from US Soccer, starting July 1st, 2019, for the 2020 registration year. Over the next number of months, we will be sending information on all of these changes as they affect you. Please watch for emails from MSR Game Officials or Officials Management System (OMS) concerning changes in registration, training, assessments and other areas.

There are two things that you can (and should!) be doing as soon as possible, as these will directly affect you personally. They are:

1.) As stated in a previous email, Maryland is migrating to Officials Management System (OMS) and getting away from Game Officials for registration and training. If you have not logged into OMS yet, you need to ASAP. Here is a link to explain how to log into OMS:

You will need your 16-digit USSF ID number. If you do not know your ID number, here are instructions how to locate it:

If you have already signed into OMS, you DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS!

2.) Starting now, every referee 18 years of age and older MUST complete SafeSport training in order to officiate any games. If you turn 18 between October 2nd, 2019 to June 30th, 2020 you will have 30 days after you turn 18 to complete this Safe Sport training. This training will take approximately 2 hours and is mandatory. You are required to complete this no later than October 1st, 2019. Instructions how to access the training can be found here:

When you successfully complete training, you will receive a “SafeSport Trained” certificate. Save this certificate (.pdf file). You may need to upload it to US Soccer at a later time.

THIS IS A MANDATORY REQUIREMENT! If you do not complete this training by October 1st, 2019, you will no longer be licensed as a USSF Referee.

If you have any questions, please contact Greg Watson, SRA or Bob Reath, SDI.

Greg Watson, SRA

2019 USSF Fitness Test

June 8, 2019
9:30am – 11:00am

Reservoir High School
11550 Scaggsville Rd.
Fulton, MD 20759

We will be running the new Regional Referee Fitness Test:
Sprints: 6 sprints – maximum 6.4 seconds
Interval: 75 meter run (17 seconds) and 25 meter walk (20 seconds)
10 full laps total

Bob Reath, SDI

Register For Fitness Test

Handling Spectator Abuse

The Maryland State Referee Committee approves the following method of handling spectator abuse at MSYSA sanctioned youth matches:

If the verbal statement or gesture is abusive enough to be misconduct by a player or a coach and the spectator does it loudly enough to distract (much less scare) you, that is enough. You do NOT have to identify the spectator. Identification is the administrator, team official or coach’s job.

  1. If the conduct would warrant a yellow or red card for a player or coach, at the next stoppage, meet with both coaches together and ask them to identify the abusive spectator. Ask that they insist that the spectator limit themselves to positive comments about the players. When satisfied with the coaches’ efforts, thank the coaches for being responsible and restart play.


  1. If the conduct is repeated, stop play again. Meet with both coaches again and inform them play will resume after they have asked the abusive spectator to leave and the spectator has left the sight and sound of the field. When satisfied with the coaches’ effort and the spectator’s distance, thank the coaches for being responsible and restart play.


  1. If the coaches say there is a team liaison, monitor, manager, field marshal, or other administrator to do this, ask them to please locate this individual and request that they appropriately handle the spectator situation.


  1. If the coaches or spectator don’t comply, terminate the match and leave the field. Report it all to the assigner. The league and the MSYSA Adjudication Committee need your report to do anything further.


This 4-step course of action is a suggested method of dealing with this type of situation and is approved and supported by the Maryland State Referee Committee. Understand that you are not required to follow all 4 steps. If the conduct warrants it, you may have the spectator removed at any time. As an A/R, you need to inform the Referee if spectator issues arise. As a Referee, you must protect your A/R.

Please remember, as a Referee, you are expected to act in a professional and respectful manner at all times. In addition, referees also deserve that same respect regardless of their experience level.

If you have a problem at a game and you are not supported by the coaches, you should send an email to Greg Watson, State Referee Administrator (srawatsong@gmail.com).