What Type of Referee are You?

“What Type of Referee Are You?”

By: Austin M. Gomez, NISOA National Assessor, Missouri.

We in NISOA have all watched soccer games on television, or have gone to either college or high school soccer games, where we have said to ourselves that we hoped that we could learn to officiate like that Referee who we just saw. One way to reach that goal is to identify the type of Referee you want to be like, and then work towards that goal. This article is about identifying the type, so that you can accurately set your goal.

Psychologically speaking, ask yourself what type of Referee are you now, and what type would you like to be in the future. To help with that process, I have compiled a list of twenty-six descriptions of Referee types, based on slogans, logos, and mottos of a number of institutions, companies, and products with which you are familiar and which you can readily compare to Referee characteristics, both good and bad. You can choose from this list by check-marking the ones that you identify as among your desired player and game-management skills goals, and also the types you wish to avoid (by leaving these unmarked) because these would not be effective for your style of officiating.

ARMY Referee                                       AT&T Referee

U.S. COAST GUARD Referee            KFC Referee

MARINE Referee                                   THOMAS PAINE Referee

NOAH Referee                                        McDONALDS Referee

HAWAII FIVE-OH Referee                 GEORGE WASHINGTON Referee

MAGNUM PI Referee                            MICHELOB Referee

BUDWEISER Referee                            LOUIS ARMSTRONG Referee

DWI Referee                                             MASTERCARD Referee

STOCK MARKET Referee                     B.F.HUTTON Referee

LEXUS Referee                                        MATADOR Referee

FORD Referee                                          ADIDAS Referee

NIKE Referee                                           GILLETTE Referee

VISA Referee                                            MAFIA Referee

After you have check-marked those you aspire to, and those you have left blank because you do not wish to emulate them, check against the following definitions so that you can definitely identify those that define the type of Referee you wish to be.

ARMY Referee: Their motto is “To Be the Best You Can Be.” Referees must consistently improve from game to game, and always give a 100% good performance.

U.S. COAST GUARD Referee: Their motto is “Always Prepared.” Referees must be prepared, both physically (i.e., fitness training regimen) and mentally (i.e., pre-game preparation.)

MARINE Referee: Their motto is: “The Few, The Proud.” Many NISOA Referees aspire to become a National Referee during their careers, but only a few will reach that level. You should want to become one of them.

NOAH Referee: Noah built his famous Ark. Referees must travel from Penalty Area to Penalty Area many, many times during a game, hence be very fit.

HAWAII FIVE-OH Referee: At the end of each TV program, the words spoken were often: “Book him Dano!” Referees must have courage to Caution “deserving” players for misconduct.

MAGNUM PI Referee: Similar to the famous detective television series wherein the detective searched for clues in order to catch the “bad” person, the successful Referee will also solve the problem-players’ misconduct in the game.

BUDWEISER Referee: Their slogan is: “Know When To Say When.” Referees must know when to talk to players, and when to issue proper disciplinary cards to players.

DWI Referee: The acronym stands for: “Deal with It.” Referees must be assertive in carrying out their duties to penalize misconduct with authority.

STOCK MARKET Referee: “Does the Benefit Outweigh the Risk?” Answering this correctly depending on the game situation is a requirement for successful refereeing.

LEXUS Referee: This car’s slogan is: “Passionate Pursuit toward Perfection.” Thus, Referees must always try to perfect and improve their every game.

FORD Referee: This car model’s slogan is: “Safety is Ford’s Number One.” Always remember a primary Referee goal in soccer, i.e. the protection of players from injury.

NIKE Referee: Their logo is the “Check Mark,” signifying the motto: “Just Do It!” Referees must possess courage to act upon violations and misconduct that are both recognized and seen.

VISA Referee: Their motto is: “Everywhere You Want to Be.” Referee oversight must be everywhere on the field through excellent positioning in order to prevent incidents and to punish incidents.

AT&T Referee: this Long-Distance Telephone Company’s motto is “Calls From Afar.” Referees do NOT want to whistle their decisions from a faraway distance, which makes it quite difficult to sell their decisions.

KFC Referee: This fast-food restaurant’s slogan: “Chicken in the Box” is NOT to be desired by a Referee. Think of a true Penalty-Kick incident, which was seen and recognized, but NOT whistled because of the Referee’s traumatic fear of making a Penalty-Kick call.

THOMAS PAINE Referee: This famous American writer and Patriot wrote the pamphlet “Common Sense” to help the cause of our War of Independence. Referees must also be able to demonstrate this magical “Spirit of the Game” concept (along with the “Letter of the Rules” concept) as they officiate in order to truly manage the conduct of the twenty-two players whenever “gray” areas of conduct occur.

McDONALDS Referee: this iconic fast-food restaurant’s slogan is “I’m Loving It!” Referees must truly love the game of soccer to be positively successful and effective as an NISOA Referee.

GEORGE WASHINGTON Referee: His main and everlasting character trait for his country was his honesty. Referees must always be truthful, honest, and integrity-filled when dealing with players, Coaches, Fellow Referees, and Assessors.

MICHELOB Referee: Their slogan is “Some Days Are Better Than Others!” Referees should want to officiate at every game where correct, effective, and consistent decisions are given, without any inconsistencies from game to game.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG Referee: This famous jazz musician and icon from New Orleans is honored for his creativity and talent. Referees must be creative in decisions, as needed, in competitive games.

MASTERCARD Referee: Their motto’s last word is “Priceless.” Referees must truly love to officiate, because money alone cannot buy the game’s intrinsic value. Referees must truly realize that this game is simply priceless!

B.F.HUTTON Referee: Their motto was: “When B.F. Hutton Talks, Everyone Listens!” When Referees communicate with problem players, they must be assured that these players heed their advice and guidance, without the players not listening and talking back at the same time. Silence is golden, at times!

MATADOR Referee: Many times during a bull-fight, the Matador will walk away from, and not facing, the bull. That of course demonstrates courage.  However, Referees must communicate firmly, politely, and succinctly to players, and then walk away, not worrying about players’ trifling mumblings.

ADIDAS Referee: The acronym should be quite intelligible for all successful Referees whose love for the game reiterates the theme: “All Day I Dream About Soccer.”

GILLETTE Referee: The razor company had a motto: “Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Feel Sharp!” Referees must appear, and be, very professional in their appearance and actions, since the first impressions of the players, coaches and spectators are paramount to initial game control.

MAFIA Referee: The inherent message in the “Godfather” movie series was “I’d Rather Be Feared than Loved.” Referees must not worry about having all twenty-two players “like” every decision made on the soccer field, but be more concerned about the players’ accepting these decisions via their fear and respect of the Referee’s badge and authority. Referees are not to be worried about becoming popular, but rather having players NOT dissent at decisions.


I hope you’ve given fair consideration of each type of Referee I’ve defined above, and that you picked the right types to help set your career goals as a soccer Referee. These can be helpful in your own self-improvement on your way to becoming a successful and effective Referee.