As a Referee, you have the responsibility to issue red cards when they are “earned” by the players. The bottom line is that if you do not want to issue red cards when required or complete the required paperwork after issuing a red card, you should not be a referee.

The USSF Referee Report must be used.


The report is required to be prepared ASAP, within 24 hours for all serious situations, including:

  • Red cards,
  • serious injuries (paramedics called, player taken to emergency room/hospital or attended to by the trainer in some cases),
  • or game terminations, etc.

Take a copy of the Match Report to prepare the Referee Report.

Use simple language and include the facts of the incident only:

  • When – date and time, point in the match,
  • Where – venue and specific location on the field,
  • Who was involved? The player’s name, number and team,
  • What happened? Don’t speculate, just note what you saw.

Note there is no “Why.” It is not our job to speculate on why someone did what they did and we should not include a diagnosis of the injury, even if we have the ability to do so.

Do not use abbreviations and only use language in the Laws of the Game to describe the applicable misconduct.

Call the Assignor after any game that requires an incident report so he is informed when the league calls him.

Submit the report to our Member-At-Large (MAL) and the Assignor (and Co-Assignor if the game was assigned by the Co-Assignor) who will review the report and possibly suggest edits.

Following submission of the incident report to the MAL, please call him to ensure it has been received if you have not received an acknowledgement of receipt within 2 hours.

Following review and approval of the report by the MAL and Assignor, the Assignor submits the final report to the applicable league.

If you have kept ID cards, not required for all red cards, the card(s), together with copies of the match report and incident report must be sent to the applicable league administrator by the end of the first business day (usually Monday) following the game.

The importance of this process cannot be stressed strongly enough! These reports are really needed by the leagues and everything we do needs to reflect our professionalism as individuals and as a referee association.


Instructions on using the Referee Report:

  1. Download the PDF fillable USSF Referee Report to your desktop and save it with your name and report date in the filename, e.g. 2022-09-12.misconduct_report.Mike_Bigelow.pdf.
  2. Open the form from your desktop and complete your report by filling in the appropriate fields.
  3. Save it back to your desktop.
  4. Click here to generate an email to the Member-at-Large, attach the saved form and send the email.  Note: Using this approach, you can reopen the form to edit if required.
  5. The Member-at-Large may help you with the wording if needed and will send the final version to the appropriate league as required as required by that specific league.
  6. If you were required to pull a player of coach ID card, the MAL will provide you with the information required for you to send in the Referee Report and the ID cards to the appropriate authorities.
  7. NOTE:  You need to complete a separate report for each person sent-off, expelled or injured.  Cautions in the match may be documented in either of the “Description of the Incident” sections if the cautions directly relate to the incident being reported.

Notes from Coast Soccer League, Southern California Development Soccer League, and SBSRA regarding pre-printed match reports (aka team rosters) and Referee Reports (used for Red Cards and serious injuries)

  1. ALL send-offs and cautions are documented on the pre-printed match report (aka team rosters) supplied at the field by the home team, whether or not a Referee Report is filed.  All Red cards (including 2nd cautions) and serious injuries require a Referee Report to be generated and submitted to the SBSRA Member-at-Large.
  2. Each league has different requirements for when player ID cards must be confiscated and sent into the leagues with the Referee Report.  For example;
    1. CSL and DSL require the Referee to confiscate and send in a Player or Administrator Pass for Referee Assault and Violent Conduct.
    2. PSL requires the Referee to confiscate and send in a Player ID card for any Red card.
  3. A Referee Report is also required for any and all terminated matches.