The Maryland SoccerPlex uses the Capital Area Soccer Referees Association (CASRA) and the Metropolitan Washington Soccer Referees Association (MWSRA) to supply referees for the thousands of games played on its fields throughout the year. While SAM expects all participants to be courteous and civil with referees before, during and after the match, we understand that not every call is the correct call. Therefore, SAM wants to make sure all participants are educated on the intricacies of refereeing, and how to properly deal with any frustration they may have. 

It is important to note: Abuse of the referee will NOT be tolerated before, during or after a game.

Step 1: The referee called a poor game, what do I do?

Be supportive of him/her.  These referees love the sport of soccer and give their time and energy to officiate over these contests. All SAM referees are certified and required to take (at the least) a 14 hour course and pass an exam.  They get re-certified each year. Coaches who have concerns about the performance of a referee are encouraged to contact the SAM management team. SAM will review the complaint and forward to the appropriate person at the referee association.   

Step 2: But what about this particularly terrible call?

Are you sure it was a bad call? Familiarize yourself with the FIFA Rules of the Game. Often times the ruling is just misunderstood because many calls are judgmental.  The laws of the game, in spirit, are meant to allow the game to flow, so delayed calls and advantage may raise the ire of fans, coaches and players, but are actually the correct ruling. Please also be certain to check the SAM Modifications of FIFA Laws before deciding an incorrect call was made. 

Step 3: The call was actually incorrect. What recourse do I have? 

Just as a player or coach never have a perfect game, neither does a referee. Bad calls are part of the game and occur at every level of sports. Once a referee has made a final decision and the game is over there is very little that can be done. If you have some serious complaints you would like to share you can e-mail them to the SAM management team:

Gary Burke ( or

Gary Wheeler (  

If the SAM determines that your complaints have merit, it will be forwarded to the referee association for remedial action or possible sanctions. 

Step 4: Isn’t there something MORE I can do? 

We are glad you asked! To become a certified referee and improve the game yourself, go to Maryland Soccer Referees Website. If you are already certified and would like to know about obtaining game assignments, contact Missy Lambert with CASRA at or Matthew Popkin with MWSRA at