What Makes A Great Soccer Referee? A Quick Guide

Soccer is an incredibly popular sport. The stars of the show are often considered to be the main soccer players. In fact, soccer players are commended for their performance to the point they become known to those not interested in soccer. 

Though, there is one player that often gets overlooked. Their performance throughout the game largely influences how good of a soccer match it was. This player is the referee. 

What Makes A Great Soccer Referee A Quick Guide

Soccer fans and soccer players might have rolled their eyes just then. It is no shock that many soccer fans and soccer players are quite harsh with the referee.

When the referee makes a decision that doesn’t side with the soccer fans’ team, referees get a lot of the blame. 

However, without the presence of referees soccer games wouldn’t work. A referee’s job is to judge the game whilst remaining impartial. They need to make decisions that ensure the game is fair and played by the rules. 

So what makes a great soccer referee? Well, we have the answers for you. In this guide, we are going to walk you through the qualities that make a good referee. 

Physically Fit

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the traits that make referees great might not be their physique. However, something that great referees have in common is that they are physically fit.

This might shock you, but referees are often in a similar physical condition to the soccer players that are on the pitch. This is due to the fact that referees need to be able to keep up with the soccer players on the field. 

We’ve all seen how quickly a ball can go from one end of the soccer field to the other end. The soccer players then have to run to keep up with the ball. Well, during this sprint, the referee is also running to the other end of the field. 

Referees need to be physically fit and able to keep up with the soccer players so that they are able to witness all of the plays. 

In one match a referee runs an average of just under 12 kilometers. They also have to be able to keep moving for 90 minutes, much of this time running to see the fast plays between the soccer players. 


Personality plays an important part in what makes a great soccer referee. It is vital that anyone who desires to be a referee has a spectacular personality. 

There are many different personality traits that referees should have, one being a lack of arrogance. In terms of a soccer game, the referees are in charge of making important decisions.

This makes them have the power. However, arrogance and power do not mix well together. So a great referee will display confidence, without being arrogant. 

Referees face a lot of pressure from soccer players. There are countless times soccer fans have witnessed household names such as Messi and Ronaldo arguing with the referee. This requires a referee to be able to maintain composure and control.

If a referee has an undesirable personality, then a soccer match can become out of control. There are many matches where the referee has handed out yellow and red cards countless times.

Instead, a referee needs to not only be in control of the game but also have the respect of the soccer players. 

Soccer players have a tendency to try and get away with deceiving the referees. What makes a great soccer referee in this situation is having a good eye for deceit and being patient. 

Great Understanding Of The Game

It goes without saying that another thing that makes a great soccer referee is having an excellent understanding of the game. 

Referees are enforcers of the rules, so they need to have a clear understanding of what each rule means.

So, in order to have an excellent understanding of the game, you need to study each rule and then be able to apply the rules on the pitch. Referees that have a greater understanding of the game are able to make decisions quickly on the pitch. 

As well as understanding the rules of the game, what makes a great referee is being able to adapt to the new rules of the game. Since technology has been introduced in soccer matches, referees have had to adapt. This skill is what makes a great referrer. 

What Makes A Great Soccer Referee A Quick Guide (1)

Excellent Communication

One of the main aspects of the game is for referees to communicate with players and other officials. So, having excellent communication skills makes a great soccer referee. 

When an altercation occurs on the field, referees often find themselves having conversations with the soccer players. At times soccer players might question the referee’s judgment or try to negotiate with the referee.

It would be very easy for referees to give yellow or red cards in these situations. However, this would not make the soccer players respect the referee. 

Good communication will help to dissolve altercations on the pitch quickly. 

Remains Impartial 

Remaining impartial might be one of the harder skills to master. However, it is a key quality that makes a great soccer referee. 

It is hard not to have a preference on which team wins the match. Yet, whatever your preference is you need to make sure it does not affect the way you referee. Great soccer referees call out what they see no matter what team it would impact. 


Soccer matches are fast and intense. This means soccer referees must also display this when they are making decisions. It is important for a soccer referee to be able to make a quick decision so play can continue.

Final Thoughts

There are many qualities that make a great soccer referee. What truly makes a great soccer referee is the ability to have a fair judgment, be able to keep up with the game, and have a great understanding of the game. 

We hope this article has answered your questions about what makes a great soccer referee. Please share this with others who might be interested. Thank you for reading. 

Steven Anderson