Consistency - This is the number one complaint I receive about the differences from one weekend to the next in regards to referees. This is typically not about the application of the laws of the game, but rather in more of the administrative function of our job (e.g., Max # players for an agegroup, cleats with toe cleat, players wearing jewelry, equipment checks, etc...). Please review the policies for each league you are officiating (e.g., House, SFL, ODSL, 5v5DL, etc...) to ensure you are applying the correct modification to the Laws of the Game and guidance correctly.
Referee Appearance - The approved USSF referee uniform is a Gold (or alternate color) jersey, black shorts, black socks, mostly black shoes and current year US Soccer Referee Badge.
As with any job that requires you to wear a uniform, you should wear it properly (socks pulled up and shirts tucked into your shorts). The emails I have received previously have been about referees either not wearing socks or they were pushed down to their ankles and a referee wearing green sweat pants and shirt not tucked in. I can only imagine how that looked.
Your conduct on the field should be professional, not only in how you carry out the responsibilities of a referee but with your appearance as well. The club expects nothing less than your best performance each time you officiate a game, and so do I. Take the time to prepare for the games by reviewing any procedures or modifications that may be appropriate, especially if you haven't officiated a particular age group or league in a while.
Arrive early - Especially for the first game of the day that typically start at 9AM. The referee and assistance referee should arrive 30 minutes prior to game time so you can ensure the fields are marked, goals are properly anchored, your field has corner flags and to go over any pre-game information. Inspect both goals to verify they are secure (anchored), if on turf ensure the sandbags are in place and the wheels are flipped up. If you can't see the field lining, then it will be difficult to determine if the ball is in or out of play. If there are any issues with the field, let the coaches know so they can correct them. It is better to delay the game for a short period to correct the issue rather than to have each referee crew behind you deal with the problem.
All game fields must have corner flags, there are more flags in the equipment sheds. If the coaches can't find flags, have them check goal bags on other fields as some coaches leave them in the bags.
Equipment Checks - I received a few emails about equipment checks before games. They ranged from not catching necklaces, earrings and bracelets to players not having shin-guards and in some instances the equipment check did not occur at all. Other than where specifically noted (tournaments), equipment checks are always required. Especially for the U12 and younger age groups - the referee should get them on line (easier to check) and look at each player. For the younger (U7-U8) remember to check the cleats for the toe-cleat (baseball style cleats) they are not allowed to play in shoes with the toe-cleat.