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Soccer Assistant Referee Roles, Duties, Assistance

Soccer Assistant Referee

The assistant referees, also known as linesmen, are the two match officials who stand on the sidelines and monitor play. They can be identified by their bright-colored jersey, location on the sideline, and flags that they use to signal for a foul. Read on to learn more about the roles of assistant referees in soccer.


The assistant referee is responsible for signaling when:

  • The ball goes out of bounds
  • There is a throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick
  • A player has committed an offside violation
  • A team wants to make a substitution
  • Misconduct that happens out of the head referee’s view
  • A goalie has moved off the line early on a penalty kick
  • The ball has fully crossed the line into the goal on a penalty kick


The assistant referee’s assistance usually falls under two categories:

  • Monitoring the substitution procedure
  • Entering the field of play to control the 9.15m (10 yards) distance during penalty kicks

World Cup Selection

For each match of the World Cup, all assistant referees must be selected from the FIFA Refereeing International List or the Member Association Top Division List.

If an assistant referee is prevented or unable to carry out their duties, they must be replaced either by a reserve assistant referee or the fourth official.