HVSA Supports the Yellow Wristband Initiative for Youth Referees


HVSA Families and Friends,

We are lucky to live and play in a community as caring and thoughtful as Hopewell Valley. HVSA has avoided some of the shocking and disappointing headlines that other youth leagues struggle with such as inappropriate parent behavior on the sidelines. However, we are not immune to it and it does happen sometimes. We urge you to remember that our youth referees are just kids and should never be made to feel threatened or abused. As part of a wider NJ Youth Soccer initiative, HVSA is proud to sponsor the Yellow Wristband Initiative.

Misconduct towards game officials (e.g., referees) is becoming more prevalent in our games. To draw attention to and help put a stop to this behavior, Youth Soccer Leagues in New Jersey, with the support of the New Jersey State Referee Committee, are introducing The Yellow Wristband Initiative for minor referees.

As a primary goal, The Yellow Wristband Initiative is aimed at increasing awareness about the presence of minor (e.g., under the age of 18) referees in our game. Through the initiative, minor referees can opt to receive yellow wristbands to wear on game day; therefore, a Referee wearing the yellow wristband (as shown below) is identified as a minor. We expect adults to show the encouragement and respect that the minor deserves as they learn their craft.

Along with this campaign, NJ Youth Soccer and Member Leagues pledge to implement the following sanctions to support minor referees:

Immediately suspend a person for allegations of referee abuse and assault towards a minor, pending a hearing (similar to the US Soccer Referee Assault policy), and doubling the minimum sanctions for a person found guilty of referee abuse/assault towards a minor.


For our young referees to continue to grow, just as our players do, they must be able to officiate games without intimidation, fear, and/or abuse. It is EVERYONE’S responsibility – the Club, the coaches, other parents, etc., – to hold each other accountable and set the standard for acceptable behavior.

HVSA is proud to sponsor the Yellow Wristband Initiative. You will see our referees who are minors wearing the yellow wristbands beginning in our Winter Rec season next week. Please join us in continuing to support a healthy environment for our young referees and players to grow.

If you have any questions, or are interested in becoming a referee, please reach out to HVSA's Referee Coordinator, Rob Marino, at referee@hvsasoccer.org. You must be at least 13 years old to be a licensed referee.