What is a Game Leader and why do we need Game Leaders? 

If we look at junior games in the U6-U11 age groups, all have their own specifics. The most visible of these being the different sizes of both pitches and balls. One can also mention tactics, shape, organization, the coach’s involvement, understanding of the game, and more.

Both players and spectators appreciate it when the games are led/refereed by someone who understands the rules, lets the game flow, doesn’t break the game with unnecessary stoppages, and helps players orient themselves on the field.  

Game Leaders are here to help with all of that!!! 

We are recruiting players and parents to help us create the best possible environment for all players on our BDFC fields. You can apply to become an accredited Game Leader (youths with financial reward, adults with no financial reward), or become a Mentor to help us with supporting our Game Leaders on their way.

If you want to become a Game Leader, click here.

If you would like to help us develop future stars and become a Mentor to our Game Leaders, click here.

 Please note: if a Game Leader or Referee is not available for an U6-U11s match, Parents/Team Managers are required to assist with the game leading. Please have a look at this document for potential issues you may come across when you are refereeing a junior game. Additionally, Coaches should be coaching their team and not game leading; therefore, if a GL is not assigned, we would ask that you have a volunteer to be the Game Leader. Our GL courses are there to help you gain the knowledge and confidence for doing the Game Leader role.

Information for Game Leaders and Mentors:

Hello future young Game Leaders!

It’s great that you’re interested in exploring the Game Leader role. This role is an entry-level leadership pathway within our Club. It’s a terrific way to explore leadership and we will support you as you embark upon this journey.  

What is a Game Leader and why do we need them?

That’s a great question! 

A Game Leader (GL) is the trained and credentialed game official for the U6-U11 age groups, with learned skills to lead the game in a certain way. We will show you and train you in how to do this. 

GLs need to know the rules and help players during the game play by those rules. The GL is also there to give the Players words of advice while they are playing and, most importantly, the GL makes sure the game is flowing smoothly without unnecessary stoppages. In your role as a GL, we will support you each step of the way and you will have adult GL-Mentors to guide and encourage you, to help you to grow as a GL.

Youths who do the GL role are paid by our Club. You can earn some pocket money each time you act as a GL for one of our matches. 

Come to our GL training course where you can learn how to be a great Game Leader.  Upcoming GL training course date/s will be scheduled soon and details updated here.

Next GL Training Course: 30th April 2022 

What a Game leader needs to know and be able to do: 

  • The Rules of the game. Read them, learn them, recall them, and apply them while doing the GL role in a game. 
  • Full set of rules can be found here (4 pages) 
  • Blow the whistle (loudly!), speak loudly and clearly, and not be afraid to be heard  
  • Show and tell the kids the rules 
  • Receive and take on board feedback from GL Mentors 
  • Allow kids to play football and enjoy the game! 


The GAME LEADER role opens the door to you becoming a referee in the future. As the GL role focuses ONLY on the younger age groups (U6-U11), this is a great pathway toward refereeing and other leadership roles further down the track. 

 We’d love to have you join our Game Leader Program and learn to become a great GL, and we will support and encourage you each step of the way. 

 Sign up to our GL practical courses to become an accredited GL 

Dear Parents,  

Here is information you need to know about the role of a Game Leader (GL).  Please note that senior GLs (aged 18+) do not get paid.

Why is the role of Game Leader (GL) important?

In case of no junior GL being present for your child’s game, it has been a common habit to share the role of “a referee” for the game with the opposition. This can bring some unexpected tension and issues for the children playing and for the spectators as well. 

Having a GL is more neutral and ensures all kids are being supported and allowed to learn while playing the game. All details relating to the role of GL will be explained in our GL course.  

Who are GLs and what do they do?

  • The GL is the trained and credentialed game official for the U6-U11 age groups, who have learned skills to lead the game in a certain way. 
  • The GL knows the rules and helps players play by those rules, gives players words of advice in relation to the game, and makes sure the game is flowing smoothly without unnecessary stoppages.  
  • Full set of rules can be found here (4 pages) 
  • In case of some minor issues, such as a foul throw, the GL doesn’t need to stop the game but rather reminds the player how to behave and act while the game is flowing. 
  • Allows and encourages goalkeepers to put the ball down and play out from the back instead of simply kicking the ball. 
  • During any stoppage of the game, the GL shows not just hand signal as a referee would do, but verbally comments on what has just happened, instructing the players in the flow of the game. 

Examples may include the following: 

  • “Ball out. Orange team ball.” 
  • “That was a dangerous tackle, so the opposition is given an indirect free kick.” 
  • “Return the ball here. We will repeat the throw-in and this time do it correctly.” 
  • “Great strike, but the GK didn’t touch it so it’s a goal kick now.” 
  • “Goal kick. Attacking team, you must stay behind this line.” 

Having a Game Leader in your team ensures:

  • Coaches can coach 
  • Managers can manage 
  • Kids can enjoy  
  • Games can flow 
  • In case of any stoppages, Players receive a short explanation of what has happened and how to react. 
  • One person is leading the game with the same unbiased intentions and leadership. 

 Accredited Youth GLs can also earn some pocket money! 

Come to our GL training course where you can learn how to be a great Game Leader.  Upcoming GL training course date/s will be scheduled soon and details updated here.

Next GL Training Course: 30th April 2022

Sign up to our GL practical courses to gain experience and awareness of how to lead junior games. 

Thank you for choosing the role of Game Leader MENTOR! The next few paragraphs will outline what you can expect.  

The first step in becoming a mentor is that you need to know the rules of the game. You will find that even those who have been coaching kids for a long time will not know how to solve all game situations properly according to the rules. The full set of rules can be found here (4 pages).

Game Leaders are leading games for the U6 – U11 age groups, there are no longer CRA referees allocated for those age groups.

Our common goal is to train juniors and adults to become Game Leaders (GL), A GL will be leading a game and ensure that:

  • Rules of the game are being followed:
    • Pre-game 
    • During game 
    • Post-game 
  • All players are being helped to understand and abide by the rules
  • The game will be as fluent as possible
  • Stoppages will be minimal
  • No spectators will feel the need to tell the GL what to do as the GL will be leading the game effectively and with clarity

 As Mentors we are there to allow GLs to ask us any questions about the rules, the game, and game situations that may happen. In an ideal situation, a mentor is watching more than one game at once, and is able to analyse critical moments of the GLs performances and chat with them about problems, situations that could be solved better/faster/clearer in accordance with the laws of the game. We need to be able to pass on messages to Head Mentors about the performance of GLs as they will be the ones allocating GLs to games. There is a need for only experienced and skilled GLs to enter the U11 age group. 

As a mentor we need to: 

  • Have a clear understanding of the rules: Rules and tips (4 pages) 
  • Attend a GL course held by BDFC during the year (requirement for becoming a mentor) 
  • Be part of BDFC Mentor group where news, updates, and critical info will be presented 
  • Be open to discussing the rules with GLs before and after games 
  • Be able to point the GLs in areas where they can/need to improve 
  • Be able to step in if GL is abused/heckled by spectators and explain that GLs are learning as well 

 Our goal is to create a positive environment for GLs so that the games for our juniors can be the best possible experience (learning and enjoyment). 


  1. Meet the GL(s) and ask them if they have any questions before the game
    • Introduce who you are and how you can help them today
  2. Remind the GL(s) of their duties:
    • Ensure both teams are visibly different
      • Use bibs if necessary
      • make sure Goalkeeper is dressed in different colour shirt
    • All safety requirements are adhered to:
      • No watches or other jewellery (including earrings)
      •  No shin pads mean no play!
    • Remind them that substitutions are rolling during play
      • GLs should remind the coaches that no stoppage is required for subs
  3. Reinforce the things for GLs to remember during the game:
    • Be vocal and move with the game
      • If parents can’t hear you they’ll start commenting. If players can’t hear you, be louder
    • Let the game flow and correct/advise players in-flight during the game when no interference is needed (e.g. bad throw-in)
  4. As a Mentor, take notes of what you want to discuss after the game (use your phone or good old-fashioned pen and paper!)
  5. If there are any problems/issues during the game, find the GL at half-time to briefly discuss it with them.

After the game

After the game, chat with the GL(s) about the following:

  1. GL has confirmed the score with both coaches
    • and that both teams have entered the result into Dribl
  2. What (if any) critical situations did the GL(s) experience?
    1. Ask the GL(s) to summarise their performance
  3. What you have seen as a Mentor, and how you would recommend dealing with specific situations
  4. Note any problems/issues the GL(s) had leading the game
  5. Evaluate their performance:
    • State the positives
      • Were they vocal, loud, clear, confident?
    • Identify negatives/improvements:
      •  Were they timid, shy, indecisive, ignored?
    • Summarise what can be improved for their next game
      • e.g. use the whistle as if you’re trying to wake your Dad in a Sunday morning 🙂
    • Remind them to re-read the rules if necessary, in order to gain better perspective and allow for learning.

End of the day

  1. Let the head mentors (email preferred) know what key points happened, so that we can ensure quality of mentoring and maintain high standard of care towards our GLs
  2. Without your feedback we may not know how to best nurture and help our GLs to progress and become more skilled and confident.

Additional information for Mentors

We would like a GL to lead multiple games during the day. In an ideal scenario the Mentor is positioned between at least 2 fields and can watch multiple games where GLs are in action.

The majority of GLs are juniors aged 11-15. We need to be able to help them be organised, precise, and to ensure that every game is summarised, and the mentor will be able to provide a de-brief for a GL after a game. In an instance where you will be present and no GL junior is available, you will need to ask a parent to step in and lead the game. Standard practise is that 1st half is led by one team and 2nd half by the other team. It will be greatly appreciated if Referees/parents involved lead the game as per the rules to ensure consistency for the kids. We don’t want to see one-sided coaching that doesn’t pay enough attention to the opposing team! All participants deserve to enjoy the game.

As much as possible, it is ideal that the coach is coaching and not leading or refereeing the game.