Southern California Soccer Officials Association
Playoff 4th OFFICIAL Responsibilities
- BEFORE THE MATCH (Arrive 1 hour before match)
- Balls. Obtain and inspect the match balls from the home team. The Molten balls (provided to teams by CIF) are the primary be used. Any other brand must bear the NFHS authentication mark. If possible, the Fourth Officials should keep an extra replacement ball near them at the halfway line.
- Team Inspection. Assist referee team with collecting rosters and inspecting players equipment.
- Roster. Remind coaches only persons listed on the roster are permitted to remain in the bench area. They can always add names (such as when the principal arrives) to the roster.
- Trainers. Remind trainers not to enter the field without a signal from the referee. Anyone attended must leave the field (including goalkeepers).
- Benches. CIF protocol requires that the opposing benches not face each other. We recommend having each bench on the left side of the touchline.
- Pregame. Referees should cover Fourth Official duties. Follow the instructions even if they conflict with anything posted below.
- Five minutes before the match, the referee team (and both fourth officials) and both teams (starters and substitutes) will meet at the East goal.
- The referee will complete a coin toss.
- The Fourth Officials will join the referee team in the ceremonial walk on. The referee and each FO will carry a match ball. The order for the walk-on is:
- AR – FO – Referee - FO – AR
- Teams will follow behind each AR, beginning with captains, keeper, and then field players and substitutes.
- The primary duty is to control the bench area.
- Be a sounding board for the coaches. Be the “good cop.” Move near them if they are troubled. It is likely they will regain calm if someone (you) is listening. It is ok to say you will discuss the matter with the referee at half-time. Ask them to please sit down. Be nice.
- If that is not enough, involve the assistant referee. The AR will serve to remind the coach of the obligation to behave responsibly. Be polite, but firm. Warn the coach that the continued failure to comply will require further action. Do not identify what will happen.
- If that is not enough, involve the referee. The referee will decide whether to caution or disqualify bench personnel as appropriate.
- The second duty is to assist the referee.
- Stand near the halfway line (unless dealing with bench personnel). Watch the players, particularly those behind the referee’s back. The Fourth Officials may inform the referee about any misconduct unseen by the referee team.
- record goals and cards shown. Do not allow the referee to restart play if anyone is shown a second yellow card, but not disqualified.
- The third duty is to monitor substitutions.
- Discuss procedure with coach before match begins. When a team wishes to substitute, the substitute will go to the Fourth Official. The FO will inform the assistant referee who will make the usual flag signal at the next substitution opportunity.
- The fourth officials should ask the substitutes to stand with them at the half-way line until the referee beckons them onto the field. (We strongly advise a referee not to beckon a substitute until the player leaves the field.) Please check that the jersey is tucked in, equipment is proper, and jewelry is off. 
- Look across the field to see if the other team is substituting and alert the referee. We recommend a “thumbs up” signal by the fourth official when the original player has left the field of play and the opposing team has completed any substitution.
The Fourth Officials join the referee team and exit the field together.