Why I will not combine refereeing with playing futsal

Monday was a big day for me. I will no longer combine refereeing with playing futsal. The last game of the season went well, although we did not win. It’s a big choice, but one I needed to make.

Will I miss it? For sure. It’s great to be part of the team and have a talk afterwards together.

For me, the main reason to stop with futsal is the number of small injuries. After refereeing a game I feel my legs a lot, because of tackles in futsal months ago. My hips, knee tendons. Hopefully this little pains will go away when I focus on refereeing and specific training for it.

But that’s not all you need to think about. How does continuing playing effect your refereeing? I’ll share three questions you need to think about yourself too.

Me playing futsal

3 questions you need to ask yourself

A questions you need to ask yourself: Does playing futsal have an impact on your performance? As Joshua replied on my tweet: “It’s very difficult to “retire” from playing but when the knocks/strains start having an impact on performance, a decision needs to be made.” Personally, the pains are mostly during the period after a game, but they might still effect my performance.

How do you manage it to play futsal and still improve as a referee physically? Futsall is quite intense, but you can’t train specifically for your games as referee. Keep this quote from Hilco de Boer, fitness coach of the Dutch pro referees, in mind. “Only refereeing or assisting games won’t make you fit and you will not be able to carry on until the end of the season. Make sure you do enough specific training sessions [for referees]”. So make sure you have time for at least one specific traing if you combine playing and refereeing.

How does playing effect your refereeing? In my opinion a football background as a player will benefit your refeereeing career. It makes it easier to read the game, because you know tactics and how they play. As referee, my pitfall is thinking too much as a player. I want play to continue, but sometimes it’s better to blow the whistle and not wait for the advantage that doesn’t come. If you can split these two roles, it is easier to combine both.

Just a few thoughts and questions to think about when combining refereeing and playing yourself. How important are these two for you?


  • Wolf Heim

    Jan: I think you make good points and apparently a good decision for yourself. In my personal case, I stopped playing w/o specifically considering the impact on my referee duties. For me it was: lack of flexibility in game time schedules/lack of time and consistent, minor injuries. I always got a good workout while playing, but prefer training on my own, on my own chosen schedule (usually running and/or light weightlifting in the morning). In my area, a “player’s schedule” would overlap and conflict with my referee schedule. So, my refereeing does benefit from focus.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Thank you for the comment, Wolf. For me the minor injuries come back every now and then. Futsal and refereeing go well in terms of schedules, although Friday futsal games are not nice when you have a Saturday game as referee. I hope this gives me more focus on refereeing as well.

  • Churchil

    Hallo Jan,
    Good points you’ve got there. I love your personal views,i know some referees experience the same. As for me, i love playing as much as refereeing. I still play (fullback) in our referees team, every week one friendly match, but i consider myself a cautious player, i avoid contact as much as possible. For the other days i train with team of the organization i work for,am attached there as a referee so, i basically do everything they do and it keeps me on form. What am yet to slot in my training is actually the referees training, as an AR. But thanks for your previous post on AR training am planning to do this at least once a week..

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Who are you playing against as a referees team?
      Some specific training for referees will help you for sure, but running/moving in general will keep you at least fit. Very important to do.

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