Soccer Referee Cards
What are Soccer Referee Cards?
There are two cards in soccer: a yellow card and a red card. These cards are held by the referee and are shown to players at the referee's discretion throughout the game. A yellow card is also called a caution card and can be given to both players and coaches. A red card can also be given to both players and coaches. If a player gets two yellow cards in one game, those two cards become one red card.
Players can get yellow cards for seven different reasons. These include unsporting behavior (such as a hard foul), dissent by words or actions, persistently breaking the rules, delaying the restart of play, refusing to stand far enough from a free kick, coming onto the field without the referee's permission, and leaving the field without the referee's permission. If a referee feels the player has committed any of these faults, they will be shown a yellow card and 'booked'. The referee will write down who received the card in order to keep track.
Players can also get red cards for seven reasons. These include serious foul play, violent conduct, spitting at others, committing a handball to stop a goal scoring opportunity, fouling someone to prevent a goal scoring opportunity, using offensive language or gestures, or receiving a second yellow card. If a player gets a red card, they are immediately ejected from the game and are unable to play in the team's next game.
Referees have control over who gets a card and they must decide if actions require these punishments. Sometimes, a referee will give a card to a player even if it is not a definite foul if the game is getting too out of hand and the players need to be reminded to calm down. In some leagues, there are also rules about accumulating too many cards. For example, if a player in the MLS gets five yellow cards during one season, they will be suspended for the next game the team plays.