You're already starting to become a student of the game by reading this. Time to sit back and relax while a select few tell you their opinions? Hardly.
The longer you are a referee the more you realize there is a lot to learn. Even if you were to master the "basics" and memorize the Laws of the Game you still have the Advice, all the USSF Memos, FIFA documents, blogs, books and then of course the all-important experience. I'm sure I have missed some other great sources of information. How about the big one? Other referees!
The point is that in order to do this well you must absorb as much information as possible. Today after a nice relaxing group run (join us next time, by the way) some of the group gathered to have some food and much needed water. The discussion strayed to different sources of data available on the art and science of being a soccer referee. It got me thinking about what being a student of the game really means and how it can really make a difference for everyone who puts a little effort into it.
Start off by taking advantage of the information that's already being brought to you. This blog, clinics throughout the year, monthly meetings and peer/assessor feedback on the field. When you have some free time read up on the Laws of the Game and the Advice to the Laws of the Game so that you have an integral grasp on the foundation. Check up regularly on USSoccer.com and read the memos, watch the videos and listen to the Week in Review. Maybe you have some other sources for info, too, like blogs or other publications. Go for it!
Then its time to take it to the next level. Ask around and see what some upper-level referees are doing to delve deeper. I'm sure many of them can give you some reading suggestions and maybe even let you borrow one of the titles. The more you learn and apply the knowledge you've gained the better you will become. You might just find being a student of this subject is strangely addictive.