How Much Does a Youth Soccer Referee Make Per Game?

The amount a youth soccer referee makes per game can vary depending on factors such as the age group, level of competition, and the region in which the game is being played. On average, youth soccer referees in the United States can make anywhere from $15 to $50 per game.

Here are some of the factors that determine youth soccer referee pay.

  • Age Group: Referees who officiate games for younger age groups typically earn less than those who referee games for older, more competitive players. For example, a referee for a U8 game might make around $15-$25 per game, while a referee for a U16 game could make around $30-$50 per game.
  • Level of Competition: Referees who officiate more competitive matches, such as travel or premier league games, may earn more than those who referee recreational or local league games.
  • Experience: More experienced referees with higher certifications may earn more per game than those who are just starting out or have lower level certifications.
  • Game Duration: Some leagues have shorter games for younger age groups, which may result in lower pay for referees. As the game duration increases, the pay may also increase.
  • Location: The pay rate for youth soccer referees can vary based on geographic location. In areas with a higher cost of living or more competitive soccer leagues, referees might earn more per game.
  • Additional Responsibilities: Some referees may also serve as assistant referees (linesmen), and their pay rate could be different from that of the center referee. Additionally, referees might be paid more if they are responsible for multiple games in a day or are required to travel for games.
  • Tournament or Playoff Games: Referees officiating tournament or playoff games may receive higher pay rates than those working regular-season games.

To find the most accurate and up-to-date information on youth soccer referee pay rates in your area, it’s best to reach out to your local soccer association, referee association, or league organizers. They can provide specific details about pay scales and expectations for referees in their organization.

Pros and Cons of Being a Youth Soccer Referee

Being a youth soccer referee can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its challenges. Here are some pros and cons of serving in this role:


  • Physical activity: Officiating soccer games helps you stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You’ll be running, jogging, and walking throughout each match, which can contribute to your overall fitness.
  • Skill development: Being a referee can help develop important skills like decision-making, communication, conflict resolution, and leadership. These skills are valuable in many aspects of life and can be applied to other personal and professional situations.
  • Networking: Refereeing provides opportunities to meet and network with other soccer enthusiasts, coaches, players, and referees. This can be helpful for making connections and building relationships within the soccer community.
  • Personal growth: Taking on the responsibility of refereeing youth soccer matches can be a rewarding personal challenge. It can foster personal growth, as you learn how to manage high-pressure situations and maintain control of the game.
  • Flexible schedule: Refereeing can often be done on weekends or during evenings, making it a suitable part-time job or source of supplemental income for those with busy schedules.
  • Supporting youth development: As a referee, you play a role in providing a safe and fair environment for young players to learn and develop their soccer skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship.


  • Time commitment: Refereeing requires time for training, certification, and ongoing education, in addition to the time spent officiating games. Balancing these commitments with other personal and professional responsibilities can be challenging.
  • Stress and pressure: Referees may face high-pressure situations, making difficult decisions that can impact the outcome of a game. This can lead to stress, particularly when those decisions are questioned or criticized by players, coaches, or parents.
  • Conflict management: Referees sometimes have to deal with disagreements, confrontations, or unsportsmanlike behavior from players, coaches, or spectators. Managing these conflicts can be challenging and emotionally draining.
  • Limited income potential: Refereeing youth soccer games typically does not provide a substantial income, particularly if it is only done on a part-time basis. It may not be a suitable primary source of income for most people.
  • Injury risk: Being on the field during games can expose referees to the risk of injury from collisions with players or other accidents.
  • Weather conditions: Referees must often work in various weather conditions, such as extreme heat, cold, rain, or snow. This can be uncomfortable and may require additional preparation or equipment to stay safe and comfortable.

Overall, being a youth soccer referee has its rewards and challenges. It can be a fulfilling way to stay involved in the sport and contribute to the development of young players while staying physically active and developing valuable skills. However, it’s essential to consider the time commitment, potential for stress, and limited income potential before pursuing this role.

Other Jobs to Consider

Here are some alternative part-time or flexible jobs that can be suitable for adults looking for side gigs or teenagers seeking a first-time job:

  • Lifeguard: Monitor the safety of swimmers at pools or beaches, enforce rules, and provide first aid or rescue assistance when necessary. This job typically requires certification in lifeguarding, first aid, and CPR.
  • Tutor: Share your knowledge in a specific subject by offering one-on-one or group tutoring sessions. Tutoring can be done in person or online, making it a flexible option for those with busy schedules.
  • Retail associate: Work in a retail store, assisting customers, stocking shelves, and handling cash transactions. Retail positions often offer part-time and flexible schedules.
  • Food service worker: Work in a restaurant, cafe, or fast-food establishment as a server, cashier, cook, or dishwasher. These jobs often have part-time and flexible scheduling options.
  • Dog walker or pet sitter: Provide dog walking or pet sitting services for busy pet owners. This can be a flexible job that allows you to set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you’d like.
  • Babysitter or nanny: Care for children on a part-time basis, providing supervision, meal preparation, and activities. This job may be especially suitable for those who enjoy working with kids.
  • Event staff: Work at local events, concerts, or festivals, helping with tasks such as ticket sales, crowd control, or setup and breakdown. Event staff jobs are typically part-time and may be seasonal.
  • Ride-share or delivery driver: Use your own vehicle to provide ride-sharing services (like Uber or Lyft) or deliver food, groceries, or packages for companies like DoorDash or Instacart. This job offers flexibility in terms of when and how much you work.
  • Yard work or landscaping: Provide yard work, gardening, or landscaping services for homeowners or businesses. This can be a seasonal or year-round part-time job, depending on your location and client needs.
  • Usher or ticket-taker at a sports venue, theater, or entertainment venue: Work part-time during events, helping patrons find their seats, answering questions, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for guests.

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