How to Become a Soccer Referee

If you like soccer and need exercise or some side cash, becoming a referee might be right for you. Here’s what you should know.

Where can you become a soccer referee?

The first place to check is with your local leagues. Many small leagues hire their own referees and don’t require you to pay for any courses or registration fees.

The United States Soccer Federation oversees most youth club soccer in the United States that play under the FIFA rules. Each state has a state referee committee that is responsible for organizing referee training courses and registering referees.

Registered and certified referees can then apply to the referee association or assignor who contracts with local clubs, leagues, and tournaments.

How to Become a High School Soccer Referee

High schools operate under a different system. Most are under the National Federation of High School Sports. There is typically a state association and local association to manage the referees in each state, city, or county.

How to Become a College Soccer Referee

Most lower division college games are under the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association. Many larger conferences use their own pool of referees.

College referees are generally recruited from the club and high school referee pools. It is virtually impossible to start as a college referee.

How to Become a Professional Soccer Referee

The Professional Referee Organization is responsible for professional referees. They recruit referees working club soccer events.

Independent Leagues

Most games, especially adult rec and youth rec games, don’t require you to be a USSF soccer referee or have any other paid referee certification. They hire their own referees based on their soccer experience.

All you need to do is talk to the local leagues to find openings, and the pay is often the same or better than club soccer without all of the registration expenses.

How old do you have to be to become a soccer referee?

Age requirements vary based on local policy and child labor laws. It is common to see teenagers working on younger games.

However, some leagues may require a higher minimum age to become a referee than the minimum age to work in your state.

You should check the requirements of the place you want to work before signing up for a youth soccer referee training course.

Is this a good job for a young person learning responsibility?

The treatment of all referees by parents and coaches gets worse every year. Physical attacks on referees are now routine news.

Many leagues and clubs are operated as businesses meaning they’re often reluctant to take action against parents who are writing checks.

Younger referees often aren’t really recruited so they can learn. It’s because no one else will do the job.

Before you allow your child to join a potentially unhealthy environment,

  • Have you talked to several active or former referees and/or parents about their experiences in that league?
  • Is the telling you to take the referee course paid to assign games, teach courses, or attend tournaments? Does their “volunteer work” include regular all-expense paid trips?
  • Is the person who is telling you the referee course telling you how things actually are now, how they want them to be, or how they were in the past?
  • Who says your child would be a good referee and why? Good jobs screen for fit. When places are desperate enough to have no qualifications, there is often a reason.

What are the different soccer referee certifications?

In the United States…

  • Grassroots is the entry level certification for referees working local youth and amateur games.
  • Regional is for advanced referees working lower professional and senior amateur games.
  • National and Professional referees work professional games.

England has eight levels corresponding with the level of league.

  • Level 8 is a youth league referee.
  • Level 1 is English Football League 1 and League 2.
  • English Premier League referees are part of the Select Group.

What does the local entry level referee course include?

The grassroots entry level referee course is primarily online. Some states may require a field session for additional training.

The online grassroots referee module is usually completed in the U.S. Soccer Referee Learning Center.

When you search for soccer referee classes on U.S. Soccer, it will direct you to the right course for your state.

Nearly all states require a background check. The requirements vary based on state law.

What is a soccer referee’s salary?

Referees are typically paid $20-$100 per game depending on the location and level. Most soccer referees make somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 per year.

Most referees pay taxes as independent contractors.

Professional referees are often on full-time salaried contracts.

College soccer referee pay ranges from about $100 to $1,000+ per game depending on the level. Higher level games also cover travel expenses. Most college soccer referees also work other jobs.

What is the soccer referee uniform?

Each organization sets its own referee uniform standard to ensure that their officials match. The basic uniform includes a jersey, black ref shoes, shorts, and socks. You will need additional equipment such as whistles, cards, and flags.

Where can I find grassroots referee certification quiz answers?

If you are looking for the referee test questions online, this probably isn’t the right job for you.

First, integrity is a very important quality for a referee. Second, the questions are so basic that it is dangerous for you and the players to be on the field if you can’t get them right.

What are the downsides of being a referee?

Referees are under an increasing amount of verbal and physical abuse. The physical abuse includes multiple deadly assaults per year.

Some youth soccer parents have also taken to trying to cancel referees on social media and trying to cost them their day jobs over game calls.

Where can I find soccer referee jobs?

Your soccer referee course should give you contacts. You can also search for the local clubs, leagues, and tournaments in your area. They usually have a referee contact posted.

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