Want to become a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) referee and start working youth matches? Then check the Calendar Events Summary, find a Grassroots Referee Course that you'd like to attend, click on it, and register.
Don't see a Grassroots Referee Course scheduled yet near you but you'd like to get started right now? Then go to the IA - Grassroots Referee Pre-Course (Statewide/Remote) in the US Soccer Learning Center. This pre-course enables you to complete the online assignments for a Grassroots Referee Course ahead of time. Once a course is scheduled in your area, all your completed assignments can be transferred to the specific IA - Grassroots In-Person Course available in the Learning Center that you want to attend and there is no transfer fee.
NOTE: All Iowa Learning Center Courses for registration year 2020 are CLOSED. 2021 course curricula will be available mid-June. Watch for 2021 courses starting August 1 – both online and in-person.
Maybe you have some questions about becoming a USSF referee. Or, you're already a soccer referee with some experience and now want to officiate high school or college matches. AYSO referees can cross-certify with USSF and become dual-certified. The information provided below may answer your questions.
Become a USSF Referee
The following questions will help you in your quest to become a certified referee with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
Q.: What is the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)?
A.: The USSF, or US Soccer, is the certifying organization for sanctioned club matches in the United States. If you want to work tournaments, local leagues (such as ISL), or club matches, you will need to be USSF Certified.
Q.: How can I become a soccer referee?
A.: By completing the Grassroots Referee Course in the US Soccer Learning Center which has both an online and an in-person (instructor-led) component.
Q.: Where can I go to find out more about the Learning Center?
A.: Go to the Learning Center page here on our website under REFEREES and Administration.
Q.: What are the requirements to take the course?
A.: You should be physically fit, emotionally mature, at least 13 years of age, and have the time available to referee games. If you are 18 or older, you must undergo a National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) background check and receive SafeSport training. The NCSI background screen is the only one that US Soccer will accept and SafeSport training is required by Federal Law. You have to complete a background check first before you can enroll in the course.
Q.: Where can I find more information about SafeSport?
A.: Go to the US Soccer website Safe Soccer page to read about the SafeSport Authorization Act and applicable US Soccer Policies, download the Handbook, and get answers to FAQs.
Q.: How do I sign up for a Grassroots Referee Course?
A.: Course dates and times will be posted to the Calendar Events Summary. Find a clinic that you would like to attend, click on the event, and follow the instructions provided to register for it. All courses require pre-registration and payment through the Learning Center before attending.
Q.: I've signed up for an IA - Grassroots In-Person Course in the Learning Center. Is there anything I need to complete beforehand?
A.: Yes. After you have pre-registered and paid for the course, you'll be taken the course 'Classroom' in the Learning Center. Click on the 'Assignments' tab and complete all the assignments listed before you attend the in-person course. The assignments are:
• Online Grassroots Referee Course (4 hour module)
• 2020 SafeSport Training (90 minute module) – required for those age 18 and older
• 2020 Introduction to Safe and Healthy Playing Environments (30 minute presentation)
• 2020 Grassroots Referee Certification Quiz (25 questions)
Q.: What games can I referee once I have completed the Grassroots Referee Course?
A.: As a Grassroots Referee, you can be assigned as a Referee or an Assistant Referee for all youth games, including recreational and travel (or select) games. You can also be assigned as a Referee or an Assistant Referee to competitive youth games, depending on your age and experience. You will typically start out working the younger age groups in small-sided 7v7 or 9v9 play; and, as you gain experience, move on to the older age groups.
Q.: After I pass the course, how do I get assigned games to referee?
A.: A Referee Assignor will schedule your games. You will be given a list of the local assignors either during or immediately after the referee course. It is your responsibility to contact the Assignor, let them know you completed the course, and are ready to referee games. The most important things the Assignor needs to know are your availability to do games, your e-Mail address, and phone number. Check the Assignment page for a list of registered assignors in Iowa.
Q.: How do I continue to referee games after my first year?
A.: All referees must re-certify and re-register every year between July 1 and December 31. Referees who miss this registration window are assessed a late fee. Additionally, if you do not re-register during the normal registration window, you run the risk of not receiving a new referee badge. Recertification courses will be made available in the Learning Center after July. Once the assignments associated with the recertification module are completed and registration fees are paid, you will be registered for the following year. Referee certification is valid for each calendar year; however, re-certifications can start as early as July for the following year. If you first certified as a referee between July and December, your certification is valid for the remainder of that year and for the entire next calendar year. If you originally became certified in the first half of the year, then your certification is valid through December of that year.
Become a High School (NFHS) Soccer Official
NOTE: Most local Referee Assignors will require that you certify with both in order to receive High School matches.
Become a College (NISOA) Referee
In order to become a National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) referee, you must have a minimum of 3 years of referee experience and receive recommendations from existing college officials. Speak to a member of your local NISOA Chapter to receive more information. (See contacts below.) If transferring from another NISOA Chapter, you must complete a Transfer Form available from the NISOA web site.
AYSO Cross-Certification with USSF
Are you an AYSO referee who would also like to be a USSF referee? An AYSO Intermediate, Advanced, or National Referee can cross-certify to a USSF Grassroots Referee by doing the following:
Complete the AYSO/USSF Cross-Certification Form*. The authorizing signature is that of the Section Referee Administrator for a National Referee or the Area Referee Administrator for an Intermediate or Advanced Referee. The signature of the Regional Commissioner is also required.
Write a check in the amount of $55, made payable to the Iowa Referee Committee (IRC), to cover the fees associated with registration as a USSF referee.
Mail forms and check to:
655 S. Troy Rd.
Once your registration has been processed by the Registrar, a badge will be mailed to you.
* Cross-certification is available to AYSO and USSF referees who are not already certified with both organizations. All games officiated for AYSO or USSF may be applied toward the certification requirements of either organization. The Diagonal System of Control (DSC) is the only recognized system of control.