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Referee Academy

referee academy


Iowa Soccer's Referee Academy is a newer developmental opportunity designed for youth referees who desire additional training and advancement on the referee pathway. The Academy is a residential experience, held on the campus of Grinnell College, with a session for 12 boys and a session for 12 girls, and each session coincides with the Iowa Soccer D. Camp, a residential program for youth players. Through outside funding and support, the camp is free for the selected referees.

Referee Academy Overview

The Iowa Soccer Referee Academy is a residential camp for referees in the age groups U13 to U17, held at Grinnell College annual in late July. The Academy is divided into two 2.5-day segments, one for the boys and one for the girls. The program utilizes licensed Referee coaches and volunteer chaperones who meet Iowa Soccer Risk Management protocols.

  • Mentors/Instructors are rotated each day  
  • Each referee and mentor will receive a swag bag
  • During the stay, Iowa Soccer provides dorm rooms and food for all referee campers and coaches free of charge

Referee Academy program includes daily training with fitness, video, and drills specific to developing referees. The focus is on matching functional aspects such as positioning, signals, player management, and foul identification and selection. However, there are discussions on topics that should be covered, such as an effective pre-match warm-up, a debate on development and advancement to events like State Cup or Regionals, and the U.S. Soccer upgrade path.

The referees also have the opportunity for practical experience by officiating many of the games (played by the participants of Iowa Soccer's D. Camp) while being observed by the referee coaching technical staff. Technology like Veo cameras and communication systems will be utilized, so the participating referees can see their performances reviewed in film sessions and provide immediate feedback.

We expect to see the referees that attend not only improve their performance level but gain an understanding of what future there is in refereeing if they want to pursue the pathway to upgrades and more prestigious events such as USYS Regionals. We expect that by exposing referees to an experience like this and sharing with them how they can progress while connecting them with experienced coaches and mentors, we would be able to see more continue to referee and deepen our pool of qualified officials for higher-level events.