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I Want to Become a Referee

becoming a u.s. Soccer referee

Are you age 13 or older, want to become a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) referee and start working youth matches? Then you need to complete a US Soccer Grassroots Referee Course. 

What is U.S. Soccer?

  • 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.

How can I become a Referee?

  • By completing a Grassroots Referee Course which has both an online (Learning Center) and an in-person (instructor-led) component.

When are grassroots referee courses offered?

  • Courses are typically scheduled just prior to the start of the Spring and Fall Seasons, i.e., during February / March and then July / August.

Where can I go to find more about the Learning Center?

What are the requirements to take the course?

  • 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 Screening and receive SafeSport Training. The NCSI background check is the only one that U.S. Soccer will accept, and SafeSport training is required by Federal Law.

Where can I find more information about SafeSport?

  • Go to the U.S. Soccer Safe Soccer page to read about the SafeSport Authorization Act and applicable US Soccer Policies, download the Handbook, and get answers to FAQs.

How do I register for an in-person grassroots course?

  • 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 registration and payment through the Learning Center before attending.

What games can I referee once I have completed the Grassroots Referee Course?

  • 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.

When will I receive my referee badge?

  • Official Sports International (OSI) will mail you a referee badge 30-45 days after you complete the course. Make sure that your mailing address is current in your Learning Center Profile to ensure that your badge is sent to the correct address.

After I pass the course, how do I get assigned games to referee?

  • 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. 

How do I review the online course materials after I've done the Grassroots Referee Course?

  • Login to the Learning Center
  • Hover over COURSES
  • Select MY COURSES
  • Click on OPEN ARCHIVE for the course you’d like to review
  • Next, click on ASSIGNMENTS
  • Click on the ">" to the right of the progress wheel
  • Revisit the course

How do I continue to referee games after my first year?

  • 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 in 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.