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how to become a grassroots soccer referee

How To Become A Grassroots Soccer Referee In The United States

Grassroots soccer referee is the start of the referee career for both amateur and professional referees. As a grassroots soccer referee, you can officiate soccer matches in your local communities, academies, and some amateur or professional games in your local area. Also, you can continue to be educated and get experience to become a regional referee.

How to become a grassroots soccer referee in the United States?

To become a grassroots soccer referee, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Meet the requirements. You must be at least 13 years old and have completed the USSF Grassroots Referee course.
  1. Take the USSF Grassroots Referee course. The course is designed to teach you the basic rules of soccer and how to referee a game. You can find a list of available courses on the US Soccer Referee website.

The courses in the United States Soccer Federation(USSF) include the contents below:

  • Introduction to refereeing. This section covers the basics of refereeing, including the role of the referee, the different positions on the field, and the mechanics of officiating a game.
  • Laws of the game. This section covers the 17 laws of soccer, including fouls, misconduct, offside, and restarts.
  • Signals and communication: This section covers the different signals and communication methods used by referees to communicate with players, coaches, and other officials during a game.
  • Pre-game preparation. This section covers the steps referees should take before a game, including field inspection, equipment checks, and communicating with coaches.
  • Match control. This section covers how referees can control a game by managing the players, coaches, and other officials, and making decisions based on the laws of the game.
  • Game management. This section covers how to handle different situations that can arise during a game, including injuries, substitutions, and timekeeping.
  • Post-game procedures. This section covers the steps referees should take after a game, including completing match reports and debriefing with other officials.

After completing the online modules of the USSF Grassroots Referee course, you will need to attend an in-person field training session to receive practical training and experience. The in-person training will help you to apply what you have learned in the online modules to real-game situations.

The field training session is typically conducted by experienced referees who will provide guidance on the mechanics of refereeing, including positioning, signaling, and communication. They may also provide feedback on your performance during simulated game scenarios.

You can find the in-person clinic on the official homepage of your local soccer referee committee.

  1. Pass the USSF Grassroots Referee exam. After completing the course and in-person training, you will need to pass an exam to become a certified referee. The exam will test your knowledge of the rules and your ability to apply them during a game.
  1. Register with your local Referee Committee. Once you have passed the exam, you must register with your local referee committee to officiate games. You can find the registration form and more information on their official website. Check the list of home pages for the soccer referee committee in all 50 states in the US below.
  1. Get game experience. To gain experience and improve your skills, you should start refereeing games at the local level. Contact your local soccer club or league to find out how to get started.
  1. Continue education. You will need to complete annual recertification courses to maintain your certification and stay up-to-date with any changes in the rules or procedures.

After you finish these steps, you will be certified by the USSF and get your grassroots soccer referee license.

How about the cost to become a grassroots soccer referee?

  1. USSF Grassroots Referee course fee: Ranges from $20 to $80.
  2. In-person field training fee: The fee for the in-person training session typically ranges from $20 to $150.
  3. Uniform and equipment: The cost for a basic set of referee gear typically ranges from $50 to $100.
  4. Annual recertification fee: Once you become a certified grassroots soccer referee, you will need to recertify each year by completing a recertification course. The cost for recertification typically ranges from $50 to $100.

Overall, the total cost to become a certified grassroots soccer referee can range from $100 to $400, depending on your location and the organization providing the course.

How can you get some games to officiate after you are certified by USSF?

As a newbie to officiate the game, it may take some time and effort to find some games to officiate after you get the license of a grassroots soccer referee. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Contact your local State Referee Association: Your State Referee Association (SRA) can help you find games to officiate in your area. They may also be able to provide information on local leagues and clubs that are in need of referees.
  • Reach out to local leagues and clubs: Contact local soccer leagues and clubs in your area and let them know that you are a certified referee. Many leagues and clubs are often in need of referees and may be able to provide you with opportunities to officiate games.
  • Use online resources: You can also use online resources such as referee assignment websites or apps, such as GameOfficials or RefereeCenter, to find games to officiate. These websites allow referees to view and accept available assignments in their area.
  • Network with other referees: Networking with other referees in your area can also be a great way to find games to officiate. Reach out to other referees in your area and ask if they know of any games or leagues that are in need of referees.


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