Referees are as critical to soccer as players and coaches. In AYSO, the game can’t be played if there aren’t enough referees. It’s most common for a volunteer to begin their AYSO referee career by refereeing their own child’s game. However, as they learn the rules, develop their own techniques for managing players, coaches and fans, and gain an appreciation for how important the role of the referee is to a fun, fair and safe soccer experience, they often find it very rewarding to expand their knowledge and experience through AYSO’s advanced training and certification process. AYSO’s referee training is considered some of the best in the U.S. and includes both in-person courses in your community and online opportunities. Soccer knowledge is a plus, but is certainly not required. The AYSO referee training will give you all you need to know to have a terrific experience on the field.
Becoming A Referee
Why should you become an AYSO Referee? We need you. We can't have games without referees. More importantly, it's rewarding and working with kids is great fun!
Referees are critical to soccer - the game can't be played without them. The referee's job is to be the official in charge of the game. He is the independent arbiter and manager of the game. Her authority extends to everyone at the field, including players, substitutes, team officials, spectators, and even assistant referees.
The referee's No. 1 one concern is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players. While there is risk in all sports, the referee is responsible for minimizing such risks from field conditions, equipment, spectators, and the players.
The referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game safe, fair and fun for everyone: the players, the coaches, the spectators and themselves. He interferes with the game as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses. Referees only make calls for offenses they are sure occurred.
We want our kids to continue to play, and they keep playing as long as it is fun. Referees learn that fun soccer varies from age group to age group of players.
Contact your Regional Commissioner if you are ready to become a referee.
There are the six certification levels for AYSO referees. Here is a brief description of the requirements for each. Contact your Regional Referee Administrator (RRA) for more details:
(minimum age 10)
Complete the U-8 Official Course and pass the U-8 Official Exam.
(minimum age 12)
Complete the Assistant Referee Course and pass the Assistant Referee Exam.
(minimum age 12)
Complete the Basic Referee Course and pass the Regional Referee Exam.
(minimum age 14)
Complete 25 games as referee with at least five in U-12 games, complete the Intermediate Referee Course, pass the Intermediate Referee Exam and be (observed) mentored in a U-12 game.
(minimum age 16)
Complete 50 games as referee with at least 10 in U-14 and five as an assistant referee (in U-14), complete the Advanced Referee Course, pass the Advanced Referee Exam, pass one assessment as referee and one as assistant referee in a U-14 match, pass the AYSO Physical Fitness Test and do a minimum of five service units (contact your RRA for details).
(minimum age 18)
Complete 100 games as referee with at least 30 in U-16 and U-19 games and 25 as Assistant Referee with at least 10 in U-19, complete the National Referee Course, pass the National Referee Exam, pass two assessments as referee in U-16 or U-19 matches and one as assistant referee in a U-19 match, complete the AYSO Physical Fitness Test and do an additional five service units (contact your RRA for details).