Sunday, September 24, 2017

U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) through its USSF Referee Program is responsible for administering all referee programs in the United States for all levels from recreational to professional leagues. The USSF Certified Referee Program is the optimum pathway for prospective referees. This program is administered through South Texas Soccer Referees, Inc. (STSR) and is the formal referee training program for South Texas Youth Soccer Association.The USSF authorizes two entry-level referee certifications summarized below: Recreational Referee Grade 9 and Referee Grade 8. However, Referee Grade 8 is the most popular and the one that is most relevant here at Gulf Coast Soccer for experienced referees.   

Grade 9 Recreational Referee program. As a candidate, you must be 12 years old or older on or before the start date of the clinic. Playing experience is desired. One will have a better chance of successful completion with a basic understanding of the game. Requirements to successfully complete the Grade 9 Recreational Referee program include 4-1/2 hrs. of classroom instruction, a field session where you must demonstrate the lessons learned during the classroom, and a written exam that requires a score of 75 or better in order to pass the course. At the completion of the program you will register with South Texas and the United States Soccer Federation as a Grade 9 Recreational Referee. A student taking the course after July 1, 2013 will be trained to referee games which require only indirect free kick restarts. Primarily these are “small-sided” games.

Grade 8 Basic Referee Program. As a candidate, you must be 13 years old or older, on or the start date of the clinic. Playing experience is desired. One will have a better chance of successful completion with a good understanding of the game. Upon sign-up in a Grade 8 clinic, the student’s work begins. The student must successfully complete an on-line session of Law videos and review questions. Upon successful completion of the on-line session you will attend an on-site clinic hosted by a local Association. The on-site session includes 6 hours of classroom instruction, a field session where you must demonstrate the lessons learned during the classroom, and a written exam that requires a score of 75 or better to pass the course. Total clinic time is 8 hours generally broken into two sessions with a lunch break. At the completion of the program you will register with South Texas and the United States Soccer Federation as a Grade 8 Referee. As a Grade 8 Referee you will be allowed to referee youth recreational and competitive matches. Effective with the new Grade 8 clinic introduced Jan 1, 2014, referees who complete after this date will be limited to U16 competitive and younger matches.

For additional information and certification requirements for the first three level referee positions:

Course Modules:

Q&A: How to Become a South Texas Soccer Referee

Frequently Asked Questions about Referee Recertification

USSF Referee Grades Explained

Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Annual referee certification/recertification
  • Pre-game team check-in 10 minutes prior to game
  • Game officiating
  • Fair and courteous treatment of all participants and spectators

Required Qualifications:

  • Background check (for those 18 years and older)
  • Good communication skills
  • Physically fit to handle the games

Who do I contact for additional information about becoming a referee or refereeing?

Our club Referee Assignor facilitates training, mentoring, certifications and scheduling of referees. If you are interesting in becoming a referee, please email Adam Vannett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NOTE: If you have missed the STSR certification course and wish to get involved right away, please check out our In-House Club Referee Program. This program will allow you to get involved and support the club until the next certification course offering. We need all the referees we can get! 

REFEREE RESOURCES

U.S. Soccer Online Training - Online resources, course overviews and helpful links

FIFA Laws of the Game - The Laws of the Game are authorized on an annual basis by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and Provided by the Federation Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA).

Rules of the Game (from the Policy on Players and Playing Rules of US Youth Soccer Association)

South Texas Soccer Referees Referee Handbook Version 8.1 (9/28/2014)

Information for New Referees

Once you successfully complete a referee course and register with the USSF, you will receive your badge and will need to get appropriate referee gear, including a soccer referee uniform, soccer referee flags, referee cards, whistle, watch and shoes. Contact our Referee Assignor Adam Vannett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Advice for New Referees - (Welcome Packet from the Referee Community from U.S. Soccer)

Video - USSF Advice to New Referees