Soccer Referee Training Options

Content provided for general information. Always talk to your tax advisor before making important decisions.

I may receive a referral fee if you use linked products or services.

There are many types of training options for new referees. Each organization has its own philosophy on training, and the new referee experience will vary widely depending on where you go.

Soccer Referee Training for Recreational Soccer Leagues

Most games in the United States are played in independent recreational leagues. These can be small independent leagues, companies that promote leagues in a city or region, or national corporations.

Training for these leagues is mostly on-the-job. That can sound scary at first, but you only have to look at the success of these leagues and the quality of their referees to see that it’s working.

Their philosophy is simple. Being a referee takes work, but it isn’t rocket science. Make it as easy as possible to become a referee, and you can pick the best.

To be a successful referee, you should have a strong playing background and good people skills. You also have to be willing to learn. Players are often completely wrong about the rules, and you have to be willing to study and make sure you’re calling the game by the book. It’s the only way referees can be consistent.

As a new referee, you’ll learn by studying from the book, discussing situations with experienced referees, and making mistakes during games. Doing 11v11 games where you can be an AR for experienced referees is also a great way to learn if those games are available in your area.

High School Soccer Referee Training

High schools generally play under a state high school athletic association. High schools also take an on-the-job training approach.

To get started, you generally just need to study the rulebook to get a passing score on the test. You’ll then be ready to work games.

In the beginning, you’ll be put on the lowest level games with two or three more experienced referees. You only need to worry about making the most basic calls like throw-ins and offside. The other referees will take care of the rest.

As you learn, you’ll take on more responsibility and begin to receive harder games.

United States Soccer Federation Entry Level Referee Course

The USSF soccer referee program entry-level courses cost around $100, and you can expect to spend another $100 to $200 on uniforms.

The courses consist of online coursework through the US Soccer Learning Center, and some areas also require you to attend an in-person session. You’ll also need to complete compliance training like healthy playing environments and Safesport training.

How much does a soccer referee get paid?

Before you take the training, you might want to know how much a soccer referee gets paid. It varies widely by area and even leagues within each area.

Independent leagues can range from $10 to $30 per hour. High school referee game fees are usually set by the state and can range from $30 per game to over $100. US Soccer youth leagues can start as low as $15 to $20 per game in 90-minute or 120-minute time slots.

Do you have to pay for a referee course?

You do not have to pay for a referee course to be a referee somewhere. There are many opportunities that don’t require you to take specific courses or pay referee fees.

There are leagues where you do have to pay to be part of a certain organization to ref. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometime’s it’s not.

The deciding factor is that the “referee shortage” is often a scheduling issue. They might need 25 referees most of the time and 50 referees on just a few dates. So when they recruit 50, there aren’t enough games or money to go around the rest of the time. You’ll need to do some digging to see what kind of work you can expect to get in your area.

Thanks for reading.

If you found this post useful, please help others find it by sharing on social or linking from your blog.

Get monthly tips and tax reminders in your inbox.

Leave a Comment

You can leave an anonymous question or comment below. All comments are public, so please don't include any sensitive information. If you need personalized advice, please talk to a tax advisor or other appropriate professional.