Become a USSF Referee

The following questions will help you in your quest to become a certified referee with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Submit the form at the bottom of this page to get your name on the list to be contacted when there is a clinic scheduled for your area.

What is the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)?

The USSF 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.

What if I want to referee high school or college games?

For information regarding high school and college certification, please visit the High School, or College pages under the "Become a ..." link at the top of the page. These pages will direct you through the process of becoming sanctioned to work those games. It is recommended that officials become certified USSF referees to gain experience before certifying to referee high school or college soccer, and in some cases such experience is required.

How can I become a soccer referee?

By attending an Entry-Level Referee course.

What are the requirements to take the course?

You should be physically fit, emotionally mature, at least 12 years of age, and have the time available to referee games.

Where do I sign up for the course?

Course dates, times, and instructions are posted on the "Calendar" link on the top navigation bar. Go to the Calendar page, find a clinic you would like to take, and then click on that class to register. Additional information can be obtained from the State Director of Instruction (SDI), R. C. (Chip) Walaska, at All courses require pre-registration before attending.

What type of courses are offered?

Two types of USSF Entry-Level Courses are offered locally by the Soccer Clubs and Referee Associations. They are the "Referee Grade 8" and "Recreational Referee Grade 9" courses. US Soccer also offers on-line pre-course modules at They take approximately 2 hours to complete. You can go at your own pace too. They are an excellent resource to prepare you for the Instructor-led Entry-Level Referee Class. Use SDI-mmddyy for the Clinic Number where "mmddyy" is the date you view a module. Both courses are explained below.

What is the "Referee Grade 8" course?

A course typically taught over two days (please note that only the first day of the clinic is shown on the event calendar). You must attend the full class, and pass a 50-question multiple choice exam (80% correct is needed to pass). The cost of the course is $55.

What is the "Recreational Referee Grade 9" course?

An 8-hour, single-day course. You must attend the class, and pass a 50-question multiple choice exam (80% correct is needed to pass). The cost of the course is $40.

What games can I referee once I have completed a course?

For Grade 8: Referee or Assistant Referee for all youth games, including recreational and travel (or select) games. Referee or Assistant Referee on competitive Youth games, depending on the age and experience of the referee. Most will start out working the younger age groups and as you gain experience you will do older age groups.

For Grade 9: Referee or Assistant Referee on recreational youth games for players 14 years old and younger only.

How do I sign up for an entry level class?

Visit the "Calendar" link at the top of the navigation bar for a listing of future classes. F
ind a clinic you would like to attend and then click on that class to register for it. Follow the instructions provided.

After I pass the course, how do I get 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 continue to referee games after the first year?

All referees must re-certify and re-register each year by attending a single 4-hour instructor-led re-certification class or completing the online version. 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. There are various re-certification classes conducted throughout the state, and these can be found on the Calendar link at the top of the page. 
In Iowa, referees are expected to re-register for the following year between August 1 and November 1 without a penalty. Referees who miss this 90-day 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.


To receive information when there is a beginning referee clinic in your area, please fill out the following form and press "Submit" at the bottom.

Get More Information...
Your Name: (First and last please!)
Home Phone:
Work Phone: