HOW TO BECOME A SOCCER REFEREE
Many people wish to become referees but do not know where to begin. All referee classes are posted on the respective state referee web page:
For Virginia, go to www.vadcsoccerref.com. When you enter this page you are going to click on “clinic search”.
For Maryland, it’s www.marylandsoccer.com/referees/. The Maryland web site is self-explanatory.
New referee classes are posted that begin in July and August. These classes will allow participants to begin refereeing in the FALL season.
All referees have a “Grade”. This grade refers to the level of the referee, not school. This, at times, leads to confusion. Here is a brief description of referee grades:
GRADE 12 Referee is an AR (assistant referee) for all levels of soccer, which NCSL is using for its STARs program. Minimum age is 18.
GRADE 9 Referee is a Recreational Referee, usually between the age of 12 & 14 years old wishing to start out at the recreational level. A Grade 9 referee can do centers up to U14 in “recreational” soccer and can be an AR for up to U14 in travel games, but cannot do centers at the travel level. Some adults start here because they want to learn at a slower pace and work as a team with one of their children. After a year of refereeing a Grade 9 referee can take an up-grade 8 class to advance to the next level.
GRADE 8 Referee is also a beginner but with a little more soccer experience and a little more maturity. A Grade 8 referee can do most any type of game, recreational, travel or adult, depending on their ability and desire.
Referees are nationally certified, so there is no age restriction on becoming a referee (there is, however, a Va. Child Labor Law that states “no child under the age of 12 can be paid”) except for a Grade 12. It is highly recommended that 12 & 13 year olds start at the Grade 9 level to gain experience in the recreational games before moving on into the more competitive travel games.
Once a person becomes a referee, they must then contact their local assignor to find out how to obtain assignments.
Each referee is an independent contractor and may work for any assignor or club. A list of certified assignors is posted on the state referee web pages.