Giving Back to the Game—Become a Soccer Ref

Giving Back to the Game—Become a Soccer Ref

Giving Back to the Game—Become a Soccer Ref


Whether you are an ex-player looking to find a way to put soccer back in your life or you are a player who wants to make some extra cash on the weekends and give back to the game, becoming a referee is not only a way to give back to the community through your soccer knowledge but also to “work” by doing what you love.


Become a referee is actually pretty simple—you can do so simply by attending a referee training course and completing it, followed by a test.


Each state might be different, so you should specifically contact or log on to their section on the website of the USSF referee course.


Normally, each referee course test will have:


  • 100 questions—normally multiple choice.
  • Must have the results of a passing score of 80%
  • 2 full hours to complete the test to your best ability.


If you complete the course and pass, the association will give you the badge but unfortunately, you'll have to purchase and get all the appropriate gear for yourself and your future referee career—from the uniform to the flags.


Referee Uniform


For the uniform and gear, here are the items you'll need to have to be a soccer ref:


  • Jersey: Make sure that the jersey is USSF approved. From those available, they normally come in five different colors, which are gold, black, blue, green and red. Normally, refs tend to wear the gold ones and having one of them will be sufficient. However, it’s always good to have a backup color just in case your color clashes with one of the teams’ jerseys.


  • Flags: Especially if you are going to be a center ref, it’s important that you invest in assistant referee flags, since it will be your responsibility (normally) in providing them for your ARs. You can choose from four different types:
    • Checkered
    • Diamond
    • B+D
    • Solid


  • Whistles: Another very important piece of equipment is the referee whistle. When choosing a valid whistle, there are so many different makes and models—with variations in classic or finer grip, cushion mouth grip, etc. It’s always great to stock up on two whistles, just in case.


  • Referee Cards: In the event during the game when or where you have to issue a caution or an ejection, you will need to equip yourself with referee cards and the necessary pen to keep record and write down goals scored and cards given. You can choose referee wallets with cards, write-on referee cards, and single replacement referee cards. With these, you should also invest in a flip coin holder or report form/score pads. You can choose from
    • Leather Referee Wallet with Cards
    • Write-On Cards with Referee Pen
    • Simple Card Set


  • Watches:

Although any sports watch will do with a time, if you don't have one, you'll need to invest in one to become a referee—particularly one with a timer that has a stop/start function. It’s also great to have your sideline refs keep time, as well.



Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.


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