Referee Education and Certification

You see them at all games. They are the three individuals carrying either a whistle or a flag. Their uniforms up until recently were black but now referee fashions include red, gold, silver, or teal. They are the referees or more correctly the referee and the assistant referees. Referees are an integral part of the game of soccer. Their primary functions are to ensure that the laws of the game are followed and that the safety of the player is ensured. The duties of the referee are specific and carefully outlined. The referee has the authority to:
Enforce the laws of the game
Apply the advantage clause
Keep a careful record of the game
Terminate a game if deemed necessary
Caution players guilty of misconduct or ungentlemanly behavior
Stop the game for serious injury
Allow no other person other than players and assistant referees to enter the field of play
Send a player off the field
Signal for the game to start after a stoppage of play
Decide whether all other conditions are appropriate for play including the ball, field of play and player’s equipment.

Referees are proud of their contribution to soccer and take their appointments seriously. Their basic requirements are: an understanding of the spirit and the letter of the laws; superior physical condition; cooperation with fellow officials; personal flexibility that allows for a totally unemotional approach to all decisions despite experiencing the myriad of participant emotions during a typical game; and to make the game of soccer enjoyable to play and watch.

So what does it take to become a referee? The first step is to sign up for an entry level clinic in your area. Several are held during the year and at various locations. An entry level or Grade 8 requires the attendance of a 16-hour clinic, wherein you learn about the Laws of the Game and their interpretation and enforcement as well as proper referee decorum and demeaner. From there, you can move up the grade level to state, national and FIFA levels. For more information contact the Cal South State Youth Referee Administrator shown below. The information provided in the table below summarizes the basic requirements for referee certification.

USSF Referee Grades

USSF Referee Grade Minimum Age Badge Assignment Level

10. Assistant Referee None USSF Assistant Referee Youth Games

9. Associate Referee None USSF Associate Referee Youth Games Through Age 14

8. Referee Class 2 None USSF Referee All Youth Games

7. Referee Class 1 17 USSF Referee All Youth Games and mixed leagues, assistant referee in all amateur games below the top division

6. State Referee 2 18 USSF State Referee All youth and amateur games through second division and assistant referees in the top amateur division and amateur cup games

5. State Referee 1 19 USSF State Referee All youth and amateur games including first division and assistant referees in professsional league and international cup games

4. State National Referee 25 USSF National Referee All games except formal FIFA international matches; assistant referees for international matches

3. National Referee (International Panel Candidate) 26 USSF National Referee All games except fornal FIFA international matches

2. International Assistant Referees 26 FIFA Assistant Referees All games

1. International Referee 26 FIFA All games

Cal South has a very comprehensive referee training and development program with emphasis on clinics for new referees, a special mentor program for one-on-one training of young referees, a unique live-in young referee training academy for the development of advanced youth referees and Assistant Referees training. This section describes all of these programs. These and other Cal South referee programs have been developed by the State Referee Committee and serve as a model for other state programs. Also provide below is a complete list of referee training and recertification clinics.

Referee Administration

In 1991 by agreement between Cal South (Youth) and CSA-South (Amateurs) the State Referee Committee (SRC) was born. Dr. George Faragallah as the State Referee Administrator is the Chairman of the SRC. The SRC is patterned after the USSF recommendations. The SRC is the affiliated administrative body of all Federation licensed referees in Southern California.

The SRC conducts many agressive programs including: licensing clinics, upgrade clinics, instructor clinics, a mentor program and the extremely progressive Youth Referee Clinic. They schedule assessments and referees for the Youth and the Senior's State Cups and assist the Federation wherever possible in light of the numerous international, national, and professional games held in Southern California.The SRC is sponsored financially by Cal South in most aspects of the youth referee world.

Youth Referee Academy

Each summer the SRC conducts a youth referee academy. This is a live-in camp at a university in Southern California spanning 3-4 days. Some 25 youth referees in Southern California are invited to attend. They receive extensive high level instruction (field and classroom) from some of the best referees including FIFA grade referees in Southern California. In this way Cal South hopes to build and assist a youth referee cadre that will supplement and eventually replace those who age out or leave the community. Also we hope to provide the best quality referees and the avenue for those prospective future FIFA referees from Southern California to achieve the greatest referee status. There are also several other referee sessions taking place during that time such as instructional clinics and upgrade clinics.

Training for Recreational Referees (R9 Clinics)

Through the cooperation of the State Referee Committee, a one-day, 8-hour USSF Grade Recreational Referee (R9) is offered several times each year. The curriculum at these clinics teaches the particular aspects of soccer officiating for individuals involved in the recreational program. Candidates fulfilling the requirements of these clinics will be registered with USSF and receive a USSF Grade 9 Badge allowing them to officiate recreational youth games up to the Under 14 age group.

The R9 clinic uses "The Myths Of The Game Video" to teach individuals the essentials of officiating soccer. Training on the field is provided to cover all aspects needed to actually referee a game. Attendees direct participation prepares them for actual game officiating.

Emphasis is placed on:
Law Five - The Referee
Law Eleven - Off Side
Law Twelve - Fouls and Misconduct.

What's different with the R9 clinics than other clinics? Role-playing exercises are extensively used to examine how to deal with coaches and parents who dissent or otherwise effect the ability of the referee to manage the game. These exercises are great fun and have proven very effective in teaching the essential tools of game management.

Upon its initial introduction this past year, the Grade 9 Recreational Referee Clinic has been very well received and assessment of candidates on-field performance by State Referee Committee Instructors have received high marks. Cal South greatly encourages you to take advantage of this educational resource.

If you are interested in learning more about this new recreational program or would like to schedule a clinic, please contact Cal South's R9 Administrator, Jeremy Swan. In an effort to provide enough opportunities for the training of all of the recreational leagues throughout Cal South, please take a look at the most current list of scheduled Grade 9 clinics.To learn more, contact Jeremy at the email listed above, or log onto the Recreation Referee (R9) home page.

Referee Clinics

Throughout the year and at various locations, a number of referee instructional clinics are held. These clinics cover entry level training as well as recertification clinics for upgrading a referee's grade level. Additionally, a number of instructional clinics are held for the purpose of training volunteers to serve as assistant referees. For a schedule of available R9 clinics, please click here.

Listing of Certified Referees

Please click here for a complete list of all certified referees. The following link provides a listing of currently certified R9 referees. These lists are maintained by the State Referee Committee and all questions should be directed to them, or email Penny Rehm.

For additional information, visit the FIFA Laws of the Game
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