Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why be an official?

Here are just a few reasons:

  • Make a difference for others.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Become a better player or coach.
  • Stay involved with soccer, even if you no longer play or coach.
  • Give back to the game.
  • Enjoy the camaraderie of the referee team.
  • Get healthy exercise.
  • Earn money.

Each person has his or her own reasons.  Why do you want to be a referee?

2. Who certifies soccer officials?

Youth, high school, and college soccer have separate governing bodies, with their own rules and certification requirements for referees.  You can start officiating at the youth or high school level.  (The college level requires previous experience.)

  • The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) certifies referees for youth soccer.  See Youth Certification for details.
  • The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) certifies officials for high school soccer.  See High School Certification for details.

SCMSOA recommends that new referees begin at the youth level, which provides the most thorough training and the best opportunities to gain experience in gradually more challenging games.

3. What training will I need?

Initial certification for youth soccer officials requires 8 hours of online training and an 8-hour classroom session.  Annual recertification requires 5 hours of online training.

High school certification requires 2 hours of online training each year and a 3-hour classroom session once every three years.

SCMSOA also holds a preseason training meeting each year to help referees prepare for the high school season.

4. How much will it cost to get started?

You’ll have two initial expenses:

  • Registration fees
  • Uniform and equipment

Expect to pay $100-$150 up front.  These expenses are tax deductible, and you’ll recover your investment after a few games.

5. How will I find work?

Youth clubs and tournaments utilize referee assignors who will match you to their games.

SCMSOA also has an assignor who will match you to high school games.

Assignors will consider your certification, experience, and availability to determine appropriate assignments for you.

Web-based systems streamline the assigning process.  See Assigning for examples.

6. Where can I work?

The Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) and its member clubs organize thousands of games each year, including hundreds in southern Minnesota.  You can officiate for one or more clubs depending on where you are available to work.

SCMSOA supplies referees for high school matches in a service area that includes communities in south central and southwestern Minnesota.

7. How many games will I have to officiate?

You can work as much or as little as you want.  You control your schedule by indicating when you are available.

8. How much will I earn?

Fees for youth matches vary by club.  Typical fees range from $20 to $40 per game for first year referees.

SCMSOA fees for high school matches range from $30 to $60 per game for first year officials.

You’ll earn more as you gain experience and accept more challenging assignments.

SCMSOA members also receive payment for travel to and from distant high school game sites.

9. How will I get paid?

Most youth soccer clubs pay by check or online.  They issue payments at weekly, monthly, or other intervals during the season.

SCMSOA members submit vouchers at the field before high school matches.  Schools pay by check, usually within a week.

10. How long do games last?

Youth soccer matches last between 1 and 2 hours.  High school games last between 1½ and 2 hours.  Officials need to arrive 30 minutes before kickoff to complete safety inspections and other pregame duties.  Expect to spend a total of 1½ to 2½ hours per game, plus travel time.

If you have to submit a match or incident report, expect to spend additional time after the game.  Most competitions use online forms that allow you to complete reports quickly and easily.  See Reports for details.

11. How will I get feedback?

You’ll work with a variety of experienced partners swho will help you learn how to handle various game situations.  SCMSOA and some youth clubs also use mentors to help new referees improve.

12. What if people yell at me?

Some low-level grumbling during games is normal, but serious incidents are rare.  You’ll learn techniques to deal with players, coaches, and spectators and you’ll have the support of other officials and mentors at game sites.