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, each with its own 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) coordinates eligibility for high school officials. 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?
USSF requires a combination of online and classroom training for new youth soccer officials. See Youth Certification for details.
MSHSL requires online training each year and a classroom session once every three years. See High School Certification for details.
SCMSOA encourages members to participate in its preseason training each August to prepare for the high school season.
4. How much will it cost to get started?
You’ll have two initial expenses: registration fees and uniforms/equipment.
- Youth soccer officials pay $80 to register each year.
- First year high school officials pay $15, second year officials pay $30, and returning veteran officials pay $55.
- Referees can purchase uniform and equipment starter kits for $50-$100.
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 consider your certification, experience, and availability to determine appropriate assignments for you. Web-based software systems streamline the assigning process for both referees and assignors.
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 hundreds of high school matches each year in a service area that includes Albert Lea, Fairmont, Faribault, Mankato, Marshall, New Ulm, Owatonna, St. Peter, Tracy, and Waseca. You control your assignments by indicating where you are willing to travel.
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 payments 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 compensation 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. Most schools pay by check, usually within a week. Some schools are beginning to pay online.
10. How long do games last?
Youth and high school soccer matches last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the ages and competitive levels of the players. 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 officials 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 who will help you learn how to handle various game situations. SCMSOA and some youth clubs also use mentors to help new referees.
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.