Advice for New Referees

Welcome to the Referee Community from U.S. Soccer

Here are some helpful tips and advice for you as a new referee. They have been gathered from experienced referees – who all started their careers as referees just like you and learned many of these lessons the "hard way." The advice found here will get you off to the best possible start.

Remember to have fun!


Making a Good First Impression

Pre-Game Responsibilities

The Game

How Do Referees Improve?

Next Year is Just Around the Corner - Recertification


Do You Need Questions Answered or Additional Advice?


How does a new referee get game assignments?

  • Initial assignments will likely come from a youth league assignor and will be in the lower level games.

  • Make sure you received the name of your local assignor during the entry level course. If you didn't, contact your instructor for the course and ask how you find out who the assignor is in your area. (There is a place to note your assignor's contact information at the end of this document.)

  • When accepting more than one assignment in a day, make sure you allow enough time to travel to the next game.

  • Make sure you let your assignor know what your game schedule looks like if you are playing and if you have any conflicts of interest with other teams, such as family members playing on or coaching teams in the same league.

  • If you are interested in working as a referee at tournaments in your state, watch for a listing on your state association website, or the referee committee website. The referee assignors for tournaments are usually listed, as well as a way to get in touch with them.

  • Game fees: The game fees paid to referees vary from state to state, and sometimes even from league to league. You will be able to find out what the game fees are and how you get paid from your assignor and/or your area (district) referee administrator.