- Grade 8 Referee Clinic - Aug 9 - 11, 2013
How to Become a USSF Certified Soccer Referee
Being a soccer referee can be both rewarding and fulfilling. To become a US Soccer Federation (USSF) Referee you are required to attend an Entry Level Clinic given by a specially trained and certified instructor. The clinics are sponsored by WYS and hosted locally by different clubs. There is no exception to this requirement, even if you were a player or coach. Two Entry Level courses are offered in Wyoming:
- Grade 8 Referee - able to work any level Youth match and preparing to work Adult matches.
- Grade 9 Referee - able to work all Youth Recreational matches U-14 and younger, and only as an Assistant Referee on Youth Competitive level matches for ages U14 and younger.
The Entry Grade 8 Referee Course (17 hours). This course prepares an individual for matches on all youth games as a Referee or Assistant Referee. The minimum age to become a Grade 8 Referee is 14 at the time of registration. The clinics are usually conducted over one weekend but it is possible for them to be held over several weekday evenings.
At the end of the clinic you must pass a 100 question test with a score of 75% or higher. Upon successfully completing this course you will receive a black badge. Your registration is good for one year and must be renewed annually. The annual registration fee is $40.00.
The Entry Grade 9 Recreational Referee Course (9 hours). This course is intended to introduce new referees to the game with minimum training while gaining experience. The minimum recommended age to become a Grade 9 Referee is eleven years old at the time of registration. The clinic is normally one full day. This certification will allow you to Referee Youth Recreational games, U14 and younger, only, and Assistant Referee on any Youth Competitive game, U14 or younger.
At the end of the clinic you must pass a 50 question test with a score of 76% or higher. Upon successfully completing this course you will receive a blue badge. Your registration is good for one year and must be renewed annually. The annual registration fee is $40.00.
USSF Referee Grades Explained
All referees affiliated with FIFA have a designated referee grade. The grade indicates the qualification of the referee to officiate at various levels of local, national and international soccer competition. There is a common misconception that these grades are related to elementary or secondary school grades - they're not, they are assigned by USSF.
Grade 1 Referees: Referees who officiate in the World Cup and international matches are designated as Grade 1.
Grade 2 Referees: Assistant Referees to Grade 1 Referees are designated as Grade 2.
Grade 3 and 4 Referees: In the United States competition at the national level (including professional soccer and MLS) requires Grade 3 or 4. Grade 3 indicates the referee's readiness to be considered for international service.
Grade 5 and 6 Referees: The highest level of competition within a state (amateur leagues beyond youth) requires a Grade 5 or 6 where Grade 5 indicates the referee's readiness to be considered for national service.
Grade 7 Referees: Grade 7 is an experienced referee in the state qualified to officiate all but the highest levels of amateur soccer.
Grade 8 Referees: Most referees begin their careers as Grade 8 having taken the entry training course.
Grade 9 Referees: Very young aspirants to refereeing may take an abbreviated training course and be registered as Grade 9 which qualifies them only for very young "small sided" matches (usually seven and eight year old players in six per team matches)
As referees advance to higher grades they are required to demonstrate their continued qualification for their grade through "maintenance" assessments and sustained high level competition experience. Each referee at Grade 7 or higher is also required to successfully pass a physical fitness field examination which includes distance, agility and speed tests (as set out in the Referee Administrative handbook). The results of this testing are recorded to fulfill part of the annual registration/recertification qualifications. In rare circumstances referees who fail to maintain their qualifications are "down-graded" and this is reflected on their next registration.