How to Become a Referee

In order to referee soccer matches for JUSA, you must first become certified as a Referee by USSF (United States Soccer Federation).

There is no minimum age for becoming a referee.  However, center referees typically must be 2-3 years older than the players and assistant referees must be able to keep pace with the players, so, generally speaking, youth referees may only sign up for games younger than them.  The typical minimum starting age tends to be around 12.

(“Grade” below refers to USSF certification levels and is unrelated to school grade)

There are several Grades of USSF referees:

Grade 1 – FIFA Referee – center international competitive matches

Grade 2 – FIFA Assistant Referee – assistant referee on international competitive matches

Grade 3 – National Referee – center professional matches and international friendlies

Grade 4 – National Assistant Referee – assistant referee on professional matches and international friendlies

Grade 5 – State/National Candidate Referee – amateur and professional matches – attempting to move up to 3 or 4

Grade 6 – State Referee – amateur and semi-pro matches (USL, etc.)

Grade 7 – Adult Referee – can do adult amateur league matches

Grade 8 – Referee

Grade 9 – Recreational Referee

There are two choices for becoming a USSF-certified referee:

Grade 9 – Recreational Referee

At this level, you can be the Referee on any recreational youth game U-14 and younger, only, and Assistant Referee on any game U-14 or below.  This would qualify you to referee all JUSA Recreational and Signature games U-14 or younger.

For youth referees age 16 and below, this is the easiest option to get started since you will generally not be refereeing games much above your own age.

Once you’ve been a Grade 9 referee for a year, you can recertify and upgrade to Grade 8 by simply taking the Grade 8 online course and paying the Grade 8 registration fee instead of the Grade 9 fee and choose “Upgrade” instead of “Recert”.

Grade 8 – Referee

At this level, you can be a Referee or Assistant Referee on all youth games, including competitive (club) games.  This would qualify you to referee all JUSA Recreational games up to U-19, all Signature games up to U-15, and participate in competitive tournament games.

For adults and high school age youth referees, this is the typical entry level since it opens up other opportunities beyond JUSA recreational games.


The registration process for New Entry Grade 8 referees is as follows:

1)    Interested individuals will register online and pay their USSF registration fee. ($45)

2)    They will next register and pay for a 4 hour field training they wish to attend. ($10)

3)    They will then have to complete the USSF Grade 8 online modules and exam available here

USSF is providing Cal South the online module test results on a weekly basis. Cal South is able to verify if the whole module was viewed, any failed attempts and their passing score. Cal South will use this report that is generated on Wednesdays to verify if a registered member completed this pre-course assignment. Upon verification, each individual will be emailed to confirm they are allowed to attend the field portion of the course scheduled for that weekend.  Absolutely no Walk-in’s will be allowed.

Field portions will be held at each location in two sessions, a morning session and afternoon session. This will allow a more flexible timeframe from which individuals can choose from. At the end of their field session, they will be given their badge. The field sessions will have bigger turn outs and Cal South will provide a team of instructors for each.

Locations have been selected based on previous years requested locations and Cal South’s best efforts to strategically select locations within a reasonable travel distance for all.

For those interested in registering for a New Entry Grade 8 please click here and select a “Grade 8” session closest to where you live.


The registration process for New Entry Grade 9 referees is as follows:

1)    Interested individuals will register online and pay their USSF registration fee here. ($40)

2)    They will then have to complete the USSF Grade 9 online modules and exam available here

Step-by-Step details here

On-field training will then be provided by JUSA.  JUSA typically trains new referees during our annual JUSA Friendship Games pre-season, Recreational friendlies the 3rd and 4th Saturdays in August.  Sometimes we are able to organize in-game training sessions during the regular fall and spring seasons.