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Referees FAQs

General Referee FAQs

How can I (or my child) become a referee?
Referee classes sponsored by Sterling Soccer are held each season (there are also other classes sponsored by other nearby clubs). Look at the referee link to see what classes are upcoming. For additional options, look at the websites of nearby clubs (links to many of the club websites are listed on VYSA's website at in the "Members" section). Also send an email to the Referee Assignor expressing your interest in refereeing. Refereeing is a great way of improving knowledge of the game and earning additional income.


  1. Earn money working in a sport you enjoy. Yes, that's right. We said you can earn money!

  2. Become more knowledgeable about the Laws of the Game. Did you know that the official rules of soccer are called '"The Laws of the Game," and that the Soccer Laws used in youth soccer are the very same Laws used by the professionals with only a few minor exceptions?

  3. Learning all the ins and outs of these Laws will help you to appreciate the game much more and make you a better player (or coach).

  4. It's a great first job. Refereeing teaches commitment and professionalism, while being fun at the same time. (And did we mention the part about making money?)

  5. Adult referees are always in demand. It's a wonderful way to give something back to the community and to your home soccer association.



  1. Must be at least 12 years of age by the time you referee your first match. (Those on a U13 - U14 team can start out referring U6 and U7 matches as part of our Referee-In-Training program. See the next section below for more info.)
  2. Should be in good health, and fit enough to keep up with the players
  3. Must enjoy the game of soccer!


We have a Referee-In-Training program for youth entry-level referees. This is being provided as an alternative to the more demanding class described below. Returning Referee-In-Training referees are not required to re-take the class or attend field training.


For those 13 and older interested in the full referee training:

  1. The certified referees referee the age groups U9-U19. To become a certified referee they must be at least 13 years old.
  2. (Those on a U13 - U14 team can start out referring U6 and U7 matches as part of our Referee-In-Training program. See the next section below for more info.)
  3. The cost of the class is $70. Parents can use this class as an opportunity to encourage responsibility and commitment, for example, by advancing the class fee in whole or in part to be paid back later. After all, taking a training to learn a new skill or to prepare for a new job is good preparation for life in the adult world.
  4. Time commitment. Classes are typically about 10 hours in duration, spread over several weekday evenings and a weekend afternoon. All sessions are mandatory. There is also a 9 hour online class that must be completed BEFORE attending class.
  5. Attend with the intent to learn. A lot of information is covered in a short amount of time. A serious and attentive attitude towards learning can go a long way towards passing the final exam and being prepared to work games.
  6. Pass the final exam. To become certified, you must pass a final exam with at least a 75%. Upon passing your final exam, you will be issued your certification and your Referee Patch.

Also the REFIT (referee in training) need to be at least 12 years old, but there is no upper age cut off. They do referee the U6, U7, and U8 games.

Congratulations! You are now certified to work as Center Referee (CR) and as an Assistant Referee (AR).



Class listings and online registration are available at the Metro DC-Virginia State Referee Program (MDCVSRP) website at:

For a comprehensive list of classes, click on Clinic Listing. At the drop down box, select New Referee. Locate the Grade 8 or Grade 9 class that is most convenient for you (see "About Referee Grades" below.) For more details about the class, click on the New Referee link on the left side of the listing.

To register, return to the home MDCVSRP homepage, and click on Online Registration or follow the directions posted on their homepage - it changes with each season.

If you have questions about the registration process, you can contact Carol Schaeffer at the email address and toll-free number provided at the very bottom of the MDCVSRP home page.

Be sure to print out the Certificate of Registration when prompted, and bring that printout to class.

During the last game the referee made a lot of bad calls. (The referee did not appear to understand the rules). Can we correct them?
All of the referees are human and they will make mistakes. Many of the referees are our own children and are getting on-the-job training. The referees have completed considerable training to become a certified referee and deserve your respect.

If you believe that the referee missed a few judgment calls or missed a few calls due to not being in position to see the play, accept the result in a sporting manner.

If you believe that the referee may not be sharp enough on knowledge of the rules of the game, or consistently fails to make calls, please do not address the referee, but instead send an email to the referee assignor. The email should include the game date, time and field along with your issues. The referee assignor will work to reassess the referee and take measures for additional training or improvement.

The quality of referees improves in the league as the parents provide input to the referee assignor. The quality decreases as spectators address the referees directly and the referees begin to quit.

I am concerned with certain spectators' conduct towards the referee each week.
Notify the coach and the teams TSL and they will try to address the issues with spectators and keep proper control of the sideline.

What is offsides anyway?
Actually it is offside and not offsides. The law of offside and all of the other Laws of the Game can be found at the FIFA website at

Referee Resources

Useful resources for all new and existing referees


Please contact Dave Taylor, Referee Mentor/Assignor, at