How to Become a Soccer Referee

Many people wish to become referees but do not know where to begin. All referee classes are posted on the state referee web page:

For Virginia, go to When you enter this page you are going to click on “clinic search”.

New referee classes are posted that begin in July and August. These classes will allow participants to begin refereeing in the FALL season.

All referees have a “Grade”. This grade refers to the level of the referee, not school. This, at times, leads to confusion. Here is a brief description of referee grades:

GRADE 9 Referee is an introductory level and also comprises STAR (Special Travel Assistant Referees). STAR's are required of U12 & U13 NCSL & WAGS teams and are usually parents who have taken the certificaiton class.  

GRADE 8 Referee is the next level up from Grade 9. A Grade 8 referee can do most any type of game, recreational, travel or adult, depending on their ability and desire.

Referees are nationally certified, so there is no age restriction on becoming a referee (there is, however, a Va. Child Labor Law that states “no child under the age of 12 can be paid”).  It is highly recommended that 12 & 13 year olds start at the Grade 9 level to gain experience in the recreational games before moving on into the more competitive travel games.

Once a person becomes a referee, they must then contact their local assignor to find out how to obtain assignments. Assignors are listed on

Each referee is an independent contractor and may work for any assignor or club.