Why Become a Soccer Referee?

1 A Greater Understanding of the Game: Even if you never actually set foot on the pitch to call a game, sacrificing a weekend of your life to take a referee course will open up your understanding of the laws of the game immensely.As a player, you will have a greater knowledge of what referees will and won’t call, and adjust your game accordingly.

2. Give Back to the Game: Unfortunately, not everyone who rises up through the soccer ranks will make it professionally. Even if you have an excess amount of passion for the game, almost everyone except for the top .01% of players will plateau at some point. If you’ve finished your high school career or, if you’re fortunate enough, your college career, not having soccer can leave a massive hole in your life. The referee community, for the most part, absolutely loves the game and can become the soccer family that you lack once your playing days are over.

3. Get Paid to Exercise: As we get older, many of us find ourselves stuck in office jobs that force us to sit at our desks, starting at a screen for 40 hours a week. Former competitive athletes can have a particularly rough time transitioning to this kind of schedule, as eating habits are harder to break than exercise habits.

A Referee average six miles a game for a 90-minute center assignment, and around three miles a game when serving as an Assistant running the lines. After refereeing a traditional three-game set, you’ve run 12 miles over the course of six hours, without even noticing it. Complete two sets a weekend and you’re basically running a marathon over two days every weekend, all while coming away with a couple hundred dollars that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

4. Continue the Drive to Improve: Soccer players, and all elite athletes, are driven by their goals to improve in all aspects of the game. While at a certain level, that improvement becomes harder and harder to come by, refereeing presents a whole new mountain to climb. If you’re young, fit and have a passion for the game, you can continue rising through the ranks of USSF to potentially work your way up to the highest levels.

How does one meet the Referee Registration Requirements:

There are three groups in New York that certify individuals as qualified to referee.  First, USSF uses FIFA rules to govern their games, both recreational and professional.  Second, NCAA rules govern college soccer.  High school soccer games are played by National Federation of High Schools rules administered by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

As a prerequisite to stepping on the High School soccer field as a referee, thus rules require that five steps must be completed.  This “Five Point Program” is as follows. 

  1. Observe the constitutions and bylaws of their local and state officials’ organizations;

  2. Attend interpretation meetings and clinics of the local organization each year; 

  3. Give satisfactory evidence of proficiency in the mechanics of officiating and of competent performance related to the specific sport;

  4. Pass: (i) the NFHS Soccer rules examination and (ii) a State-mandated background check as you will be working with minors; and 

  5. Are listed with the NYSPHSAA, Inc. by CVSOA.

Additionally, an initial purchase of a referee kit (“Black shoes, Black socks with three white stripes at the top, Black shorts, Uniform shirt (long and/or short sleeved), Black belt, Fox 40 whistle with lanyard, Stop watch, Red and yellow cards before you can call your first penalty kick. CVSOA has funds to underwrite the purchase of these items for serious referee applicants.

If interested in learning more, please send an inquiry to the email address below.


Pierluigi Collina is an Italian former soccer referee. He was named FIFA's "Best Referee of the Year" six consecutive times and is widely considered to be the best soccer referee of all time.

Refereeing soccer has many benefits:

    Learn the art and science of successfully managing a competition;

     Acquire people skills by interacting with players and coaches often in emotionally-tense situations;

    Mastering teamwork through interactions with other referees on a crew to achieve a shared goal;

•    Meeting a group of great fellow-referees from walks of life that you would otherwise have never encountered;

    Get paid to exercise!