Referees must register with the U.S. Soccer Federation every year to be eligible to work affiliated competitions in the United States.
The cost, process and deadlines for registration vary depending on the State Referee Association where the new or existing referee resides. Contact information and a complete list of the 55 State Referee Associations can be found by clicking here.
These associations support the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program at the local level and should be the first point of contact for all new and existing referees looking for specific information and details on the registration process.
When registering directly with a State Referee Association, information is sent to U.S. Soccer at some point after the registration and certification process has been completed. Some State Referee Associations may require referees to register directly with U.S. Soccer, and in these cases, all registration procedures and deadlines will be communicated directly by the U.S. Soccer Registration Department when appropriate.
Registration Cards and Badges
In collaboration with each State Referee Association, U.S. Soccer confirms all completed registrations by sending each referee an official referee registration card and referee badge.
The distribution of these materials can vary so new and existing referees should contact their State Referee Administrator or State Youth Referee Administrator with any specific questions related to the process.
Registered referees who have received their current registration card can purchase a replacement or additional badges online at by clicking here.
Badges are $3.50 each and the referee must also pay tax, plus shipping and handling. A maximum of two replacement badges can be ordered per USSF ID Number.
Lapses in Registration
All referees are required to be registered for the current year prior to officiating in any U.S. Soccer Federation affiliated match.
Any official who misses a registration year may be certified at the grade previously held by completing all the established criteria related to testing and assessments for the grade in question.
The following policy applies to referees who were previously certified and registered with U.S. Soccer and wants to return:
- Grade 8 referees who miss 1-2 consecutive years of registration can be re-registered as a grade 8 after completing a Referee Re-certification clinic.
- Grade 8 referees who miss 3-4 consecutive years of registration can be re-registered after taking the Referee Bridge (Grade 9 to Grade 8) Course or the entire Entry Level Referee Training Course.
- Grade 8 referees who miss 5 or more consecutive years must re-take the entire Entry Level Referee Training Course.
- Grade 7 Referees and Higher - Referees can only be registered at the grade they qualify for. Referees who were Grade 7 or higher should be downgraded a minimum of one (1) grade, as per current policy (as long as they have met the criteria for that grade). Once they retake the appropriate course as listed above for grade 8 referees and have completed all the requirements for the previously held grade, they may be upgraded.
- Grade 9 Referees who miss one or two years of registration may be re-certified after fulfilling all re-certification requirements for that grade. A Grade 9 Referee who misses two years of registration can be eligible to take the Bridge Course (9-8) after he or she has met the requirements to be re-certified as Grade 9.
- U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Instructors who wish to re-certify as a referee after a lapse in referee registration may be registered as a grade 8 referee upon meeting current re-certification requirements, no matter how long it has been since they last registered as a referee, if they are currently registered as a U.S. Soccer instructor and have taught, at a minimum, one entry-level referee training course in the last two years.
Cross-certification is available to referees of AYSO and the U.S. Soccer Federation who have been certified as referees for six months or more and who are not certified with both organizations.
All games officiated for AYSO or the U.S. Soccer Federation may be applied toward the certification requirements of either AYSO or the U.S. Soccer Federation.
More information on this process can be found by clicking here.
Lifetime membership for the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program is available for those select individuals that have displayed a thorough dedication to the program. In addition to their contributions, nominees must also meet the following criteria:
- Minimum age of 60
- Registered with the program for 25 or more consecutive years
Note that above criteria is waived for any of the following:
- Recipients of the Eddie Pearson Award or the William Schofield Award
- Recipients of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame Meritorious Service Award if received for their contribution to the referee program
- Former FIFA panel officials who retired from the list solely because of age eligibility
Nominations can be submitted to U.S. Soccer by State Referee Administrators or State Referee Committees. All nominations should be submitted in writing describing the nominee’s contributions and include proof that the individual meets the above criteria.
Please note that lifetime membership is not automatic and must first be reviewed and approved by U.S. Soccer.