Five Things to Know About the National Referee Camp

The 2017 National Referee Camp runs from Dec. 14 – 17 in Chula Vista, California and welcomes both male and female match officials who hope to become, or be re-certified as, National Referees (the highest level achievable through USSF).

U.S. Soccer’s National Referee Camp takes place this weekend and will draw top referees to Southern California as they hope to either become National Referees or maintain their status at the top-tier of American officiating.

When/where/what is the National Referee Camp?
U.S. Soccer’s National Referee Camp is an annual event held to test and certify new National Referees (the highest level achievable through U.S. Soccer) and re-certify current National Referees. The 2017 National Referees Camp runs from Dec. 14–17 in Chula Vista, California and welcomes both male and female match officials for consideration.

Currently certified National Referees and those newly selected will undergo rigorous physical testing, with strict pass/fail parameters, to achieve certification or re-certification. There will also be extensive classroom work over the course of the camp (quizzes, video analysis based on FIFA’s five points of emphasis, practical field sessions and topics presented by FIFA Instructor and trailblazing American referee Esse Baharmast).


How many referees are invited to the 2017 National Referee Camp?
A total of 96 match officials, selected by U.S. Soccer, and 120 National Referee Coaches will be in attendance at the 2017 National Referee Camp.

How do you become eligible for the National Referee Camp?       
Referees get to this point by starting at the ground floor as a Grade 9 or 8 official, working small-sided or 11v11 youth games. They then progress to Grade 7, which can be the starting point for adult soccer, before moving on to Grade 6 State Referee and working the highest-level adult and youth games. Grade 5 State Referees make up the pool of officials who are selected for potential upgrade to the National level as a Grade 3 or 4, specializing as a referee or assistant referee. There is no guarantee that a Grade 5 will be selected as a National Referee, but all officials considered for grade 3 or 4 (and in attendance at the National Referee Camp) are certified Grade 5 officials.

What on-field requirements must be met to receive certification & re-certification?

Referees run two tests:

  • 6 X 40 meter sprints
    Men, maximum of 6.00 seconds.
    Women, maximum of 6.40 seconds
  • 75 meter run X 25 meter recovery
    Men, 15 seconds 75 meters, 18 seconds 25 meter recovery
    Women, 17 seconds 75 meters, 20 seconds 25 meter recovery
  • Both men and women run 4000 meters (10 laps around the track)

Assistant Referees run three tests:

  • CODA (Change of Direction Agility) 10 x 8 x 8 x 10 meter sprint.
    Men 10.0 seconds.
    Women 11.0 seconds
  • 10 meter sprint, 8 meter side step left, 8 meter side step right, 10 meter sprint.
  • 5 X 30 meter sprints.
    Men 4.70 seconds.
    Women 5.10 seconds
  • 75 meter run X 25 meter recovery:
    Men: 15 seconds 75 meters, 20 seconds 25 meters
    Women: 17 seconds 75 meters, 22 seconds 25 meters

Both men and women run 4000 meters (10 laps around the track)

Failure to meet any of the above requirements will disqualify an official from consideration for National Referee Certification in 2017. 

What games can a referee with National Certification officiate?
Nationally certified Referees and Assistant Referees are eligible to officiate at the highest professional levels of American soccer, including Major League Soccer (MLS), United Soccer League (USL) and North American Soccer League (NASL). National certification is the highest level available through the U.S. Soccer Federation and one step below the highest worldwide, FIFA Status, which allows a referee to take charge of international matches and potentially officiate at the FIFA World Cup.

You can keep up-to-date with all the hopeful match officials in Chula Vista. We’ll be telling some of the their stories on and on Twitter @ussoccer_ref and facebook @ussoccerrefereedepartment