Five Things To Know About The Online Grassroots Referee Course


Continuing its support and development of match officials at all levels, U.S. Soccer will launch the Online Grassroots Referee Course on July 1. Designed to support the education of referees at the Grassroots level and standardize learning requirements across all 55 State Referee Associations, here are five things to know about U.S. Soccer’s first online referee course.


Starting with the 2020 registration cycle (July 1, 2019), U.S. Soccer will move from nine referee grades to five referee licenses. The new Referee Pathway will streamline movement between levels and provide standardized requirements for officials at every level.

With over 130,000 Grassroots Referees nationwide, the new U.S. Soccer Learning Center will serve to better inform and support the core contingent of officials at the base of the Pathway.



U.S. Soccer and its members worked together to develop the profile of the Grassroots Referee following a four-year review of the referee landscape. A member-led education study group created the Online Grassroots Referee Course to develop officials that fit the profile.

U.S. Soccer’s decision to invest in digital solutions for referees came from that same member-led review of the on-the-ground realities of referees and the best ways to support them. Extensive program reviews, referee focus groups, task forces, and committees identified a need for a clearer Referee Pathway for those striving to reach the highest level, standardized requirements and procedures and greater support for the 97-percent of referees who officiate matches at the Grassroots level for the love of the game.


U.S. Soccer partnered with e-learning specialists EY NogginLabs to create the referee online learning experience. Throughout the online course, referees will go through a series of modules containing videos, quizzes and specialized content. Through the online course, referees will be able to focus on on-field learning at in-person Grassroots sessions.

Referees will also now have access to a library of valuable learning resources, including 80-plus videos to use as examples for their continuing education and digital copies of U.S. Soccer Pocket guides and IFAB Laws of the Game.


The Grassroots Online Referee Course will be found in the new U.S. Soccer Learning Center. The Learning Center will serve as a new one-stop shop for referees. In the Learning Center, all referees will have access to supplemental educational resources, their registration history and support from the U.S. Soccer Referee Department. The centralized platform will improve connectivity and collaboration between referees, State Referee Committees and U.S. Soccer.


The Grassroots Referee course will be split into two parts: one online (completed in the U.S. Soccer Learning Center) and the other in-person (instructed by the State Referee Committee). The SRCs will determine when and where in-person courses are held.

Any referee looking to certify or re-certify will need to complete the Online Grassroots Referee course prior to attending the in-person course. The split of the online and in-person will allow states to focus on practical on-field learning during the in-person portion of the course.

Click here for more information about your State Referee Committee.