Becoming a referee

To Become a certified referee for U.S. Soccer:

  • Please read this entire page before moving on to the Grassroots Course !

The following link will take you directly to US Soccer's landing page for the Digital Learning Center:

  • US Soccer requires that candidates to become a referee be at least 13 years of age. Parents are advised to assess the maturity level of their child prior to permitting them to take the new referee course.
  • If you are over the age of eighteen, will be required to complete a a criminal background check conducted by NICS ($30 paid directly to NICS) and US SafeSport training (No charge if candidates use the provided access code). This is a real time application process and you may get your approval instantly. If you do get an approval, proceed to the next step. If you are marked pending, you will not be permitted to register for a class. Check back to see when you are approved. If you are marked as pending then you will have to stop for now. Once you are approved you may proceed to the next step. This $30 will be charged in the learning center when you apply.
  • U.S. Soccer's Grassroots Referee (GR) course is an online course ($20 directly to US Soccer). The course generally takes 4 - 4.5 hours and must be completed before attending an In-Person clinic. This $20 fee will be charged in the learning center when you sign up for the GR course
  • The New Grassroots Referee In-Person Course ($55 to Ohio North State Referee Committee) is a 6 hour clinic, which usually takes place in one day. Instructors and candidates cover the basics to prepare new referees for officiating matches and reinforce mechanics to ensure that new officials are ready to take their place on the field for match day. This $55 fee will be charged in the learning center when you select and register for the in person course of your choice.
  • Local Clinic Fees – The sponsoring organization may charge up to $25 local clinic fees, the amount will be listed under the course description. This fee must be paid by cash or check to the sponsoring organization at the clinic. This $25 fee will be paid cash or check when you arrive at the in person course of your choice.
  • Local clinics usually take place between December and April. There are rarely in person clinics outside of this window, but they are rare, and not guaranteed.

After completing the Grassroots course you may want to work ahead and complete:

  1. Ohio North State Referee Committee contracts with GameOfficials to provide game assignments, a supplemental training and educational platform, and some record keeping. To create a free account there please use the following: link:
  2. NFHS Concussion awareness certificate, which is required per Ohio Law: