Becoming a referee

To Become a certified referee for U.S. Soccer: Updated 11/21/21

  • 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:

New Grassroots Referee Courses in Ohio North


  • 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/ Grassroots Course.

  • U.S. Soccer's Grassroots Referee (GR) course consists of four requirements all to be completed online and a one-day in person clinic. Choose the one day webinar best for you and register for the course. When you pay, the Grassroots Referee online content will become available for you.

    1. If you are over the age of eighteen, will be required to complete a a criminal background check conducted by NCSI ($31.21 paid directly to NCSI) This is a real time application process, but the return generally takes 4-8 days. Once you are approved, you can proceed and you may select a location from those listed in the Digital Learning Center (courses are also listed on this site's calendar).

    2. US Safe Sport training (for all candidates who are at least 18 years of age) is linked directly through the DLC and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete.

    3. Introduction to Safe and Healthy Playing Environments is also directly linked through the DLC and takes about 60 minutes to finish.

    4. The actual Grassroots Referee course generally 4-5 hours to complete. US Soccer strongly suggests using Google Chrome for the Learning Center. (Other browsers may experience problems saving progress.) The final online piece is the Grassroots Referee Certification Quiz is a 25 question wrap-up of basic facts.


  • 2021* Due to restrictions in place for the Covid 19 pandemic our typical in person Field Training Session (FTS) maybe offered as Virtual FTS conducted via a Zoom call

  • In the event local health guidelines permit an in person FTS, they are scheduled as a 3 hour session, which takes place in one day. Instructors and candidates review 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.


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

NFHS Concussion awareness certificate, which is required per Ohio Law:

https://nfhslearn.com/courses/61151/concussion-in-sports