Becoming a referee is fairly simple - You first have to attend a clinic, take a test, buy a uniform and do your first game.
Becoming a United Sates Soccer Federation (USSF) referee grade 9 and 8 - Please note, this is not a school grade, but a classification grade: A person must attend a 15 hour entry level referee clinic/course. At the end of the clinic, the candidate must pass a written test by scoring a minimum of 75%. The candidate is then registered as a Grade 9 or 8 official and is given the USSF badge. The clinics are scheduled by leagues, local referee associations or clubs.
To find out when and where the next referee courses are review the list of Entry Level clinics. Select the one that fits your schedule and is close to you, register, and you are on your way! If you have any questions, please contact Samir Yasa.
Generally, about 35-40 clinics are held between November and March throughout the state of Indiana. If you are interested in hosting a clinic, please contact Rick Balak.
Anyone over the age of 12 years old may sign up to take the course to become a referee.
The Uniform and Equipment
Now that you've passed the test and have registered with USSF it's time to go out and buy your first uniform. The basic uniform for referees is a yellow shirt, black referee shorts, black socks with three stripes and shoes. Though there are several places to buy uniforms, USSF is officially sponsored by Official Sports Inc., (view website). In addition to a uniform, you will need a watch with a timer. You'll need a whistle, a small book to keep score, a flipping coin, red and yellow cards and a set of flags. Now you ask yourself where do I get all this stuff. During the clinic your instructor will tell you where you can buy all this equipment.
Now that you've passed the test, bought your uniform and all the equipment, you'll need to talk to a licensed USSF assignor who will schedule your games. Not sure who your local assignor is - not to worry. Your instructor will give you the name and telephone number of the assignors in your area. You can also ask current referees who they get their games from. Once you become a referee, you can always ask current licensed referees for help in contacting licensed referee assignors in your area.
Your First Year
Now that you have been on the field as a referee, gained valuable experience, learned how to blow the whistle properly, understand the importance of good positioning, communication, and applying the laws, now what. Every year you will be required to take a re-certification test and attend five hours of training. The training part you can usually get in your local referee association.
Want to Advance
So you've been doing recreational games and are ready for more challenging games. How do you get these games? Again you'll have to work with your local assignor who will get hold of your local assessor. The assessor will come to the field and evaluate your game and give you pointers on how to improve your game. The assessor is there to help you and take their feedback as constructive criticism. View the assessment information on this website for full details on what you need to do.
That's what it takes to be a referee in a nutshell. Of course, the more games you do the more your confidence improves and games will seem easier. One thing to remember is that we all have a bad game from time to time so don't despair. With assessors and assignors helping you, these will be few and far between.
Remember that if you have any questions, contact your local area administrator and if he/she cannot answer your questions, talk to other referees, they are a great help as they are sharing the same experience as you are.