Questions About Referees
How many referees are there in the US?
As of 2011, there are over 150,000 USSF
Who decides which referees show up at games?
All leagues have what are known as Referee Assignors. Except
for some recreational leagues, all Ref Assignors must first be licensed
referees and also hold a Referee Assignor License. These Ref
Assignors create pre-qualified rankings of referees for the various
leagues they assign games to.
Recreational Referees are usually licensed like everyone else; however,
some city leagues without being under an
umbrella organization like USYSA or AYSO have the freedom to assign
games to just about anyone they feel like. Obviously, this is not
for the benefit of the players they serve.
High School referees are assigned games by the Ref Assignor from the
conference they belong to. In Broward County that is the
BCAA-Soccer Officials Association,
with the 2007-08 Ref Assignor being Mr. Zoom Stemple: (954) 925-2383.
The FHSAA certifies high school referees. In addition, most high
school referees also hold a minimum
Grade 8 level certification for travel games as well. FHSAA referees
conform to the double dual system where
all referees on the field use a whistle and call fouls.
Travel soccer referees are assigned games by the Ref Assignor
retained by particular clubs. Ref Assignors must hold a USSF Referee
certification as well. Florida
State Referees (FSR) certifies all travel soccer referees in the State
of Florida. Grade 8 certification is the minimum to be a Center Referee
and Grade 9 to be an Assistant Referee (Line Referee).
Ref Assignors for travel games will look
to place the most experienced and qualified referees in the more
difficult age brackets, mainly older age groups U15-19; as well as in
national tournaments. There is no specified Grade required other
than a minimum of Grade 8.
NCCA College Referees must hold a NCAA certification.
What is the history behind yellow and
It all came about due to events of the
1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile. Ken Aston, a longtime British referee,
officiated the opening match of the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile. In a
subsequent game between Chile and Italy in Santiago, he replaced the
scheduled referee because of building tension. Claims that Italian
journalists had written disparaging remarks about Chilean women riled
tempers in Chile. The match was marred by such rough play that
armed police officers entered the field to help Aston keep control. The
emotionally-charged game had now become a matter of honor, and the
football itself was only a secondary issue in the now infamous "Battle
In 1966, retired referee Ken Aston was appointed to the FIFA Referees'
Committee. A particularly difficult game followed with the 1966 World
Cup Finals between England and Argentina refereed by a referee who spoke
only German, and it was quite a rough game. The following morning the
two famous Charlton brothers, Jack and Bobby, were in bed, breakfasting
in bed looking at the Sunday newspapers reporting the game. Suddenly
Jack says to Bobby, “It says I was cautioned yesterday. I didn’t know I
was cautioned.” “Neither did I,” said Bobby. “It says that you were
cautioned, too, Bobby.” “Me? Never!” said Bobby. So they rang the
(tournament manager) and he said, “I didn’t know you were cautioned.
I’ll ring FIFA.” The record keeper confirmed that both had been, in
Aston got in his little MG sports car to go home that day. Driving up
the little side street to the main drag, the traffic light was green. He
accelerated to get the green light, and it suddenly went yellow and went
red, and because of the fact that it was a little side road, he had to
wait really a long time before it did go green. He got into the main
drag, and immediately there were three sets of traffic lights about 50
yards apart, all green. Did the same thing, accelerated. Same thing,
yellow, red. Yellow, take it easy. Red, finished. He thought, well, this
is the way to overcome the language problem in international matches.
And so I sat on this until 1970 and launched the red and yellow cards in
the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Within the next several weeks, the
cards were implemented worldwide as part of Law 12 - FIFA Laws of the
Game. Every nation and their soccer affiliates wholeheartedly embraced
These rules can be divided into these basic groups:
Serious Foul Play – when a player cynically challenges another player
Deliberate Hand Ball – If a field player deliberately handles the ball
they must be dismissed, this is also true of goalkeepers outside of
Foul and Abusive Language – If a player uses language not appropriate or
deeply offensive towards a player, official or the crowd will be
Spitting - at anyone
Raising the Arms to Another Player or Violent Conduct– This could be a
punch, a slap or even a heavy push, all are punishable by dismissal.
Professional Foul – Denying a player a clear goal scoring opportunity by
committing a foul.
Other Punishable Offences
A player may also receive a red card if they are issued two yellow cards
during the match. The yellow card is used as a caution but if the player
should continue to flaunt the rules then a second yellow may be issued
resulting in instant dismissal. While managers and coaches are not shown
cards, they can and will be dismissed from games as they are bound to
the rules of the game.
What are the various certification
levels in youth soccer?
USSF Level 8 Certification
The first step in officiating
youth travel soccer, high school or college play is to become
certified as a USSF Referee. The Level 8 class
certification is a weekend
long class aimed at new referees. Upon completion of the
class, and passing the written test, USSF will issue a Referee
Badge good for the current calendar year. This is a requirement
for officiating in local and national youth travel leagues (US
Club, Florida Youth
Soccer Association, FLUGSA and Super Y-League) as well as
the adult amateur and Professional Development League (PDL).
Level 9 Certification is permitted for younger referees only
officiating the line in U14 travel games. They are
not permitted to officiate in the center in travel games.
USSF Level 7 Upgrades
Once you have officiated 100 USSF
games (any age or level, but 75 Centers are required) you may
apply to upgrade to Level 7, which will also require an
assessment and physical test. Level 7 Referees are certified to
do any youth (U19 or younger) games, and generally State Cup and
Super Y-League games are only assigned to Level 7 and higher
officials. Level 7 is also the stepping stone to becoming a
State Referee (Levels 6 and 5).
If you are interested in upgrading
contact FSR-INC.COM All upgrade requests usually
must be submitted by March in any
||Kari Seitz is one of two American soccer officials at the
2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Seitz has been part of the
FIFA International Panel of Referees since 1999, and previously
officiated in the 1999 and 2003 Women’s World Cups and the 2004
CONCACAF Women’s U-19 World Championship.