Formal Assessment

A formal assessment is conducted by a licensed assessor who observes a team of officials during a match. After the match the assessor provides verbal and written feedback to each referee and CNRA. The feedback covers each referee's strengths as well as areas and suggestions for improvement. An assessment is a very useful tool to help the referee identify those areas in which they do well, where improvement can be made to strengthen the referee's performance, and suggestions as to how to achieve those improvements. Formal assessments also help the referee administration determine if the referee should be promoted in grade, or assigned or offered higher level games.

Formal assessments are required when a referee wants to upgrade from their current grade to the next higher grade. Additionally, formal assessments are required annually for USSF Grades 6 and 5 (State) referees to maintain their grade. USSF Grades 8 and 7 referees are not required to have annual assessments to maintain their licenses. See Renew or Upgrade for specific requirements and further information regarding formal assessments.

Formal assessments for all referees in District 1 who wish to maintain or upgrade to no higher than Grade 5 (State Referee) are coordinated by the District 2 Director of Assessment (DDA). See Contact Us for contact information. Also refer to the section below entitled "Formal Assessment Process".

Formal assessments for National Referee Candidates and National Referees must be coordinated by the State Director of Assessment (SDA). See Contact Us for contact information.

Development & Guidance Assessment

Referees who are not sure they are ready for a formal assessment, but want feedback on their performance, or referees who just want feedback on their performance, can request a Development & Guidance assessment (D&G). The feedback is similar to that of a formal assessment. The referee requesting the D&G will receive input on their strengths, as well as those areas for improvement and suggestions as to how to achieve those improvements. A D&G can be done on lower level games than a formal assessment. However, a D&G may not be used in lieu of a formal assessment.

D&G requests should be coordinated with the District 1 DDA. See Contact Us for contact information. Prior to contacting the DDA with a request for a D&G, make sure a game has been assigned and the time and location of the game are known.

District 1 Director of Assessment

The District 1 Director of Assessment may be reached as follows:

District 1 Director of Assessment
Cesar PiƱa
742 Athens
San Francisco, CA 94112

When contacting him by email, please make sure your email Subject line includes as appropriate either the phrase "Assessment" or "D&G".

Assessment Documents

Assessors may find the assessment documents and forms at

Formal Assessment Process

The process for obtaining an assessment is outlined below. Failure to follow this process may result in your assessment not being acceptable for Registration purposes. Assessment requests must be made at least 14 days in advance.

1. Contact the appropriate League Referee Assignor/Coordinator and obtain a game assignment.

Review the Renew or Upgrade sections of the Referee Administrative Handbook for specific requirements on the level of game required for your assessment. Should you have any questions, contact the DDA.

2. After receiving your game assignment, contact the District 1 Director of Assessment to request an Assessor for your match.

3. Send your completed Request Form and a check made payable to CNRA to the DDA.

The Referee will receive an email once the Assessment Request Form is completed and submitted detailing the mailing address and check amount. Further, the mailing address and check amount are detailed on the completed copy of the Assessment Request Form received by the Referee.

4. Upon receipt of Referee's Assessment Request Form and check, DDA will arrange for an Assessor.

Both the Assessment Request Form and check must be received by the DDA before arrangements will be made for an Assessor.

5. Once an Assessor has been identified and assigned by the DDA, the Referee will be notified.

The DDA will provide the Referee with the name of the Assessor and their contact information.

6. Referees, upon receiving notification of their assigned Assessor, are responsible for confirming their assessment and game details with their Assessor.

The District 2 Director of Assessment should be copied on all correspondence (such as emails) between the Assessor and the Referee.

Out-of-District Formal Assessments

  • The referee must have permission from the DDA in their home district before requesting an assessment in another district. The referee should contact the District 1 Director of Assessment noted in 2. above. And, as outlined previously, the assessment requests should be made at least 14 days in advance. The DDA will determine whether or not to ask the DDA in which the match will be held to have an assessor be assigned from the home district or from the district hosting the match venue.
  • After permission has been obtained from the two DDAs, the referee is to send to the home DDA the appropriate assessment fee. The home DDA will confirm receipt of fees with the host DDA.
  • Failure to follow the process for out-of-district formal assessments may result in your assessment not being acceptable for Registration.

Assessment rates in effect:

  • $40 for Grade 8 to 7 upgrade
  • $50 for Grade 7 to 6 upgrade, Grade 6 maintenance, Grade 6 to 5 upgrade and Grade 5 maintenance

Words of Advice

  1. Referees are encouraged to review the USSF's Criteria for Certifying and Upgrading State Referee.
  2. An assessment is good for 12 months. Have your assessments done as early as possible. Doing so will make you eligible to submit your annual paperwork earlier and therefore get your Referee packet earlier. Remember: Formal assessments are not allowed during the month of December.
  3. You are responsible and accountable for making an assessment happen. The Assessment Program provides you the resources, but you are the owner accountable for your development.
  4. Early assessments prevent fall season disappointments due to rainouts or assessor availability. Because many referees procrastinate, approximately 60% of our total formal assessments are done in October and November. Given weather and assessor availability, some referees who wait until the last minute will not get assessed.
  5. To assure that the assessor sees your best physical effort, arrange for assessments on your first match of the day.
  6. Follow the defined process. You are important to us, but you are one of several hundred District 1 referees who are important to us! We strive to serve each and every referee equally. Thus, the Program cannot AND will not make an exception for you!

Additional Assessment Guidelines and Requirements

  • All assessment reports must be submitted to the Referee and DDA by the assessor within 7 days of the assessment.

Assessing Rediscovered

by Fernando G. Alvarez, former State Director of Assessment

There are truisms associated with the game of soccer. I can think of two that are a part of the Assessing side of soccer:

No two people see the same thing the same way.
It all depends on their point of view.

There is perhaps one other thing that might be closer to the truth: when two people interact and the opening conversation is not positive, the person receiving the negative information may remember the opening remarks, and perhaps the closing statement, but will not remember what was said in between.

Assessing is a sharing process; one person performs a task of managerial proportions, hopefully to a positive conclusion. The other individual, with acquired expertise, evaluates the performance of the first individual against a given standard. Each one has a common goal, but more importantly, each one respects the other's point of view. Assessing must be approached as a teaching and learning situation or a sharing and exchange of knowledge, rather than an inspectorial, judgmental appraisal of performance.

The MEDIOCRE Assessor tells the referee.
The GOOD Assessor explains.
The SUPERIOR Assessor demonstrates.
But the GREAT Assessor inspires.

As previously stated if the assessor opens up the dialogue on a negative note, the atmosphere will deteriorate, and the interaction will not be amiable.

While it is always easy to accept congratulations and praise, it can be very difficult to accept criticism and to advise. A negative atmosphere need not exist if the Assessor remembers that his role is to motivate, even if the news he is giving is not always favorable to the referee.

The Assessor must not be a fault-finder; he must be a performance evaluator, adding encouragement and constructive advice which will lead to a balanced and objective report.

The Assessor's primary tasks are to consider the application of the Spirit of the Laws of the Game and to monitor the referee's game control.

In most cases Assessors have been referees in their careers. Some have reached the highest level through hard work and dedication. They must now strive to reach that same high level in the field of Assessing officials. Assessors should have the ability to share their skills and expertise in order to broaden the referee's horizon and their perspective. More importantly, it is essential for Assessors to have the humility to recognize that while they don't have all the answers, they will attempt to find them.

If it is not a pleasurable environment that the referee finds himself in, he may be asking the questions. Is the Assessor seeking "Confrontation" or "Clarification"? Referees will make mistakes. Most officials are intelligent people. They will know if their performance is not acceptable to their grade.

However there is a difference between making a mistake and being an incompetent referee. When a referee's performance is not acceptable, he doesn't need ridicule. What he does need is reassurance and a helping hand. In effect the Assessor should be suggesting, "Let me show you a better way."

Interpreting advice by the referee is critical, and requires much self-discipline. Unless the action is planned and put into practice at the earliest opportunity, the repercussions can be fatal. Assessors have a responsibility to convey constructive advice in a manner which the recipient can easily understand and which will help him in future assignments. Being too bland, over-critical, or too obscure in the assessment interpretation is not helpful. Seeking excuses, putting up barriers, or just looking for confrontation detracts from the Assessment system. Generally Assessors report honestly, and Referees should respect that honesty.

The Assessment system is only as good as its participants. It is up to each individual to ensure its continued success. A great deal of money, time, and effort has gone into making this program a success. We must continue to obtain the highest value for the product.