Become a Referee
USSF Certification for USSF-Affiliated Youth and Amateur Games
All United States Soccer Federation (USSF) affiliates, including California Youth Soccer Association North (Youth) and California Soccer Association North (Amateur) leagues, require that all Referees be certified by the USSF.
The California North Referee Association (CNRA) offers USSF Grade 8 Referee clinics through the nine California Youth Soccer Association North (CYSA-N) Districts. To determine which district you are located, please refer to Contact Us.
USSF Grade 8 Referee
The Grade 8 clinic consists of a total of 12 hours of instruction. And online Training. Upon successful completion of the course, which includes a passing score on a written test, candidates may register as Grade 8 Referees with the United States Soccer Federation for a registration fee.
For more information about Grade 8 clinics, please contact:
145 Elm Ave
San Bruno, CA 94066
USSF Grade 9 Recreational Referee
We are no longer teaching this course in District 1. everyone now starts as a Grade 8 referee. 1/1/16
A USSF Grade 9 Recreational Referee may officiate games as a Referee or Assistant Referee for recreational youth games U-14 or younger. Grade 9 Referees may not officiate older youth games or adult matches. The Grade 9 clinic consists of an 8-hour class. Upon successful completion of the course, which includes a passing score on a written test, candidates may register as Grade 9 Recreational Referees with the United States Soccer Federation for a registration fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up for a Referee clinic?
To enroll in a USSF Referee Clinic, look up your District Director of Instruction for Entry Level Referee Clinics or your District Referee Administrator or District Youth Referee Administrator for Referee In-Service Clinics in the Contact Us section of this site and contact them for information.
I was a USSF Referee more than one year ago. How do I become recertified?
The USSF policy regarding recertification (USSF Referee Administrative Handbook, Revised 2004, pp. 31-32-6) states the following: "Any Referee who was not registered with the U.S. Soccer Federation the previous year may be certified at the grade previously held after taking and passing the written qualifying examination, fitness test, and assessments."
The following policy applies to Referees who were previously certified and registered with the Federation:
- Grade 8 Referees who miss 1-2 consecutive years of registration can be reregistered as a Grade 8 after completing a Referee re-certification clinic.
- Grade 8 Referees who miss 3-4 consecutive years of registration can be reregistered after taking the Referee Bridge (Grade 9 to Grade 8) Course or the entire Entry Level Referee Training Course.
- Grade 8 Referees who miss 5 or more consecutive years must re-take the entire Entry Level Referee Training Course.
- Grade 7 Referees and higher can only be registered at the grade they qualify for. Referees who were Grade 7 or higher should be downgraded a minimum of one (1) grade, as per current policy (as long as they have met the criteria for that grade). Once they retake the appropriate course as listed above for Grade 8 Referees and have completed all the requirements for the previously held grade, they may be upgraded.
- Grade 9 Referees who miss 1-2 years of registration may be re-certified after fulfilling all re-certification requirements for that grade. A Grade 9 Referee who misses 2 years of registration can be eligible to take the Bridge Course after he or she has met the requirements to be re-certified as Grade 9.
- U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Instructors who wish to re-certify as a Referee after a lapse in Referee registration may be registered as a Grade 8 Referee upon meeting current re-certification requirements, no matter how long it has been since they last registered as a Referee, if they are currently registered as a U.S. Soccer Instructor and have taught, at a minimum, one entry-level Referee training course in the last two years.
- Referees are registered annually, for the period January 1 to December 31. Current year Referee, Assignor, Instructor, and Assessor registration forms are accepted by the National Office from September 1st of the previous year to June 30yj of the current year (10 months). Referees who did not have the opportunity to re-register during the prescribed current year registration period may register for the following year without penalty. (e.g. A Referee last registered in 2002 may take a 2004 re-certification course in August 2003 without having to pay a 2003 registration fee.). HOWEVER, recertifying Referees who wait until after June 30th to re-register should not be added to assignment lists until the following January 1st. (e.g. A Referee last registered in 2002 may take a 2004 re-certification course in August 2003 but shall not be assigned until January 01, 2004.)"
- You can upgrade to your previously attained grade once you satisfy all the requirements for upgrading.
I was a Referee in another country. How do I become certified in the USA?
For Referees from other countries, you may certify with the USSF without taking a course provided you have credentials from your certifying country.
Make copies of your certification and send them to the State Referee Administrator for Cal-North. DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS. The SRA will submit your paperwork to the USSF, which replies with an equivalent USSF Referee Grade plus any recertification requirements to be fulfilled. The SRA then notifies the applicant of their USSF Referee Grade. If you have no official certification, you must take either a Grade 8 or 9 Referee course.
I am an AYSO Referee. How do I cross-certify with the USSF?
Cross-certification is available to Referees of AYSO and USSF who have been certified as Referees for six months or more and who are not certified with both organizations. All games officiated for AYSO or USSF may be applied toward the certification requirements of either AYSO or USSF. The diagonal system of control is the only recognized system of control. (Please refer to USSF Referee Administrative Handbook, Revised 2004, p. 43).
Referees cross-certifying from AYSO to USSF need to include a check or money order in the proper amount, made payable to their state association, to cover the annual fee for registering as a USSF Referee.
There are no fees associated with cross-certifying from USSF to AYSO. However, to be covered under AYSO's Accident Reimbursement Program (ARP) and receive InPLay, AYSO's quarterly newsletter, all volunteers must complete a Volunteer Registration Form each year.
Required Authorizing Signature:
National 2 and 1: Section Referee Administrator Area and Section: Area Referee Administrator
Required Authorizing Signature:
All levels - State Referee Administrator
Return form and fee to:
State Referee Administrator or designee. See Contact for mailing directions.
Return form(s) to:
AYSO National Office
See the web site for mailing directions.
Download the Cross-Certification Form.
Download the AYSO Volunteer Application Form.