Referee Grades

U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Grades

From U.S. Soccer's Referee Administrative Handbook (2010-11 Edition):

Grade 9 - Recreational Referee (Entry Level)

  • A. Minimum Age: None
  • B. Authorized Assignment Level: Referee on recreational youth games U-14 and younger only and assistant referee on any game U-14 or below.

Grade 8 - Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: None
  • B. Recommended Assignment Level: All youth games, assistant referee in comparable games.


Grade 7 - Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 17
  • B. Recommended Assignment Level: All youth games and mixed leagues, assistant referee in all adult games below the top division.

Grade 6 - State Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 18
  • B. Recommended Assignment Level: All youth games and adult amateur games through second division and assistant referee in the top adult division and Amateur Cup games.

Grade 5 - State Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 19
  • B. Recommended Assignment Level: All youth games and adult games including first division and assistant referee in professional league and international cup games.

4 - U.S. Soccer Federation National Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 23
  • B. Badge: U.S. Soccer National Referee, with current year.
  • C. Recommended Assignment Level: All games except formal FIFA international matches; assistant referee for international matches.
  • D. U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.

3 - U.S. Soccer Federation Professional Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 23
  • B. Badges: U.S. Soccer Professional Referee, with current year and National Referee, with current year.
  • C. Recommended Assignment Level: All games except formal FIFA international matches.
  • D. U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • E. By invitation of U.S. Soccer.

2 - U.S. Soccer Federation International Assistant Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 23
  • B. Badge: FIFA Assistant Referee, with current year, on international matches.*
  • C. Recommended Assignment Level: All games.
  • D. U.S. Citizen.
  • E. By nomination of U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, and approved by FIFA.

1 - U.S. Soccer Federation International Referee

  • A. Minimum Age: 25
  • B. Badge: FIFA, with current year.
  • C. Recommended Assignment Level: All games.
  • D. U.S. Citizen.
  • E. By nomination of U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, and approved by FIFA.

The U.S. Soccer Federation grade and title of an official will be determined solely by the standards and examinations issued by the U.S. Soccer Referee Committee and the U.S. Soccer Federation Board of Directors. Annual re-examination is required. A referee must officiate at the next - higher level to accumulate experience to be certified competent at that level.

Assignors must exercise care to increase the difficulty level of the game assignments in a gradual and orderly manner for the good of the official and of the players. *International Assistant Referees must wear U.S. Soccer National Referee badge when assigned as referee in domestic matches.