FAQ's for New Referees

New Referee FAQs


When is there a need for referees?

The great thing about becoming an official is that there is always work here in California. The great weather allows for continual game play!

  • Fall season is busy with all league play games. (August - November)
  • Spring Season offers game play
  • Summer Season offers game play
  • Cal South State Cup is always looking for good referees  (January - May )
  • Cal South National Cup is always looking for good referees (February - July)
  • Sanctioned tournaments are held throughout the entire year. Work for these are usually through referee associations. For a list of tournaments click here       

When should I register to become a referee?

You can start the registration process anytime during the year. It all depends on when you, as an individual will have the time to officiate. Understanding

the registraion period and the time frame that your certification is valid to is key. Plan accordingly by viewing the chart below to see what certification year you are registering for.

Currently we are in the 2018  certification period. This certification is valid until Dec. 31, 2018.

The 2019 registration period is now open. That certification is valid until the end of 2019.

  • Grade 1 - FIFA Referee
  • Grade 2 - FIFA Assistant Referee
  • Grade 3 - National Referee
  • Grade 4 - National Assistant Referee
  • Grade 5 - State Referee
  • Grade 6 - State Referee
  • Grade 7 - Referee
  • Grade 8 - Referee
  • Grade 9 - Recreational Referee

* Registration Period Close is strict to allow Cal South enough time to process your registration with the US Soccer Federation.

What's the difference between Referee Grade 9 & Referee Grade 8? 

Both are entry level referee grades.  Grade 9 allows you to referee ONLY recreational youth matches. Many of these games may be done at volunteer base.

Grade 8 allows you to referee all youth games, competitive and recreational. Grade 8 referees usually get paid. Both have no minimum age requirements.

Does Grade 9 & Grade 8 have anything to do with what grade someone is in school currently?  

No.  Grade 9 and Grade 8 are simply the classifications that US Soccer Federation uses to designate the different level referees. Everyone starts as an entry level Grade 9 or Grade 8. For instructions on how to begin the process of becoming a referee click here.

You do not need to start as a Grade 9 to take the Grade 8. You choose where to start depending on your comfort level. As you gain more experience you have the option to try to qualify to upgrade

to the next grade level after meeting requirements.


I tried to register but the system took me in a loop, now what?     

The system is designed to keep history records. You or someone in your family was at one point part of Cal South as a parent, coach or player. Please contact Cal South to retrieve your account login.       


How much can a referee make?       

Referee pay differs with each league and referee association. The biggest factor depends on the age & level of play you will be officiating.

For League Play:

New referees can get paid as an individual or as a team that officiates the game. Pay range can be anywhere from $1.30 to $1.50 per each minute of the game (for club games).

The whole crew can then divide that earning. You will have to make sure to ask what the pay scale is for any league or association you choose to work for.

Who pays the referee?                                                                             

For season league games, cash is usually paid before each game by the league representative (Coach/ Team Manager). Referee associations usually pay the official for santioned tournament games.

For Cal South Cup Tournaments cash is paid to the Referee team by Team Administrators from each team before the start of each game.

Will an entry referee start working as a center referee?

New referee will most likely not start as a center unless they have previous experience and confidence. Referee associations and leagues usually want to start a new referee as Assistant referees before setting them up as a center referee.                                                                                                                 

How far do we need to travel for games?       

You will be the one who decides this. Each association will ask you how much you are willing to travel for work. This is completely up to you.       


Where can I get work?

Once you are certified and have received your ID and badge it’s time to look for work. Referees have two avenues from which to obtain games.

1.) Join a referee association. Each association offers you additional training and support. They will have a referee assignor who will ask about your availability to then send you out to games.

      For our list of referee associations please click here.

2.) Contact your local league to see if they have their own pool of referees. Ask about any requirements as some might ask you to volunteer a few games prior to beginning to get paid or offer certification payment  reimbursement.

      To find local leagues click here.       


What if I lose my badge?

If you lose your badge you can order a replacement at a $5 cost. That can be paid by check made out to Cal South. In the memo line please write “Badge Replacement for (referee’s name)”.      


What if I lose my Referee ID?

If you lose your referee ID you can order a replacement at a cost of $10. Checks should be made out to Cal South. In the memo line please write “ID Replacement for (referee’s name)”.        


What color uniform do I need to buy?

Uniform colors are your decision. It’s always best to have several colors as the official should stand out from the jersey colors worn on the field by soccer players. Please click here for the standards.      


Where do I get my monthly trainings? 

Every official needs to make sure to receive 5 hours of continual training in order to recertify the following year. Trainings are offered by referee associations who each hold monthly lectures/meetings.

For the Referee Associations list click here

How does a referee recertify for next year?

The recertification process is an annual one for each referee in order to maintain their referee certification. Depending on the grade, each referee will have different recertification requirements. For a full listing of grade recertification requirements please click here

Common Questions/Concerns:

Uniforms - Official Sports Flyer

Advice to Parents of New Referees: Please click here for video

Advice to New Referees Documents - Please review this document

Registration Year Registration Period Opens Registration Period Closes Certification Valid From Certification Valid To
2017 July 1, 2016 *June 14,2017 Date Approved Dec.31, 2017
2018 July 1, 2017 *June 14, 2018 Date Approved Dec.31, 2018
2019 July 1, 2018 *June 14, 2019 Date Approved Dec. 31, 2019
July 1, 2019 *June 14, 2020 Date Approved Dec.31, 2020