To begin refereeing with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), you first need to take an entry-level referee course. In Tennessee, we offer two entry-level referee courses. One certifies you to become a grade-8 referee and the other certifies you to become a grade-9 referee. Here the term "grade" has nothing to do with one’s level in elementary or secondary school. Grade 8 & grade 9 are refereeing levels assigned by USSF.
Grade-8 referees may officiate youth-level matches at a competitive level (Divisions 2 and 3). Grade-9 referees (sometimes referred to as “recreational” referees) may officiate youth-level matches at a recreational level (Division 4) that are U14-and-below. These matches are often "small sided" matches. Grade-8 referees may referee recreational matches, but grade-9 referees are not supposed to referee competitive matches. There are far more grade-8 referees in Tennessee than grade-9 referees -- for every grade-9 referee there are almost 40 grade-8 referees. Unless you are training to referee for a specific club that is recreational, we suggest that you become a grade-8 referee instead of a grade-9 referee, if that's possible. To take the grade-8 entry-level referee course you must be 12 years old on the first day of class. There are no exceptions to this rule. As referees advance to higher grades--grade 7, grade 6, and so on--they are required to demonstrate their continued qualification for their grade through "maintenance" assessments and sustained high level competition experience. Each referee at Grade 7A or higher is required to successfully pass a physical fitness field examination. The results of this testing are recorded to fulfill part of the annual registration / recertification qualifications. In rare circumstances, referees who fail to maintain their qualifications are "down graded" and this is reflected on their next registration.
Still have questions after reading the PDF? Click to email.
Tag(s): Latest Headlines