Becoming a Certified USSF Referee

Preparing For The Test

Many young aspiring referees are players themselves, and they often make the mistake of assuming that because they are players, they are quite knowledgeable about the Laws of the Game (notice that we intentionally refer to them as “Laws”, not “rules”).  Many instructors will begin an entry level class with a series of what-if scenarios to demonstrate to young referees that they don’t know as much as they think they do, so be prepared for this.

To get yourself ready for class and for passing the test, the most basic step to take is to read the Laws Of The Game (LOTG).  You can always find the most current online version here.  USSF has stopped providing printed versions of this document, so you’re on your own in you need a paper copy.  In addition, you should look over a couple of other important documents, including “Laws Of The Game Made Easy” (aka the “cartoon book”) and the “Guide To Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials“.  The Guide to Procedures details all of the mechanics of being a soccer official: how to hold the flag, how to signal a foul, how to handle an injury, and so forth.

To further prepare, you should spend a few minutes online with an excellent practice test you can find at  This site is operated by a National Referee (the highest level referee in the USA) and all of the test answers are cross-referenced to the appropriate official documents.

Finally, when you attend your certification class, BE ON TIME, if not a few minutes early.  Nothing irritates referee instructors more than late students (it makes us wonder if you can be on time for your game assignments).

Typically, you’ll get the results of your test before the class session is complete.  In some states, you may even be handed your new badge right on the spot.  (Other states will mail your badge to you).

Once you’ve become certified, it’s time to get the gear you’ll need to referee.

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