Becoming a New Referee - Entry Certification For 2021

PLEASE READ ALL OF THE DIRECTIONS BELOW and refer to them as you complete the certification process.

You are becoming a referee for the first time.  Your requirements for your new referee certification are a combination of online lessons and an in-person field training session.  The registration and clinic fee is $80.  You must be age 13 or older on the day you register to become a referee.

TO START.  Go to our Officials Management System (OMS): 

Select “New Member Registration.”  Enter your member information and create a password.  Your e-mail address must be your own.  Every referee must provide a unique e-mail address for identification in our online systems.

FIRST STEP CLINIC.  The first step of your referee instruction is completing the online lessons.

Follow the directions and select the "Referee - Grassroots Entry - First Step - Online Lessons" clinic.

Then, on your Member Home Page, click the button to "Complete Requests and Pay Fees."

On your Member Home Page, to the right of your reserved clinic, click on "Online Lesson."

ONLINE LESSONS.  There are seven online lessons:

1.  2021 Introduction to the Learning Center  (4 hours, 30 minutes)   
2.  2020 Referee Signals  (9 minutes)
3   2020 Assistant Referee Signals  (11 minutes)
4.  Ceremonial Restarts  (4 minutes)
5.  2021 Learning Center Intro to Safety  (15 minutes)
6.  2021 Grassroots Entry Referee Test  (30 minutes)
7.  2021 Learning Center SafeSport  (90 minutes)        

The Introduction to the Learning Center with the Grassroots Referee Course is the first lesson.  The Introduction to the Learning Center lesson is both an introduction on how to sign up and log in to the US Soccer Learning Center, and a 4.5-hour Grassroots Referee Course.  Click Start to start the lesson, then click the Learning Center button to go to the Learning Center.

Part 1 of the Introduction to the Learning Center explains how to Sign Up and create a profile, username, and password at the Learning Center.  BE CAREFUL TO ENTER YOUR NAME THE SAME AS YOUR NAME IN OMS.  If your name does not match, the Learning Center will not match your referee history to your account; instead, the Learning Center will create a new account.

Part 2 of the Introduction to the Learning Center explains how to Log In and start and complete the Grassroots Referee Course.  BE CAREFUL TO USE LOG IN.  If you use Sign Up, you will create another account at the Learning Center.

There are five Parts to the Learning Center course.  You must complete each Part in sequence.

As you progress through the Grassroots Referee Course, you must view everything on a page/slide.  You will have to click on each option to read or watch a video.  Sometimes you will have to scroll down or to the right to see everything on a page/slide.  If you do not see the CONTINUE button, you have not viewed everything on the page/slide.

If you need to stop the course to resume later, select CLOSE, so your progress will be saved and you can resume where you left the course.

When you complete the course, go back to OMS to complete the other lessons.

REMAINING LESSONS.   Complete the remaining online lessons by selecting “Start” beside each lesson, in order.

Everyone must complete Lessons 2 – 6.

Lesson 7, SafeSport Training, is required for referees 18 years or older.  Lesson 7 will show as Complete for referees who are not 18.  The first time SafeSport Training takes about 90 minutes to complete.  Subsequent annual SafeSport Training takes about 15 minutes to complete.

FINAL STEP CLINIC.  The final step of your referee instruction is completing the field training session.

Once you complete the 7 online lessons, your grey Online Lessons button will turn green.  This may take up to 24 hours after you complete Lesson 7.  When it does, follow the Transfer/Cancel link and change the clinic type to Final Step Clinic.  Make a note of the date, time, and location of the Final Step Clinic you wish to attend and email your request to your Area Director of Instruction:

Northern Virginia and D.C. -  Diane Florkowski
Central Virginia - Lecky Stone
Southeastern Virginia - Jeff Lord
Western Virginia - Bill Newton

Your ADI will provide you an Invitation Code for your field session.  On your Member Home Page, to the right of your reserved clinic, click on “Transfer” and select a “Referee - Grassroots Entry - Final Step – Field Training” clinic.  Use your Invitation Code to sign up for the field session you requested.


You need to bring your own whistle and referee flag to the field session.  We cannot share referee equipment during the pandemic.

Dress for the weather and for mild activity on the field.  You will be outside on the field for 4 hours.

You should receive your referee badge at the end of the field training session.


You can search the internet for soccer referee uniforms or equipment.  You should find many alternative brands and vendors.  You can also procure your referee kit at a soccer store.  Official Sports is the brand that sponsors and is affiliated with the US Soccer referee program.  However, any brand should be acceptable.  Be careful to procure the current referee shirt and socks styles.  You will see these as you complete the Grassroots Referee Course, and are shown under resources at the US Soccer Learning Center.

We recommend that you procure a complete referee uniform/equipment kit, which includes a referee shirt (yellow is the primary color), referee shorts, referee socks, referee flags, whistle, yellow and red cards, etc.  The kit will provide the best value and all of your referee equipment.

Referee shoes should be black athletic shoes.  Predominantly black is usually acceptable.  Manufacturer logo of a different color is acceptable.  The referee shoes should not be distracting, or raw attention.

Congratulations on becoming a referee!  Your next step is to contact a referee assignor to schedule yourself to officiate. names and contact information are located on the Assignor page of this website.

Revised January 24, 2021

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