Become a Referee

As of July 1 2019, US Soccer has instituted a ruling that certified referees (those working Competitive games) must be 13 years old. There are no age restrictions for individuals who wish to officiate Recreational games

Rhode Island (in conjunction with US Soccer) offers an entry-level program for individuals interested in becoming a referee. No prior experience is required, however, you will have a better chance of successful completion with a basic understanding of the game. Entry-level referees will start as a Grassroots Referee and will be taught a basic understanding of the Laws of Games adequate for officiating at the recreational and low-level competitve matches.

Step 1 – Create an account on the US Soccer Learning Center website ( If you are over 18 years old, you will also need to complete a background check BEFORE you can register for any referee courses (the cost is usually around $30 and the background check is good for 2 years). It is recommended that people for whom this applies begin the process at least 2 to 3 weeks BEFORE the course date.  US Soccer policy states that NO ONE can attend any in-person session unless the background check has cleared.

Step 2 – Once the background check is done (if you need it), you’ll be able to register for any New Grassroots Referee class. You’ll need to finish four online training modules before attending the in-person class. You can do the modules at your own pace, and you can stop/start as often as you’d like. The modules usually take about 4 hours total to complete.

Step 3 – Each New Grassroots Referee class has an in-person session where you will learn the basics of signals, positioning, how to use a whistle, and other referee-related skills. You will be asked to bring your whistle and a flag to the in-person clinic. Once the in-person clinic is completed and you’ve finished the online modules, you become a registered referee.

Referee Uniforms: The RISRC suggests purchasing referee uniforms from Official Sports ( It is suggested that you purchase the following:

  1. A yellow shirt (either long or short sleeve, your preference)
  2. Black socks
  3. Black shorts
  4. A whistle and a set of flags
  5. A set of Yellow/Red cards

Other items that may be useful would be a second color shirt (we suggest Black), match report forms (for inside the Yellow/Red card holders), and a duffel bag.

If you are under 13 years old and wish to begin officiating Recreational games, please contact your local Referee Coordinator. The list can be found by clicking the [Game Time!] tab (at the top of this window) and click on “Assignors & Coordinators”.

Good Luck!