Refereeing – The Big Picture

Who are Referees?

The Referee is the official in charge of the match, acting as an independent arbiter and manager of the match.  The Referee’s authority extends to everyone at the field, including players, substitutes, team officials, spectators, and assistant referees.  The Referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game Safe, Fair & Fun — while interfering with the match as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses.


A top priority for the Referee is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players.  Soccer is a contact sport, and while there is risk in all sports, the Referee is responsible for minimizing risks caused by field conditions, equipment, spectators, and players.

Refereeing in AYSO is both a challenging and rewarding volunteer experience.  It is a great opportunity for you to join the kids on the pitch (arguably the best seat in the house) as they learn to love the “Beautiful Game”.  You’ll have a great time and get some exercise too!

AYSO offers a “built-in” progression of training and skill levels.  U8 Officials (the typical starting level for Referees) will see minimal fouls and very little dissent.  As you learn more (through both training and match experience), you’ll naturally move up with your child — Refereeing more and more complex matches.

Refereeing isn’t just for adults — Referees starting as young 10 years old are permitted to officiate matches in the U8 division.  As the Youth Referee enters high school, they have opportunities to manage more challenging matches and even earn High School Community Service credits as AYSO referees.  Refereeing in AYSO is a terrific way to help kids learn responsibility, build self-confidence, and possibly even begin to build a career.  Just as there are professional soccer players who started out as kids in AYSO, there are also professional soccer Referees who started out as kids in AYSO.

Our region’s more experienced Referees are happy to provide mentoring for all Referees, with additional encouragement for youth and female Referees.  If you have any questions about becoming a Referee, please contact the Referee Administrator (