The Junior Referee Program
The purpose of a Junior Referee Program is to give opportunity, education and experience to young players to referee games prior to US Soccer certification age of 13. Players aged 9-12 can officiate recreational games to develop their skills and gain experience prior to becoming a US Soccer Certified Referee.
This resource is intended for clubs, leagues and assignors to assist in the development of Junior Referee Programs and build their respective referee pools.
Any club or league can develop a program.
- Make it Low Cost, No Cost to participate. Provide a basic kit with T shirt, whistle & lanyard.
- Run a class to give basic guidance for participants. Virtual or In person. 60 minutes.
- Assign to Recreational Games to give the Junior Referee experience.
- Designate a Point of Contact onsite for game days.
- Communicate with your club / league families the program, what a Junior Referee Program is and why it is important.
Any club or league can develop a program. Below are resources to use to recruit Junior Referees into your program.
To assist your Junior Referees in facilitating soccer games, we suggest a minimum the follow topics be covered;
1. What is a Referee and an Assistant Referee (AR)?
2. What is the role of the Referee or AR ?
3. What are the Laws of the Game (LOTG)?
4. What to wear?
5. What safety protocols to perform before a game (Field, equipment, goals etc.) ?
6. Who to report misconduct or other matters to?
7. How do they get paid?
Yes, Georgia Soccer sanctioned activities includes recreational games that are in house. All participants in these games are covered by our General Liability and Participant Accident Insurance.
Ensure that you are an Affiliate member club of Georgia Soccer, your recreational players and coaches are registered with Georgia Soccer and you are operating under Georgia Soccer Youth Rules & Regulations that pertain to recreation.
The Junior Referee is not a certified referee and does not need a full kit. However, it is the Club or League choice what it requires.
At a minimum a referee should wear black short & socks, be provided with a referee T shirt or jersey clearly distinguishing them as a referee, have a whistle & lanyard and a pencil/notebook. This is a low cost option for a club providing the T Shirt & whistle.
An alternative is an Official Kit which can be purchased as low as $38 from Official Sports International.
US Soccer allows certifications of referees beginning at aged 13. Georgia Soccer works with Junior Referee Programs to provide grant monies for free certification. For more information visit the Recertification page
After your Junior Referee has met the class requirements and are ready to go, your job isn’t over. Mentoring Junior Referees is part of their continued development. Your local State Referee Committee (SRC) will help you understand the process for requesting a mentor. We also suggest that a member of your referee community (your assignor, Board Referee Liaison or a referee with years of experience become a referee mentor.
Learn how to become a referee mentor here