The New Grassroots Referee course is split into two main parts:
1) Online Course
2) In-Person Field Training Session
The minimum age to become a referee is 13 years. This is set by the United States Soccer Federation and cannot be waived or modified by the State Referee Committee or any club or league. The US Soccer learning center will not allow anyone under the age of 13 to create a referee profile.
STEP 1: REGISTRATION
All candidates must create a profile in the U.S. Soccer Learning Center and register as a First-time referee. You can begin your registration at U.S. Soccer Learning Center and click on the “SIGN UP” button.
Each referee profile must use a unique email address. Siblings, parents, and/or their children may not use the same primary email address to set up their Learning Center profile. The Learning Center does allow everyone to add a secondary email address, so if parents can add their email address there to receive the same email updates going to the account’s primary email address.
STEP 2: NCSI BACKGROUND SCREENING & SAFESPORT TRAINING
MANDATORY FOR ALL 18 YEARS AND OLDER
SKIP THIS STEP IF YOU ARE 13-17 YEARS OLD
START EARLY! US Soccer requires all referees and referee candidates who are 18 years and older to complete an NCSI background screening. Once submitted, the background screening can take up to 10 days to complete. The US Soccer Learning Center will not allow you to enroll in any referee course until the background screening has cleared. You will not be allowed to attend an In-Person Field Training Course until your NCSI background check has been approved at US Soccer.
The background screening costs $30 (plus a $1-$2 processing fee) and is valid for two years from the date it is completed.
SAFESPORT – While your US Soccer background screening is processing, you can complete the mandatory SafeSport training in the US Soccer Learning Center. SafeSport is Federal Law passed by the US Congress.
In the Learning Center, under Courses, go to Available Courses and then SafeSport
SafeSport online training takes 1-2 hours to complete.
STEP 3: ENROLL & BEGIN AN ONLINE COURSE
Now that you’ve created your Learning Center profile (and NCSI background screening if 18+) you can enroll in the Grassroots Online Course and In-Person Field Training Session you want to attend. If you are not automatically directed to the In-Person schedule you want, in the Learning Center click on Courses then Go to Course List and select your course from that menu.
Once enrolled, you must complete all the sections under the Assignments tab to complete the online portion of the Grassroots Referee Certification:
- Grassroots Online Course (4-6 hours)
- 2023 Intro to Safe & healthy Playing Environments (30 min – 1 hour)
- 2023 Grassroots Certification Quiz (25 questions, multiple choice)
- SafeSport Training (if 18+ years)
STEP 4: ATTEND IN-PERSON FIELD SESSION TRAINING
- The final step in your new Grassroots Referee certification process is to attend the three-hour In-Person Field Session Training. You can find the address, schedule, and contact information on the Course Information page in the Learning Center. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for check-in.
- In the Field Session Training, you will be participating by acting as both a player and referee. Please check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the conditions and outside running. Some locations may not have water available, so please bring your water or sports drink for hydration.
- Everyone must bring their whistle to the Field Training Sessions. If you already have flags and red/yellow cards, bring those as well. If you don’t have these items yet, there will be some available to share.
If you are 18 or older, you will not be allowed to attend the Field Training Session if your NCSI Background Screening has not yet been approved by US Soccer. You must complete the New Grassroots Online Course before attending In-Person Field Training Session.
Once you complete all steps and assignments, your certification will be approved and you will receive an email with an attachment that looks like the image below. Your next step is to find the Club you wish to work for online and get in touch with the assignor. Badges are mailed out in batches and yours will go out with the next batch after your certification is approved.