Becoming a Soccer Referee

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Being a soccer referee can be a rewarding experience, but it takes hard work, dedication, and maturity to do the job right. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

If you’re a soccer fan and/or player and also looking for a fun, active part-time job, becoming a soccer referee might be the perfect gig for you. You get to spend weekends outdoors, get a workout running up and down the soccer pitch, and ensure a safe and fair contest for the players involved. Still, there can be some negatives, such as bad weather and a difficult parent from time to time. Still, being a referee can be a fun and rewarding experience. Think you’re ready to give it a shot? If so, then here are some things you need to know.

To become a referee in the state of Alabama, you must successfully complete an Initial Entry Referee Clinic, register and be at least 14 years old to be assigned to games. You can attend an initial entry clinic as long as you turn 14 by Feb 1 of the registration year. For example, if you are 13 and wanting to attend a clinic on August 8, 2015, but you will only turn 14 on Jan 16, 2016, you can attend the clinic and register but you will only be approved to referee on or after your 14th birthday.

Clinics are held throughout the year starting from August 1 of the current year and continuing until March 31 of the following year. The Grade 8 Initial Entry Course has two parts, some training done online and the rest spent in a classroom. Go to to get additional information on how to become a referee.

Once you pass the course, obtain your license and start working games, remember, professionalism is the key to earning respect and moving up the ladder. Demonstrating professional behavior will earn you respect from players, spectators, media, and fellow officials. Unprofessional behavior will result in loss of respect for you and for other referees.

On the field, regardless of whether you are refereeing a U8 game or an MLS game, you should always conduct yourself in a professional manner. Off the field, your demeanor, locally or when traveling out-of-state, should be impeccable as well. Remember, you are representing the state of Alabama when you referee a match, whether in Alabama or out-of-state, and will be judged by your off-the-field demeanor as well as how you perform on the field.

Still interested? Check out the referee code of ethics below:

  • I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer
  • I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position
  • I will always honor an assignment or any other contractual obligation
  • I will attend training meetings and clinics so as to know the Laws of the Game, their proper interpretation and their application
  • I will always strive to achieve maximum team work with my fellow officials
  • I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them
  • I will be in good physical condition
  • I will control the players effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness
  • I will do my utmost to assist my fellow officials to better themselves and their work
  • I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game
  • I will not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin
  • I consider it a privilege to be a part of the U.S. Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates 

About Author

Pat Dixon

To learn more about becoming a soccer referee in Alabama, go online to

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