AYSO Referee Frequently Asked Questions

Which class should I take? 

AYSO provides a layered series of training for Referees.  Referee certification consists of four different steps:

Step 1.   All AYSO Volunteers must take the “Safe Haven” course and Region 45 recommends taking the “Concussions” course.   Both are Online training at www.AYSOU.org.

Step 2:  Attend the appropriate referee training class (see below).

Step 3:  Pass the appropriate level Referee exam.

Step 4:  Higher level certifications (Intermediate, Advanced, National) include passing a fitness test and an assessment/observation of referee skills.

The level of certification required to officiate matches depends on the age group you will support as a referee.  The following table outlines the requirements:

Age Division

Required Certification

Recommended Level

6U, 7U, 8U

8U Official

8U Official


Regional Referee (see below)

Regional Referee


Regional Referee

Intermediate Referee


Regional Referee, Intermediate Referee

Advanced Referee

16U, 18U

Intermediate Referee

National Referee

Regional Referee materials can be completed by picking either of the following:

a)  Attend both the 8U Official and 8U to Regional Upgrade classes.  Region 45 offers these two classes back-to-back or training can be done over two or more years.  A referee will be U8 level until the second class is completed.

b)  Complete the online training and attend the Basic Regional Online Companion class.

What if I am already certified? 

If you are already certified as a referee in another AYSO region or through another organization (e.g. USSF), please contact the Regional Referee Administrator (rra@ayso45.org) for assistance transferring your certification.

How often do I need to take a class? 

Once you have completed the four steps above, your certification at that level does not expire.  It is the referee’s responsibility to remain current on the Laws of the Game (LOTG) and we recommend attending an upgrade class every 2 to 3 years.  This will keep you prepared and certified to the appropriate level as your child’s skills advance into the upper age brackets.  In addition, Region 45 holds a Referee Refresher training to kick off the season every year.

It is recommended that returning referees brush up on the LOTG by reviewing the online referee training course at www.AYSOU.org each year they don’t attend another class.

What is new this season? 

Come join a class or attend the Referee Refresher training for updates on the latest from FIFA and Region 45!   See www.ayso45.org/referees/training for schedule information.

How can I get support? Before the season?  During the season?

We want every referee to be successful and enjoy the experience.  Preparation is a significant factor in accomplishing this goal.   In addition to training classes, Region 45 hosts an informal Pizza Night each week where referees (and some coaches) talk about matches, offer advice, and support each other.  Senior Referees in the region volunteer as mentors and will help meet with you to answer any questions, observe you at matches and provide advice on how to continue improving.  You can also signup for the AYSO weekly newsletter (AYSO Whistle Stop) which describes common situations and provides answers and explanations of the correct response.  Please contact rra@ayso45.org or www.ayso45.org/referees with any questions or for more information including to request a mentor.

Can I upgrade to a higher level during the season? 

Yes. Classes for Intermediate upgrade are typically held in October and for Advanced Upgrade are held in January in our Area.  Other courses are also offered over the summer at Golden Gate Camp.   Contact rdri@ayso45.org for more information.

At what level can youth referees officiate?

Youth volunteers over age 10 make great role models as referees.  Youth referees take the same training as adults and can officiate in the division up to one below where they can be players.   For example,  a 12-year-old can officiate U8 or U10 matches.

I already know the laws.   Now what? 

Come get Certified!  We love it when people with knowledge of soccer join the referee ranks.  The class will be easy if you are already familiar with the LOTG and you can ask your hardest questions and get support becoming a better referee.

Why are classes so long? 

While FIFA has done an amazing job keeping the Laws of the Game simple and complete, there is still the challenge of understanding all of the ways the laws apply during a match.  It takes about 8 hours to review the 17 Laws of the Game and to start applying them quickly in real situations.  Upper-level training spends a lot more time on fouls and more complex situations that occur in upper level-matches.  We appreciate that spending a full day in training is a significant time commitment so we offer the option to do half of the Regional Referee training at your own schedule online (www.AYSOU.org) coupled with less in-class time via the Basic Regional Online Referee course.

What Equipment do I need?

You supply shoes, a watch, and pen or pencil (also an equipment bag if you like).  Region45  provides a copy of the LOTG, a uniform, a whistle, cards, and coin for all who take the Regional class (U10 and up).  Flags and game balls are shared for each field.  For U8, the Region provides a shirt and a whistle.  You provide shorts (preferably black) also.  U8 doesn’t use flags or cards.

Games are scheduled online so coaches can print the roster and you can print the game record each week.

Where do I sign-up?

See http://ayso45.org/referees/new-referees/course-signup for detailed instructions for registration.   You must register as a volunteer using a Sports Connect (https://ayso.bluesombrero.com/region45) and register for referee training through the AYSO National website at www.aysou.org.  We look forward to seeing you in a class soon!