Matches | Locations | Become a Referee | Evaluate a Referee

How to become a refereePrintable

Congratulations! So, you want to become a referee. That is great. As a referee you:

    • Are well paid.
    • Are part of the third team on the field with friends and colleagues.
    • Have an up close and personal interaction with the players and the game.

Already a referee? Register with the Peninsula Soccer Referee Association

To get started as a referee you need:

  • A license
  • A kit (jersey, shorts, socks, flags, whistle, watch, notebook, etc.)
  • Mentored matches (optional)


Most matches assigned via the Peninsula Soccer Referee Association require a United States Soccer Federation Referee License. As a USSF Referee, you will be part of the California North Referee Association. More information about becoming a referee is available on the CNRA Website.->

You get a USSF Grassroots Referee License.

To get a license you need to take a class, called an "Grassroots Entry Level Course". If you are 18 years old or older, the class involves:

  1. A background check
  2. On-line Health and Safety Course
  3. On-line SafeSport Course (mandated by law)
  4. On-line Grassroots Referee Course
  5. On-line quiz
  6. A field session

If you are 13-17 years old, the class involves:

  1. On-line Health and Safety Course
  2. On-line Grassroots Referee Course
  3. On-line quiz
  4. A field session

The background check can take 7 to 10 days. 
You MUST complete all the on-line material BEFORE attending the field session.

When you go to the US Soccer Learning Center, you sign up for an upcoming Grassroots Field Session at> Click on

  • Referee Program
  • Start your Journey
  • Go to Course List

to find a course. You will need to go to Sign Up-> to register with USSF.   


To start you need:

  • Yellow referee shirt (long or short sleeve)
  • 100% black referee shorts with pockets
  • Black socks with 2 white stripes
  • Watch with a stop watch function (no you cannot use your smart phone)
  • A pocket notebook and pencil
  • Velcro backing for your badge (comes with a new shirt)
  • Whistle
  • Flipping coin (a quarter works fine)

As you more experienced you will need:

  • A bag to carry your kit
  • Flags
  • Red/Yellow Cards
  • Second whistle
  • A second jersey color (red, blue, green or black)
  • Black shoes


You need on-the-field experience and advice. Some leagues (San Francisco Youth Soccer for example) will assign a Mentor to help during your first matches. Some Clubs have a Director of Referee Development or similar title to help you.

More experienced referees love to help rookies. At your matches, ask for pointers. Tell your referee team about your experience level.

Work recreational level matches (AYSO in San Mateo County) before you work competitive level matches.

Edited to include 2018 uniform requirements 11/15/17
Edited to include USSF Learning Center, change to Grassroots from Grade 7, 8, 9 10/26/19
Edited to reflect that background checks no longer need to be completed before starting assignments  12/2/20