Becoming a referee is a fairly simple process - you take a test, you pass the test, you buy a uniform and you do your first game. Sounds easy. But of course nothing is that easy. We can help you get started. Here is what's involved in becoming a referee:
The Basic Referee Clinic
To become a referee in Oklahoma, you must first attend an 09 Recreational Referee course. The classes are listed at the Oklahoma Soccer Association website under "Searchable Class Listings" at the "Referee" link.
Requirement: there is no age requirement to attend the 09 course, but it is recommended that the candidate be at least eleven years of age. The class is nine hours in length and a 50 question multiple choice, true/false test will be given at the completion of the course. The candidate must pass the test with a 75% score.
Cost = $60.00 payable at the first session.
Once a referee has attended an 09 Recreational Referee class, he/she may attend an 08 class.
Requirement: there is no age requirement to attend the 08 course, but it is recommended that the candidate be at least fourteen years of age. The class is twelve hours in length and a 100 question multiple choice, true/false test will be given at the completion of the course. The candidate must pass the text with a score of 75 or better.
Cost = $60.00 payable at the first session, unless the candidate has taken the 09 class within the same registration year (January to December). The cost for that candidate is $35.
All referees must attend a recertification class every fall to allow them to register for the following year. Referee registration is good for an entire year, but must be completed in the previous year. To recertify for 2011, every referee must attend a recertification class before December 31, 2010.
You can check with the club at which you are interested in working, or look on the Oklahoma Soccer Association web page. Clinics will be listed for your area and surrounding areas. To register for a clinic hosted by ESC, e-mail the referee administrator or referee coordinator, Parris Sanders. Now that you have the first step out of the way things get better.
If you score less than 75 all is not lost; you may retake the test at a later date. You cannot register or do games until you pass the test. Take the time to study before the test date and take good notes during the sessions. You will want to earn the highest score possible. The higher your score, the more likely it is that you will become a qualified referee and the more valuable you will be to clubs that are interested in contracting your services. Coaches and players also appreciate referees that are knowledgeable about football and who thoroughly understand the Laws of the Game .
The Uniform and Equipment
Now that you've passed the test and have registered with USSF, it's time to go out and buy your first uniform. The basic uniform for referees is a yellow shirt, black referee shorts, black socks with three stripes and black shoes. In addition to a uniform, you will need a watch, preferably one that counts down time. You'll need a whistle, a small book to keep score, a flipping coin, red and yellow cards and a set of flags. Now you ask yourself where do I get all this stuff? During the clinic your instructor will tell you where you can buy all this stuff. Some vendors offer referee kits to help keep down the cost of new gear.
Now that you've passed the test, bought your uniform and all the stuff, you'll need to talk to an assignor who will schedule your games. Not sure who your local assignor is? Again your instructor will g ive you the name and phone number of the assignor for your local association. Most soccer clubs have a website and the local assignor is listed there. Edmond's assignor is Brandon Story. He uses the Arbiter (www.arbitersports.com) to assign refs to games at the club. You need to get an Arbiter account setup. You will receive a "Welcome" email from the Oklahoma Soccer Association once you've passed the referee class, and once you do, you can log in, update your information, update your availability calendar, and start to receive assignments via email. Oklahoma Soccer Association has links on its website that offers lists of club assignors statewide, information about annual training requirements, and recert clinics.
Edmond referees are paid through the use of another online system called "RefPay" (www.refpay.com). Once you have updated your Arbiter Account, You must then open a RefPay account and then attach it to the Arbiter account. When you work games assigned in the Arbiter, you will see your game payments in RefPay. Your RefPay account will be funded by the referee committee and you can receive your payments via one of several available formats including direct deposit. Click Here for a document that explains the RefPay setup. Click here for a movie which demonstrates how to pay yoursef via RefPay.
Your First Year
Well you've been out on the fields for a year now and you've learned how to issue cards, deal with coaches and parents and suffered through the heat and cold. Hopefully, you've improved your knowledge of The Laws of the Game, and you desire to advance your status to do more competitive games. Now what? Every year, you will be required to attend five hours of training and take a re-certification test. Your local administrator will organize recertification clinics, mid-season meetings, and other training events. You will be notified when these events are scheduled.
You may wish to upgrade to an 08 level referee. You may sign up for the corresponding clinic and test when you feel that you are ready. 08 level referees may, if they are deemed qualified, work upper level competitive games. Your club assignor will gradually assign you to more challenging matches. Often, you may be assigned as a linesman with experienced referees to help you to adjust to upper level matches. Your assignments will be commensurate with your experience and knowledge, as perceived by your assignor, of course.
So you've been doing recreational and competitive games and are ready for more challenging games: How do advance from here? Again you'll have to work with your local assignor who will contact your local assessor. You may also find assessors working tournaments. The assessor will come to your field and evaluate your game and give you pointers on how to improve. The assessor is there to help you. He offers feedback and constructive criticism. Later in your referee career, you may wish to advance to grade 7 referee status. If you pass a physical, pass the written test and the referee committee approves, then you may apply for this next level of qualification. Later, still, when you are ready to try and advance to grade 6, State referee, the process is pretty much the same, but more intense. The referee committee will work with you throughout these advancements.
What is 'Recertification'?
All referees must attend a recertification class every fall to allow them to register for the following year. Referee registration is from January 1 to December 31. Registration closes June 1 of each year. Recertification for the next year’s registration begins in August of each year and runs through April.
That's what it takes to be a referee in a nutshell. Of course, the more games you do the more your confidence improves and games will seem easier. One thing to remember is that we all have a bad game from time to time so don't despair. With assessors and assignors helping you, these will be few and far between. Remember that if you have any questions, contact your local area administrator.
All USSF registered Referee Grades are required to complete a recertification clinic and pass a test before being permitted to reregister.
Your clinic results (if you pass the test) will be recorded and retained by OSA.
If you have to retake the test, you may do so at another clinic which you should audit free of charge. When you pass the test, you may then register online.
There are two types of misconduct toward game officials (referees, assistant referees or fourth officials), abuse and assault. See the United States Soccer Federation Policy Manual, Policy 531-9 (was 3041) or the Referee Administrative Handbook (pdf file) for a full description.
Abuse and Assault do happen, even to experienced referees. If such misconduct is to be stamped out, referees must follow a sensible and consistent course of action that will enable their State Associations to punish offenders, and to discourage potential offenders from such acts. A referee should react to misconduct directed toward him/her in a manner that will permit administration and enforcement agencies to do their jobs. The USSF Referee Handbook, Laws of the Game has instructions on dealing with misconduct. It is important for the referee to remember that any such misconduct is not his/her fault! There is no excuse for a player, coach, or spectator resorting to abuse, threats, or physical attack, no matter how upset he/she is with the referee. Such actions cannot be tolerated and must be reported! Contact your local Referee Coordinator, Parris Sanders to report any incidents of abuse.