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There are the six certification levels for AYSO referees. Here is a brief description of the requirements for each. Contact your Regional Referee Administrator (RRA) for more details:

U8 Referee Certification

  • # of Games: No minimum number of games required
  • Training: U-8 Official Course (Includes Safe Haven Referee Certification)
  • Testing: Take U-8 Official Exam
  • Assessment: Not required
  • Fitness Test: Not required
  • Service Units: None required

Regional Referee (minimum age 12):

  • # of Games: No minimum number of games required
  • Training: Basic Referee Course + Safe Haven Certification
  • Testing: 75% or better on the Regional Referee Exam 
  • Assessment: Not required
  • Fitness Test: Not required
  • Service Units:  Not required

Intermediate Referee (minimum age 14) 

  • # of Games: 25 as referee with at least 5 in U-12 matches
  • Training:Intermediate (Area) Referee Course
  • Testing: 90% or better on the Intermediate Referee Exam Assessment: See note 3 below.
  • Fitness Test: Not required - practice for AYSO Physical Fitness Test is recommended
  •  Service Units: None required

Advanced Referee (minimum age 16) 

  • # of Games: 50 as Referee (10 in U-14) and 5 as an Assistant Referee (in U-14)
  • Training: Advanced (Section) Referee Course Testing: 
  • 90% or better on the Advanced Referee Exam
  • Assessment: One each as Referee and Assistant Referee in a U-14 match
  • Fitness Test: Complete the AYSO Physical Fitness Test for this level.
  • Service Units: Do a minimum of five service units. See note 4 and 5 below.

National Referee (minimum age 18) 

  • No. of Games: 100 as Referee with at least 30 in U-16 and U-19 matches of which at least 15 must be in U-19, if available, and 25 as Assistant Referee with at least 10 in U-19, if available. The Section Referee Administrator may authorize substitution of U-16 for U-19, if U-19 matches are not available.
  • Training: Complete the National Referee Course. At least 80 matches as Referee prior to attending the National Referee Course is required.
  • Testing: or better on the National Referee Exam Assessment: Two assessments as Referee in U-16 or U-19 with at least one in U-19, if available, and one as Assistant Referee in a U-19 match, if available. The Section Referee Administrator may authorize substitution of U-16 for U-19, if U-19 matches are not available.
  • Fitness Test: Complete the AYSO Physical Fitness Test for this level. 
  • Service: Do an additional five service units. See note 4 below.


  1. Field assessments for level upgrades must be done in a typical AYSO match in the age group specified, using the Diagonal System of Control. Matches used for upgrade assessments must be of the duration specified for that particular age group in the AYSO National Rules and Regulations except that U-16 and U-19 matches shortened by no more than 5 minutes per half are acceptable.

  1. If requested by the referee being assessed, a higher division match or a non-AYSO match of the equivalent age division (or higher) may be used for the assessment.

  1.   Applicants for Intermediate Referee level must be mentored by a Referee Mentor (or assessor) and recommended for upgrade by the Regional Referee Administrator or the Regional Director of Referee Assessment.  At least one observation as a Referee is required, and one as an Assistant Referee is recommended.

  1. Service units consist of: Observer-Friend observations;Mentoring of new referees for development or upgrade;Serving as a Referee Administrator, Director of Referee Instruction or as a Director of Referee Assessment; Instructing Assistant Referee and U-8 Official Training Courses;Instructing Referee Assessor Training Courses; Assessing candidates for upgrade in referee level, if qualified;  No more than two (2) service units may be credited by an applicant for mentoring/observing an individual referee, or one (1) service unit per instruction course or one (1) service unit per year for an administrative function.  The requirement for performing service units is waived in the case of candidates who are under 18 years old.

  1. Entry may be at Assistant Referee, U-8 Official or Regional Referee level but, in addition to the requirements noted above, candidates for upgrade to National Referee must have one year (min.) experience as an Advanced Referee.

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