Referee Training

Referee training and mentoring

To become a referee you must take one of the courses offered by the Massachusetts State Referee Committee. The course to train Recreational Referees (called a Grade 9 license by the USSF –which has nothing to do with your grade in school) lasts 8 hours. You can find a list of courses by going to the MSRC web site ( Grade 9 referees are licensed to referee 6 v 6 and 8 v 8 games, as well as serve as Assistant Referees for 11 v 11 games.

The license classes provide new referees with a working knowledge of the rules (referred to as the “Laws of the Game”). To give new referees some help with the practical aspects of being a referee and managing game situations, the WSC arranges field sessions for on the job training. Unlike players, who get to practice in between games, referees only get better by working games. Therefore the WSC has “referee coaches” who watch referees work games and can answer questions and give tips. Our goal is to have all our referees be comfortable with their early assignments and constantly improve to earn the way to work up to ever more demanding games.

Moving up to 11v11 games

The entry-level USSF Grade 9 license trains referees to work 7 v 7 and 9 v 9 games. To be assigned 11 v 11 games and earn the excitement and higher pay of working these games for older players requires the USSF Grade 8 license. This is a separate course for referees who must be at least 15 years old. The USSF Grade 8 course requires 16 hours of classroom time. Recently the MSRC has started offering a “Bridge” course for referees who already have a USSF Grade 9 license who want to move up to do 11 v 11 games. This requires only 8 hours of classroom time. Considering that each year you must do 4 hours of recertification it’s a great thing!


A referee’s license is good for only one year. To remain active referee and earn the next year’s badge all referees are required to attend a recertification clinic. These are 4 hours long and are held on weekends in December and January in hotels all around Massachusetts. The schedule for recertification classes is posted on the MSRC web site ( and the registration is done over the web. Usually there are several dates to chose from with clinics close by us, like Natick or Waltham. If you miss these dates you may need to drive a long way to get recertified on a different date.