Advice and Support


Each year, thousands of people become referees for the first time. Being a referee can be a very rewarding experience, but it’s important that new referees have the support of their families.

This video will focus on helpful tips for the parents of new referees. 


After you pass your Grassroots certification, getting started can be daunting. This video from U.S. Soccer focuses on how to prepare for and deal with the everyday challenges of being an official and provides practical advice that empowers referees to succeed while getting started.


It’s not something that comes to mind when you think of being a referee!

As part of U.S. Soccer’s commitment to health and safety, our medical and referee experts have prepared the following recommendations for the referee community and incorporated them into our referee education materials.

In the interest of health and safety, U.S. Soccer recommends that match officials practice the following skin care guidelines:

  • Consider wearing sunscreen daily on areas of exposed skin.
  • Apply skin protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater 15 minutes prior to being exposed to the sun.
  • At a minimum, reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating extensively.
  • Take advantage of halftime to reapply.
  • Consider wearing long sleeves (or UV protective clothing) if applicable during high sun exposure periods.
  • Periodically (once a year) review exposed skin for any changes or growths and consult your doctor or dermatologist.
  • Caps may be worn so long as the cap does not endanger the safety of the official or the players.
  • The cap should be consistent with the referee uniform and not conflict with the uniform colors worn by either team.
  • The cap may not bear any commercial marks or logos.

Check out OSI’s USSF Black Mesh Cap, a breathable mesh hat that the can be worn for sun protection.

Also check out the Lightweight Quarter Zip Long Sleeve, which is a moisture management shirt with UV protection. It’s great to wear during high sun exposure days!


Policy 531-11 United States Soccer Federation Referee Program

Part III – Standards of Conduct

Section 4 – Code of Ethics for Referees

All members of the Federation Referee Program are expected to:

  1. Consider it a privilege to be part of the Federation Referee Program and use actions that will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates
  2. Maintain the dignity of the position
  3. Conduct themselves ethically and honorably
  4. Treat themselves and others respectfully and honestly
  5. Perform duties knowledgably and in accordance with the Laws of the Game
  6. Adhere to all policies and requirements of the Federation Referee Program
  7. Safeguard confidential registration and performance information
  8. Give priority to all Federation affiliated assignments and programs
  9. Honor all Federation affiliated assignments and obligations
  10. Not discriminate against or take advantage of any individual or group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin

Failure to follow this Code may result in disciplinary sanctions or decertification.


The Laws of the Game are constantly being updated! You will review all updates in your certification and recertification, however it’s always helpful to review them from time to time.

The Laws of the Game are also available as an app for both Android and iPhone users! It is recommended that all referees download it and have the app available at the field.

View the International Football Association Board’s Laws of the Game here: IFAB Laws of the Game

En Epanol aqui: IFAB Reglas de Juego

And check out U.S. Soccer’s video series here in both Spanish and English: U.S. Soccer’s Laws of the Game Videos


The holy grain of referee information, directly from U.S. Soccer! Visit these resource documents for answers to questions from referee requirements to specific guidelines about the game! Be sure to check out the Referee Pocket Guide for a cheat sheet to keep with you on the field!

U.S. Soccer Digital Learning Center Resources


Do you ever wish there was someone you could talk to about refereeing?  Someone with a little more experience who has been at it longer than you?

Do you ever wonder what it might take to become a better referee?  Are you thinking about advancing your referee career so you can officiate the highest level of games?   Or maybe you just want to improve or fine-tune your skills but you just don’t know where to turn.

It could be that what you need is a mentor!

What is a mentor?

A “mentor” is an experienced referee who has been where you are now.  A mentor will work with you toward achieving your goals, provide support and encouragement, offer suggestions, and share knowledge.

A mentor can assist you with your choice of career path, whether it is recreational soccer or the MLS, and help put you into contact with assessors and assignors who can help you reach your goals.

Who needs a mentor?

We all do!

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it for quite a while, all referees benefit from having a mentor.

Mentors for New Referees

We understand that new referees need mentors the most. 

We know it can be nerve-wracking when you’re just starting out.

A mentor is on your side, reassuring you when your calls are right and helping you understand how to call an effective game when things get tough.

We want you to have success throughout your career.

    Request a Mentor

Mentors for Intermediate Referees

So you’ve been doing this for a little while now and you’re thinking about how to advance as a referee and move up to a higher level.

You’re ready to take on more challenging assignments.

A mentor can help prepare you for the different levels of play and work with you as you learn to officiate in fast-paced, competitive game situations – and can help you take the guesswork out of the upgrade process.

    Request a Mentor

Accelerate Your Career!

Has officiating become your passion?  Are you ready to referee at the highest levels?  No one can make it to the top alone.

Seeking National status requires a portfolio of highly competitive game experience AND exceptional reviews from National Assessors.

Would you like a professional development assessment to help you prepare to attain your next badge?

Development Assessment Request


Have you ever had a question about the Laws of the Game?  Wondered if the call the referee made in last Sunday’s match was correct?  Now you have a place to turn!

If you have a question about the Laws of the Game, simply send it to, where experienced referees will answer your question.  While only select questions will be answered on, every other question submitted will be answered privately via email.

Ask a Ref


If you are a registered referee, assignor, assessor, or instructor, and you have a concern and don’t know where to turn for guidance or support, the Ombudsman is here to help you.

Do you feel that you are not being treated fairly by your assignor?

Are you having issues with your crew?

Not sure how to get the most out of your referee career?

The Ombudsman will provide a listening ear, and can be an advocate, providing you with a sense of direction as you attempt to resolve the issues you are facing. At your request, the Ombudsman can treat your communications as confidential and strive to maintain your anonymity with respect to any advocacy regarding any issues that you’ve raised.

Contact your Ombudsman, Liam Hayes or Eduardo Irigoyen (habla Español) with any issues.


Every game brings its own set of challenges. Sometimes those challenges cross the line of professionalism. If you find yourself in a situation that may border on or be considered referee abuse or assult, suspicions of alleged Safesport violations, or otherwise unprofessional conduct made against referees, instructors, mentors, instructors, assessors, assignors, and administrators, please contact the Oregon Referee Committee for assistance.


All referees over the age of 18 years must take an annual SafeSport training. This training is embedded into your certification and recertification of all license types. To access the training outside of a course, please visit the US Center for SafeSport website and use the access code: YC3E-6P5G-YYIL-CS2M

If you have trouble accessing the site or entering the above code, please try the following suggestions:

  1. Clear your browser history/cache
  2. Access the site using either the Chrome or Firefox browser
  3. Contact the ORC office for assistance


P.O. Box 230109
Tigard, Oregon


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