Referee FAQs

You completed the course, bought some gear and have some free time this weekend. Now what? Whether this is your first year as a referee or you’re rolling up on your 25 year anniversary, we all have questions. Here are some of the most common questions. If you’d like to submit your question to be posted on our FAQ please email Paul Quan

How do I get assigned to a game?

The process varies depending on your location. First, you’ll need to decide what kind of games you’re going to do. Once you have made that decision you have to find out who the assignor is, as they are the person who actually puts referees on games. If you don’t know who this person is try contacting someone from the league or ask a referee who does those games. This process works for regular season games and tournaments. Most tournament websites will have contact information for the referee assignor.

If you live in Albuquerque you can check this list for local assignors:

I have to recertify every year?

Yes! United States Soccer Federation requires that all referees complete instructional training, take the test (and fitness test, if applicable) and pay dues on a yearly basis in order to be certified. Usually there are clinics held towards the end of each year that allow you to meet all the recertification requirements in one day. Check with your District Referee Administrator to get more info at

Uniforms… Do I need the new ones? How many colors should I get? Is there a brand that I have to get? What if I don’t have all the fancy equipment?

First of all take a breath and remember that we don’t expect you to invest hundreds of dollars on uniforms in your first week. Many referees have all the colors of jerseys, expensive gear and all the accessories but that isn’t a requirement.

If you have the old style jerseys you do not need to go out and buy the new ones unless you want to. It’s usually a good idea for new referees to get at least two colors: yellow (short-sleeve) and any other (blue, black, red or green). From there, make an effort to wear solid black shoes and shorts with your referee socks (stripes are good to start with). Once you feel like you want to referee on a long-term basis, start investing in higher quality jerseys as well as different colors and sleeve lengths. There is no requirement to buy the expensive brands, but sometimes those shirts do last longer.

No matter what you do with the uniform, make the best of what you have by tucking in your shirt, pulling up your socks and making yourself presentable. That goes a long way towards getting the respect you deserve.

Can I wear jewelry, sunglasses or hats when I do games?

Do we have players take off their jewelry when playing the game? Yes. It’s only fair, then, that referees adhere to the same standards. Obviously you’ll need to have your watch on but leave the other items in your bag. No earrings, necklaces, bracelets or other “bling-bling” on the field, please.

Prescription sunglasses are always permissible but carry the threat of attracting dissent from people regarding your ability to see. Not wearing sunglasses helps avoid the “blind referee” comments and generally is more professional, so please don’t wear them. If you have a medical need to wear sunglasses, then go right ahead.

Hats can be necessary when you’re doing a lot of games in a tournament, have health concerns or are looking into the sun early/late in the day. The only thing we ask is that the hat is in good condition and is solid black.