Becoming a Certified Referee

Here is some information about becoming a CERTIFIED Referee for the Delaware Union Soccer Club.

First of all here is a link to the Delaware Referee Association (DRA) that has the initial referee certification information:  http://www.socrefde.com/clinicsnew.shtml 

The website is a little confusing but here it is in a nut shell;

Part One – Request to Attend a Class

  • First you should fill out the request form to attend a certification class, but the class dates MUST be posted.  Do not register for a class that does not have a date assigned, the registrar will not accept your request.

Part Two – Register with the USSF

  • You will receive an email confirming your acceptance into the class from the Delaware Referee Association; you MUST register with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

  • You MUST view all the videos before attending the certification class, these videos can take as long as 4 to 6 hours to complete.  Make sure you receive an email from EVERY online class stating that each module has been completed.  The progress light at the top of every class will change from RED to GREEN when the module has been completed.  If it remains RED then the USSF doesn’t recognize that you completed the class and neither will the Delaware Referee Association.

Part Three – Certification Class

Attend the certification class; bring a lunch, notebook, and pencils.  It normally starts around 8am; there will be a written test immediately following the lecture portion starting around 3pm.  The class is normally completed around 5pm.  The certification class will also include a 30 or 40 minute information session for parents, this class will usually occur first and all parents are encouraged to attend.

    • SPECIAL NOTE:  If you are 18 or older, every year when you recertify you MUST complete the Risk Management Background Check.  Go to www.dysa.org under ADMINISTRATION and select Risk Management and follow the instructions.

Part Four – On Field Assessment

  • The On Field Assessment will occur on opening day of the Spring or Fall Season depending on when you take the certification class.  This will last the entire morning, come prepared to referee.

  • You will need the entire uniform before stepping out for your On Field Assessment; yellow jersey, soccer shorts, socks, whistle and a watch with a timer or countdown timer.  A bag is always something good to have in order to keep your stuff in.  Go to http://www.officialsports.com/ for your equipment.  The beginning of any season brings a high demand for referee equipment and not just for new referees so don’t delay purchasing your equipment.

  • Footwear; wear appropriate footwear.  Different locations offer different types of field surfaces, very hard, very soft, synthetic turf etc.

  • Bring a small lunch, protein bar, drink or anything that will maintain your strength throughout the morning.

Additional Info That Can Help

There are some great websites that quiz referees on the Laws of the Game and how to apply during dynamic situations.  The test covers specifics; dimensions of the field, ball in or out of play, fouls and misconduct, Assistant Referee flag positions but what gives the refs the most difficulty is reading a situation and asking what is the restart.  For example: “a drop ball occurs just outside the penalty area, the defender kicks the ball directly into his goal, what is the restart --- Kick-off, Corner Kick, Goal Kick, or Drop Ball?   The online training from USSF doesn’t cover situations like these but students are expected to be able to apply what they have learned. 

Referee Grades Explained

  • Grade 1 Referees: Referees who officiate in the World Cup and international matches are designated as Grade 1.

  • Grade 2 Referees: Assistant Referees to Grade 1 Referees are designated as Grade 2.

  • Grade 3 and 4 Referees: In the United States, competition at the national level (including professional soccer and MLS) requires Grade 3 or 4. Grade 3 indicates the referee's readiness to be considered for international service.

  • Grade 5 and 6 Referees: The highest level of competition within a state (amateur leagues beyond youth) requires a Grade 5 or 6 where Grade 5 indicates the referee's readiness to be considered for national service.

  • Grade 7 Referees: Grade 7 is an experienced referee in the state qualified to officiate all but the highest levels of amateur soccer.

  • Grade 8 Referees: Most referees begin their careers as Grade 8 having taken the entry training course.

Websites to get you started

Delaware Soccer Referees Association:  http://www.socrefde.com

United States Soccer Federation:  http://www.ussoccer.com

Delaware Union Referees go to: http://www.delawareunion.com/Default.aspx?tabid=279259

  • All information is located under “About The Delaware Union Way!” – “Referee Central”.

Test your knowledge of the Laws:   http://areferee.com/soccer.php

USSF Grade 9 Referee Course Modules:  http://www.ussoccer.com/Referees/Resource-Center/Online-Training/Grade-9-Referee-Course.aspx

USSF Grade 8 Referee Course Modules:  http://www.ussoccer.com/Referees/Resource-Center/Online-Training/Grade-8-Referee-Course.aspx

Professional Referee Organization – Play of the Week:    http://www.proreferees.com/features-coaching.php 


If you want to referee for The Delaware Union contact Director of Referees.  If you have additional questions specifically about the certifying process contact the State Youth Referee Administrator.

Contact Us

Delaware Union

PO Box 545 
Middletown, Delaware 19709


Email : info@delawareunion.com
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