U.S. Soccer Referee Grade Restructure:
What You Need to Know

Most of us have heard that our referee grades are being restructured. U.S. Soccer has been working on this restructure with US Youth Soccer and US Adult Soccer so that the grades of referees better serve the youth and adult games. Whether you are a referee, referee assignor or Association board member, you need to understand these changes.

While U.S. Soccer has set down the basic requirements and game levels, the State Associations have been allowed to further define these requirements and game levels to better serve the games in their State. Your State Referee Committee has been meeting, discussing and coming up with the best program options to serve the players, associations and games in North Texas Soccer. We have discussed this restructure with U.S. Soccer and they have approved our plans for implementing the new referee grade structure.

Implementing the restructure requires an understanding of the levels permitted for each referee grade, as well as the timeline for the transition period.

Referee Grade Level Descriptions
Referee Grade 2013-14 Reg. Years 2015 Registration Yr Comments
Grade 12 – Adult AR Lines on Adult Games Grade is eliminated  
Grade 9 – Recreational
Youth Referee-Registered
BEFORE July 1, 2013
Middles to U14 Rec
Lines to U14Comp
IFK Middles only-No AR Min Age 12
Grade 9 – First Registered
AFTER July 1, 2013
IFK Middles – No AR IFK Middles – No AR Min Age 12
Grade 8 – Registered
BEFORE July 1, 2013
Referee/AR any game Referee/AR- up to U16C youth games Min Age 13
Grade 8 – Registered
AFTER July 1, 2013
Referee/AR- up to U16C youth games Referee/AR- up to U16C youth games Min Age 13
Grade 7 – Registered
BEFORE July 1, 2014
Any games Any games – generally U17-19 youth & adult Min Age 17
Grade 7 – Registered
AFTER July 1, 2014
  Any games – generally U17-19 youth & adult Min Age 16. No fitness test or assessments
Grade 6/5 – State 2
and State 1 Referee
Middle/AR on Adult
Division 2/1 games
Grade 6 – Any Amateur
Grade 5 – to PRO level
Grade 5 now National
Referee Candidate

The entry-level courses have changed as well for grades 9, 8 and 7.

The New Grade 9 course only teaches referees to referee the middle in youth Indirect Free Kick games. They are not taught how to run lines. The course is now five-and-a-half hours, instead of the previous 10 hours. The minimum age to attend a grade 9 clinic is 12 years old at the start of the clinic they are attending. This new clinic started July 1, 2013.

The New Grade 8 course only teaches referees the information to referee in the middle or on the line of youth games U16 and under. The course is now eight hours instead of the previous 16-and-a-half hours; however, there is an on-line pre-requisite course that must be completed prior to attending the on-site clinic. The minimum age to attend a grade 8 clinic is 13 years old at the start of the clinic. There are no prior grade requirements to attend this course. This new course will be able to be scheduled starting Dec. 8, 2013.

The New Grade 7 course teaches referees how to referee and manage an adult game. This course will be online, consisting of videos and an exam. To take this course, you must be 16 years old and also a registered grade 8 at the time the course is taken. This course will be available July 1, 2014, for 2015 registration.

There will be a program for those Grade 7 referees that wish to stay at a higher level and/or be considered to be State Referee Candidates. Detail of this program will be finalized prior to July 1, 2014.

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