Refereeing is a great side job or volunteer work for anyone that enjoys soccer. Refereeing can have a lot to do with whatever area you live in but there are a lot of things in common also. In the following sections I will discuss how to become certified as a referee, they benefits of being a soccer referee, and the downsides of being a soccer referee.
The first step to become a soccer referee is to become certified. Having certification is a requirement for most work at a higher level than recreational soccer. On a side note, some recreational soccer leagues require you to be certified anyways. Becoming certified is simple. If the city you live in is big enough and there are soccer leagues, chances are there will be certification at least once a year. If not you may have to travel to a different city to get certification. Becoming certified to referee recreational games or do sideline club games is the first certification. This certification is quite simple to anyone who has played soccer competitively before. However, it is necessary to learn the proper method to make calls. At the end of certification class, there is a test that evaluates your understanding of the rules of the game and proper way to make calls. If you pay attention during class and understand soccer rules, this test shouldn’t be to difficult for you. After receiving certification, it is your job to find an assigner to get you working. They often will give the local recreational league soccer assigner at this first level of certification. If you wish to referee club, high school, or even college level soccer, more certification is needed. This certification requires you to wait and take a bridge course and test. As you become more certified you will have to be assessed before moving up to the next level and the classes will cover more technical procedures and rules.
There are many benefits of becoming a soccer referee. First, most referee jobs pay well. Most rec soccer refs start making between 10 to 20 dollars per game, which on average last less than an hour. Refereeing club games will get you more, high school soccer will get you paid more, and college will get you paid even more. As you get higher certification as a soccer referee the skill level of the games will become increased making them more enjoyable to spectate but more stressful to referee. You also have to be more fit to referee higher level games.
There are a couple downsides of refereeing. The first is start-up cost. If you think you might want to referee but aren’t positive, becoming a soccer referee might not be the best idea. The first certification, uniform, watch, whistle, referee shoes, and gas to get to games costs money. I would estimate the start-up cost would be around 150 dollars unless you can find a used or hand down uniform. Low hours can also be a downside to some people. Although refereeing is a great side job. It doesn’t always have the best hours. Tournaments are the main exception to this. Most rec leagues run two or three days a week and allow you to work three games, totaling about 6-9 games per week. However, if a lot of cities there are multiple rec leagues, which could potentially allow you to work double the games and even referee two or three club games on the weekend. There are also usually 6-8 months that have competitive soccer per year further reducing hours. At the first certification soccer referees will make less than somebody working at a minimum wage job that works 30-40 weeks, however it is fewer hours. The last downside from refereeing is the stress. You occasionally make a bad call when refereeing. This will sometimes cause you to get yelled at. This causes you to be attentive but other jobs when you are dealing with people are just the same.