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Referee Pathway

U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program Pathway




The pathway to becoming a FIFA referee begins at the Grassroots level, gaining experience and knowledge, recertifying, and eventually upgrading your certification level. Click the different levels below to read the requirements and eligibility for each level of the referee pathway.



A referee's journey begins at the Grassroots level. U.S. Soccer Grassroots Referees are qualified to officiate competitive, small-sided or recreational youth matches and amateur adult matches. 

The U.S. Soccer Grassroots License has both an online and in person component. Grassroots Referees will register for courses through the U.S. Soccer Learning Center.



U.S. Soccer Regional Referees are qualified to officiate competitive state competitions, regional events, and professional leagues including NPSL and USL League Two. 

The online coursework is done through U.S. Soccer Learning Center. Assessments and Fitness tests are also required to be a Regional Referee.


National Referee and National Assistant Referee

U.S. Soccer National Referees and Assistant Referees are qualified to officiate national and professional matches in any league except MLS. This includes the USL Championship and NWSL.

National Referees and Assistant Referees are selected and certified directly by U.S. Soccer.


Professional Referee and Professional Assistant Referee (P. R.O.)

Professional Referees and Assistant Referees are qualified to officiate matches in any domestic competitions, including MLS, as well as certain international matches. 

P.R.O. is an independent company, supported by U.S. Soccer, that administers professional referee programs in North America. Candidates are selected by P.R.O. based on performance at the National Referee and Assistant Referee level.


FIFA Referee and FIFA Assistant Referee 

FIFA Referees and Assistant Referees are qualified to officiate international matches at the highest level, including FIFA World Cup competitions. 

This elite group of referees and assistant referees is recommended by the National Referee Committee, nominated by U.S. Soccer's Board of Directors and approved by FIFA.