Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32375

Other 4/15/2018

RE: Underage Under 12

Kaylee Corzo of Chandler, AZ US asks...

Hello, my name is Kaylee. I am 11 1/2 years old and I've been playing soccer for 7 years now. The other day I ran into my old gymnastics friend, Ella. We are the same age and she told me she was reffing the younger kids. That sounded like a fun thing to do on the weekends so I thought I'd ask you. I love soccer and I think that reffing at Legacy could help me learn more about soccer. I look forward to hearing back from you!

Kaylee Corzo

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kaylee
Thanks for contacting the site. Always great to see young people interested in refereeing
We are a group of referees that assist in answering question, providing advice for all those involved in the game be it referees, coaches, players, spectators, parents etc.
To begin refereeing one needs to contact the referee state administrators, in your case Arizona. This is a website address that I found
There is an online part and also field training to referee training. Field Training sessions are generally scheduled immediately prior to the start of the season and sessions take place at various locations around the state.
On successful completion of both the online and field training a Grade 9 cert is awarded which allows that recipient to ref underage recreational games involving younger players. Those are fun games with no competition. As the referee gets older there s a progression pathway depending on age and progress.
My advice is to go to your local club Legacy where you played and see what advice your club has. The club might be interested in allowing small sided training fun games to be officiated on a test basis to see whether you like it or not. While it might appeal it is only through trying out that one really knows. Ultimately after the course getting to referee will depend on the local clubs anyway at Grade 9.
My experience is that we have many competing referee courses, paying the dues yet very quickly figure out that they do not like it in the ways they thought they would and quickly drop out. Some I feel start too young and cannot deal with some of the more onerous parts of refereeing.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Kaylee,
I agree it will not hurt your skill set to learn the LOTG. I am happy to hear you enjoy playing. I think it is very cool of you to want to help the wee ones in their developmental stages by officiating their matches. I think you need to explore that process within the league or association that control the soccer scene in your area. I do not know if the have age restrictions but I DO HOPE they have a ZERO tolerance policy for abuse! My greatest worry for your safety & enjoyment is not that you will not enjoy being with kids it is the goofy parents who like to yell and scream from the touchlines can take the fun out of good game of soccer. There are training stages and programs in the US for beginning referees. I suggest you find good mentor you respect to help you along. Study and pass the training & tests get yourself assessed at various stages of your career and find a good strong association of your peers to provide support in your endeavours. There is no minimum age requirement for referees and assistant referees. State associations may set the minimum ages for games played under their jurisdiction. A rule of thumb is that the referee should be at least one year older than the players he or she referees, but it is not a requirement and you will not find it in any rule book that we are aware of.

I gave you three links .
I understand you can begin the process online so good luck and happy whistling!


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kaylee,
I think it's admirable that you are thinking of getting involved in refereeing. For me, I have always found it to be a rewarding pursuit and you will indeed learn more about the game if you become a referee. 11 1/2 years old does strike me as possibly a little young to be starting but if, as you say, you have a friend of the same age doing it and enjoying it, then why not give it a try.

At least to start with, I would recommend only refereeing games involving players younger than you. My daughter started refereeing when she was 14, by refereeing in a U12 league and said she felt more comfortable that way. She only started refereeing games for players of her same age or older after she already had a couple of years' experience under her belt and had gained enough experience and confidence to feel OK with taking on potentially more challenging games.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32375
Read other Q & A regarding Other

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.