Becoming a Referee: Referee Certification

We often have parents and/or players asking us about where they can take referee certification classes. Certification courses are held throughout the year in various locations in middle Tennessee. The easiest way to find out where classes are being held is to go to the Soccer Officials of Tennessee web page at and click the "Approved Classes" link at the top of the page. There you may view the classes being offered by month, as well as where and when the courses will take place.

You'll see that there are classes for different grades of referees. For someone getting certified for the first time, the choice is really between a Grade 8 (black patch) and Grade 9 (blue patch) certification. Both Grades are considered "Entry Level" certification. A Grade 9 certification allows a person to referee recreational youth games for ages 14 and younger as well as assistant referee on any game U-14 or below. Grade 8 certification allows a person to referee all recreational and competitive youth games. Unlike a Grade 9 certification, a Grade 8 referee may referee any youth game (regardless of age), but NYSA will not schedule a referee to officiate a game where the players are the same age or older than the referee. (For example, a 14-year old Grade 8 referee would not be scheduled as a center referee for a U-14 game.) Please note: NYSA requires that a referee be 13 years old or older.

Once you take the class, pass the test, and receive your patch, you may contact us at and we can add you to our list of referees.