A Word About Referee Grades

Referee Grades are perhaps the least understood concept by anyone new to soccer officiating. Your referee grade has absolutely NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with your grade in the American school system! It is merely a reflection of what games you will be allowed to be an official on.

In very simple terms, referee grades range from 1 to 17 with the lower numbers typically being reserved only for the very highest level referees. For example, a FIFA referee doing a world cup match will likely be a Grade 1 referee whereas a person who is only allowed to be an official on a very young youth recreational match will be a Grade 9. Grades with numbers higher than 9 are generally restricted grades for referees that have retired from the highest levels of the game. They are called Emeritus Referees and have grades ranging from 13-17.

When you graduate from your entry level class, you will typically be given a Grade 8 or "Referee" badge. This means that you will be assigned to officiate matches up to Under 16 in any competitive league. Then, through experience, additional training and assessment; you can progress up the "Grade Ladder" to a 7, 6 and beyond.

A Grade 9 referee who graduates from an 8 hour Grade 9 class offered by a recreational league can still upgrade to a Grade 8 Referee but they must take the full 16 hour Entry Level class in order to earn the badge. Western New York does not sponsor any Grade 9 classes unless the class is requested by a particular league or club. Classes directly sponsored by WNYSRA are ONLY the 16 hour grade 8 referee class.

A GRADE 8 REFEREE CAN: Center or AR any USSF affiliated match based on age and experience. Recommended assignment level: All youth matches.

A GRADE 9 RECREATIONAL YOUTH REFEREE CAN: Center or AR any USSF affiliated recreational or non-competitive match or small sided game up to the Under 14 level or be the Assistant Referee on any match up to the Under 14 level. NOTE: In Western New York, ALL matches at the U10 and below level are considered "recreational."