Become a referee

THANK YOU for your interest in becoming a Soccer Referee in Western PA!

You must be 13 years of age or older, on or before you register to complete the modules.

This requirement exists due to the Commonwealth of PA’s Child Labor Laws. We are sorry, but it is not negotiable or subject to exceptions. Our system will not let you register if you are not 13 or older.

We are in the process of a grievance filed with US Soccer against PA West Soccer as they have interfered with the Referee Program. Therefore, all courses and registrations are closed until we await for a resolution. Please check back here soon. In the meantime, you can begin to obtain your clearances. Once you have your clearances, please hold on to them. You will be able to upload them to a new platform.

Information about Required PA Background Checks

All referees, assignors, assessors, and instructors must provide the following four items:

Be sure to select EMPLOYMENT when completing the forms (not volunteer).

  1. 1.PA State Police Criminal Record Check (PATCH)
  2. 2.PA Child Abuse History Clearance
  3. 3.FBI Criminal Background Check
  4. 4.Safe Sport Training

Please Note: The law provides that the FBI Criminal Background Check may be replaced for minor children (referees who are and will be 14-17 years old for the year) by a signed (by parent or guardian) and notarized affidavit attesting that the child has not committed any of the disqualifying crimes. If you are turning 18 years of age in 2021 you will need a FBI Clearance.

1. PA State Police Criminal Record Check (PATCH)

  1. This background check may be completed online at
  2. The PATCH background check costs approximately $22 and requires a credit card for processing.
  3. Select “Submit a New Record Check” and accept the Terms and Conditions
  4. Select Reason for a Request as “Employment” and complete the steps in the process.
  5. The results for this check are generally returned immediately upon application through the internet. Save a copy of this clearance on your computer.

2. PA Child Abuse History Clearance through the PA Department of Human Services

  1. The Child Abuse background check costs approximately $8 and requires a credit card for processing.
  2. This background check may be completed online at
  3. If you do not have an individual account, Select “Create Individual Account” then “Next” and create a Keystone ID to create your profile.
  4. The results for this check are generally returned within a few minutes or a few days.
    1. If you receive it online, save a copy of this clearance on your computer.

3. FBI Criminal Background Check

  1. If you are 14-17 years old and not turning 18 in or , you should instead have your parent or guardian complete and then get notarized the Minor Child Qualification Affidavit.
    1. This affidavit must be notarized and attests that you have not committed any of the disqualifying crimes per Act 153.
    2. If you are 18 or older or will turn 18 in or , you must obtain a FBI Criminal History Report.
    3. Once you reach 18 years of age, you will need to get the FBI Criminal History Report.
  2. The FBI background check costs approximately $22.60 and requires a credit card for processing.
  3. This background check may be begun online at
  4. This link will take you to the page managed by IdentoGO for the state of PA to help individuals attain an FBI clearance.
    1. The Department of Human Services link is your preferable option if you just referee Saturday/Sunday community club/classic games. SERVICE CODE 1KG756
    2. If you referee high school/PIAA as well, please use the Department of Education version (you may need to affiliate with a school). Otherwise, the PIAA will not accept it. You will need SERVICE CODE 1KG6XN
  5. This background check will require you to go to a fingerprinting location in PA. Locate a fingerprint location from the web site, and take the confirmation page with you. The fingerprint scan will generally take 10-15 minutes.
  6. The results of this check are generally returned within 4 to 10 weeks after your fingerprints have been taken.

Your background certifications under Act 153 are valid for sixty (60) months or five (5) years.

4. Safe-Sport Training

USSF has required that everyone 18 and older to gets Safe-Sport training. This will be part of the online training once you register for a recertification clinic or sign up for an entry level clinic. Referees should conplete their SafesSport training through logging into their personal referee account in their learning center.

Refresher courses are due yearly at no charge.

What uniform/kit do I need?

All Western PA referees are expected to act and to look professional. You will need to obtain a referee uniform and should begin with a yellow USSF shirt, all-black shorts with pockets (NOT player shorts), two-striped black socks and black shoes (do not have to be turf or cleated, that’s your decision). You will need a watch with count-down/up timer, whistle and yellow/red card (the card “wallet” is not required).

Do not buy a track-style stopwatch. Do not use a neck lanyard for your whistle – use a wrist or finger lanyard. The Mini Fox40 is a very good whistle, is widely available, and is inexpensive.

As you complete matches, you can add to your kit (flags, additional shirts and other accessories). There are a number of local and national vendors, here are three:

  1. Official Sports (Official supplier for USSF)
  2. Sator Soccer
  3. Referee Store
  4. Epic Sports

We suggest talking with your local club and assignor for additional advice on getting started.

How do I find out who my local assignors are?

You can visit this page to find assignors for various soccer clubs and leagues. Contact them directly in order to be assigned to matches.

Our Web Site

You should bookmark this page and watch it frequently for updates from the State Referee Committee on topics, events and more information!

In addition, this is the site where you will enter your Game Reports for injuries, cautions and send-offs (i.e. yellow and red cards) or other match-related incidents (referee abuse, weather situations, etc.).

What about next year?

Referees must take a recertification exam every year. This fall, you will receive information via email informing you to log into the platform in order to complete your referee recertification. Recertification is an annual process by which you will register for the upcoming year, pay a recertification fee (usually around $50), and complete a recertification test (online) in order to receive your USSF badge and book for the next calendar year.

If I have other questions, who can I ask?

You can always email the State Referee Committee at We are here to help you. And, as always, check out the rest of our website for articles and other information.