Become a referee

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

You must be 14 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 14 or older.

Steps to becoming a soccer referee

  1. 1.Create a Game Officials account and profile
  2. 2.Register for a Grassroots course
  3. 3.Proceed through Modules
    1. You will be prompted to outside link to USSF Digital Learning Center (DLC) where you will be asked to create an account. This is where theory and updated Laws of the Game will be presented
    2. The online course modules and exam will take you approximately 4-6 total hours which can be completed over multiple sessions.
    3. Your progress will be saved as you take the course, and you can leave and return to this online course at any time.
    4. Make sure you exit and logout of the DLC when taking breaks or your progress may not be saved!
  4. 4.Complete and save USSF DLC work. Email completed license to Paul Caracciolo, sdi@wparef.com
  5. 5.Log back into and continue through Game Officials modules for Grassroots test, Pa West specific information and rules.
  6. 6.AFTER completing ALL online modules and test ~ Register on Game Officials for Grassroots In-Person Field Session
    1. Find and register for an available in-person, field training session on a date and at a location though out PA West that fits your schedule.
    2. ALL online material and test must be completed BEFORE being allowed to register.
  7. 7.Obtain Background Checks/Work Permit/Safe-Sport
    1. Not needed to start training. Necessary to receive badge and assignments.
  8. 8.Buy uniform, shorts, socks, whistle, cards, flags, watch
  9. 9.Contact an assignor
  10. 10.Blow the whistle!

How to Register for Game Officials

Go to: https://wparefs.gameofficials.net/public/ussf/newUserConfirm.cfm?module=new
  1. Create account
  2. Register for a course,
    1. Go to the Main Menu
    2. Select “Courses”
    3. On the next screen, select “Referee Courses”
    4. Register for 2022 Grassroots entry level
    5. You will see a series of courses offered. Do not choose a course with a little lock symbol beside the course number. The little lock means the course is full.
    6. You will be asked to enter information, if you did not complete your personal information when you first logged in.
    7. Please put the club you want to ref for under “Home Association” (this is often the club for which you play).

Please complete all of the information and remember to double check all of your contact information (address, phone numbers and email address(s)) and to designate a Home Association. Make sure the email address is on you check regularly as important registration and assignment information will be sent to this address.

How to review wrong answers during test. The exam does give the user an opportunity to review missed questions.

  1. Login and go to: “Confirmed Registrations”
  2. Double Click on your course number “XXXXX”
  3. Click on “Load Session Tracker” – it is normally in blue letters
  4. Click on “XX”
  5. Click on “Review” Attempt X – NOT Start New Session
  6. Click on the Number “xx” in top bar– it will show the questions you missed.

How to Register for an In-Person Field Session

Online coursework must be completed first. In-Person training focuses on referee mechanics, communication tactics, positioning, game scenarios, and much more. The session will last 3-4 hours.

  1. 1.Log into your account at https://wparefs.gameofficials.net.
  2. 2.Find and register for an in-person field training session on a date and location that you can attend.
  3. 3.This program costs approximately $65 and PAYMENT will be required before attending in-person training.

    NO PAYMENT will be accepted at the time of in-person training.

How to get your badge and license

Mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to Peggy Neason, the State Referee Administrator (SRA). She will send you back a badge after all other requirements, including background checks (see below), are completed. Licenses are available online. Log into your USSF profile at https://learning.ussoccer.com/

Peggy Neason
82 Lookout Ave
Monongahela, PA 15063

As a licensed U.S. Soccer Grassroots Referee you are certified to officiate USSF-affiliated, grassroots games (youth and adult competitions) in small-sided 7 v 7, 9 v 9 and/or 11 v 11 venues. Your contact information will be shared with the referee assignor for your Home Association club, though we encourage you to contact assignors directly to get scheduled for matches.

Information about Required PA Background Checks

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

  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 https://epatch.state.pa.us/.
  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 and print a copy to be mailed.

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 https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home.
  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 and print a copy to be mailed.
    2. If you receive your clearance via the mail, make a copy to be mailed. Keep your original.

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
    https://uenroll.identogo.com/
  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.
  7. When you receive your clearance via the mail, make a copy to be mailed. Keep your original.

Your background certifications under Act 153 are valid for sixty (60) months or five (5) years. Once you have all three clearances (or the two clearances and your notarized minor affidavit), mail those copies to: WPA SRC New Referee c/o Peggy Neason, 82 Lookout Ave, Monongahela, PA 15063. We cannot accept emails of clearance documents.

4. Safe-Sport Training

USSF has required that everyone 18 and older to gets Safe-Sport training.  Once your have completed this training , send copy of certificate to Peggy Neason.

Please navigate to the following web address to complete your Safe Sport Training. The access code can be used to access the training at zero cost. Please be sure to add ‘U.S. Soccer’ to your membership profile upon registration of an account:
http://safesport.org/authentication/register?token=ee57337f-31f9-421d-b095-82fc8c8c4c41
Access Code: YC3E-6P5G-YYIL-CS2M

Refresher courses are due yearly at no charge.

Once you have all three clearances (or the two clearances and your notarized minor affidavit), and your Safe-Sport Certificate mail copies to:

WPA SRC New Referee
Peggy Neason
82 Lookout Ave
Monongahela, PA 15063

We cannot accept emails of clearance documents.

Work Permits

If you are 14-17 and still in secondary/high school, you MUST OBTAIN a Work Permit. You will get this at your school guidance office and mail a copy to:

WPA SRC New Referee
Peggy Neason
82 Lookout Ave
Monongahela, PA 15063

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.).

Can I get a Course Refund?

All clinics and courses conducted by the PAWest Referee Committee that require payment are subject to the following:

  1. All fees must be paid in full before attendance.
  2. By confirming your seat at a re-certification or entry level class you are agreeing to the following cancellation and refund policy:
10 days prior Course fee minus $15 administration charge
Less than 10 days prior No Refund
Failure to attend No Refund
  1. Stated date of course determines refund days.
  2. All written cancellation requests must be sent to the State Director of Instruction (SDI) at sdi@wparef.com
  3. Transferring to another course: Subject to availability, you may transfer to another course any time before the course start date. To request a transfer, email the SDI.
  4. In the event the course is cancelled, a full refund will be given.
  5. Refunds will be issued when all courses are completed.

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 Game Officials site 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 info@wparef.com. We are here to help you. And, as always, check out the rest of our website for articles and other information.