Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Mentoring Group?

The WPA mentoring program consists of selected referees who have been chosen by the State Referee Committee for advancement. These referees have portrayed excellent officiating traits where they can advance their careers. They receive special training and education. They are committed to the extra work and effort that it takes to officiate at the higher level.

How do I join the Mentoring group?

To join the mentoring group, it must come from a recommendation to/from the SRA and must be approved by the State Referee Committee. Ask your local assignor to put in a good recommendation for you.

What does the Mentoring Group do?

The do activities from on field training, classroom settings, indoor training and video analysis. They learn from each other when it comes to game situations, positioning and other officiating matters. They will also be asked to attend out of state tournaments so they may receive guidance from mentors from US Soccer, the Professional division and national coaches who have been identified by US Soccer.

What is an upgrade?

All referees affiliated with FIFA have a designated referee level. A list of grade levels managed by US Soccer is given here. Each grade has a recommended assignment level. All referees in Western PA begin as grade 8s. Officiating at a competitive level could be a rewarding experience. As the game evolves, assignors are assigning higher-level matches based on the grade of the official. Therefore, referees that want to officiate at a higher level should want to upgrade.

How do I upgrade?

Each grade has its different upgrade requirements. The upgrade requirements set by U.S. Soccer can be found here. However, U.S. Soccer expects State Referee Associations to establish requirements that best support the needs of the local competitions. WPA Referee requirements can be found here.

Why do I need to upgrade?

If you want to referee at the professional level you will need to upgrade. Everyone starts getting experience officiating local youth games. Then they continue to work hard and upgrade to the highest level in their state, a Grade 6 State Referee. A State Referee officiates the most competitive matches within the state and region. They work as many affiliated games and events as possible to build their portfolio and work with U.S. Soccer scouts and assessors and then get selected to be a National Official by U.S. Soccer.

I am a USSF Certified referee. Do I need additional training to officiate a futsal match?

Yes. Futsal is a different version of indoor soccer. The rules are very different from outdoor soccer and USSF requires a different certification.

When are futsal courses?

Most of the courses occur late October early November. Occasionally, a clinic may be offered at different time but most futsal leagues occur during the winter. A link to the current list of available clinics can be found on the Futsal Courses page. Keep in mind that the list is being updated constantly, so keep checking back if you are looking for a particular location.

What are the futsal rules?

The Futsal Laws of the Game are authorized by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and provided by the FIFA. You can find those Laws here

When can I get my badge?

If you already completed and attended a New Referee Course or recertified for this year, you must send self addressed stamped envelope to Peggy Neason (82 Lookout Avenue Monongahela, Pa. 15063) to receive your badge.

Where can I get a law book?

USSF no longer provides Law Books for referees below the State level. If you wish a current law book, either buy one from USSF, or download it from their web site.

Where do I get my referee certification card?


  1. If you need to print your USSF Referee Certification card, please see the instructions on the USSF site on how to do this. You can find those instructions here.
  2. If you don’t already have your USSF ID#, please log into Game Officials first to retrieve it.
  3. Then, please go to U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program National Registration database.
  4. Create a log in selecting EXISTING official since you are now registered with USSF. Then select the “Current & Upcoming Registrations” tab.

How do I attend tournaments?

Please make sure the tournaments are sanctioned before you commit with the assignors. You can find some sanctioned Tournaments in our events page or in the PA West Tournament calendar.

How do I go about going out of state for tournaments?

Please make sure they are sanctioned events and be sure to send the SRA a request to travel and the assignor name for the tournament you wish to attend.

What is referee abuse?

WPA referees are to follow the guidelines listed here to avoid confusion as to what abuse actually is.

What are some signs of abuse?

Rude/Disrespectful gestures
Constant complaining from the bench.
Questioning every decision.
Sarcastic remarks.
Gyrating actions.
Kicking or throwing objects.—SEND THE COACH OFF IMMEDIATELY
Unpleasant comments by the spectators or parents.—NOTIFY THE COACH THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED
Personal attacks on any member of the officiating crew.—TERMINATE GAME IMMEDIATELY

How do I report abuse?

If these circumstances occur, file a report and call the SRA with details.

What do I do if I am assaulted?

  1. Call police immediately
  2. Seek Medical attention at once if needed
  3. Get away from person who assaulted you
  4. Stay calm and collect vital information or have someone from the crew do it for you (Name of assaulter, other witnesses’ names and phone #s that can verify the assault
  6. Call SRA ASAP to report so they can follow up.

What do I do if I’m sexually harassed?

Any type of harassment is not acceptable, follow same procedure as abuse. If it becomes a sexual assault, then call the police and follow same procedure as assault.

What about misbehavior that doesn’t rise to the level of referee abuse?

The PAWEST Youth Board started a new Referee Hotline ( in an effort to provide Referees and players with a safe environment.

How to use the referee hotline?

Please email with a picture of the Game Day Roster (GDR) and report anything that will help to make the environment safer and more enjoyable. Report loud, excessive, or condescending spectators, coaches or players that irritated you. Anything that needs improvement and anything that you think we should be aware of.

What uniform 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, three-striped black socks and black shoes (do not have to be turf or cleated, that’s your decision).

What other items do I need?

You will need a watch with count-down/up timer, whistle and yellow/red card wallet. As you complete matches, you can add to your kit (flags, additional shirts and other accessories).

Where do I get uniforms/kits?

There are a number of local and national vendors, here are two, and

Why do I need background clearances?

The PA Child Protective Services Law changed effective January 1, 2015. Everyone that works or volunteers in positions that are responsible for the welfare of a child or have direct contact with children must provide these clearances.

What clearances do I need?

Individuals who are paid to oversee children/have direct contact with children must provide/complete 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 Certification

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 2019 you will need a FBI Clearance.

How much do the background clearances cost?

1.The PATCH background check costs approximately $22.00 and requires a credit card for processing.
2.The Child Abuse background check costs approximately $8 and requires a credit card for processing.
3.The FBI background check costs approximately $22.60 and requires a credit card for processing.
4.The Safe Sport Certification is completely free.

* Since you are an independent contractor and will be paid you can not use the volunteer application for any of these. You must pay the fee,

How do I obtain my background clearances?

Please click here and follow the steps to obtain your background clearances.

What do the background clearances look like?

They are NOT the receipts that you paid. The State Police Criminal Record and Child Abuse Clearances are generally returned within a few minutes online so save a copy of them in your computer and print a copy ready to be mailed. The FBI background check is generally returned within 4 to 10 weeks after your fingerprints have been taken.

Click here to view some examples of what is acceptable.

How long do these clearances usually take to return?

The State Police Criminal Record and Child Abuse Clearances are generally returned within a few minutes online. The FBI background check is generally returned within 4 to 10 weeks after your fingerprints have been taken.

Who do I send my background clearances to?

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.

Do I have to obtain these clearances every year?

No you do not. Clearances are good for five years; unless you are turning 18 this year which means your affidavit will expire when you turn 18. Therefore, you will need to obtain your FBI fingerprint clearance.

I am still in secondary school; do I need a Work Permit?

Yes. If you are 14-17 and still in secondary/high school, you will need to get a Work Permit. Work permits ask for an employer, which is your local club. You will get this at your school guidance office and it will be on blue paper and say WORK PERMIT. Mail a copy (not the original) to WPA SRC New Referee c/o Peggy Neason, 82 Lookout Ave, Monongahela, PA 15063.

I will be turning 18 this year. Do I need to obtain FBI clearance this year?

Yes you do. Please follow the instructions here to obtain your FBI clearance.

I am 17 this year, but will not turn 18 until the fall (when soccer is done). Do I still need to get the FBI fingerprint clearance this year?

Yes, you must get the FBI fingerprint clearance in the year that you turn 18. You will not be registered, or receive a badge until you send a copy to the SRA, Peggy Neason.

When can I re-certify for next year?

This fall, you will receive information via email informing you to log into the Game Officials 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.

How do I become a referee?

The answer is simple, you need to obtain your background clearances, attend and successfully complete a referee training course. Please read this page for more detailed instructions of what you must do.

How much does it cost to become a referee?

You need to complete the entry level program which costs approximately $100. You will also need to pay for background clearances (~$44) uniform kit (costs vary) as well as a whistle, cards and flags.

When are the courses for new referees?

Most of the clinics occur late January through early March. Occasionally, a clinic may be offered in July or August, but not every year. A link to the current list of available clinics can be found on the New Referee Courses page. Keep in mind that the list is being updated constantly, so keep checking back if you are looking for a particular location

How long does my certification last?

Every referee is certified for one calendar year. Your current referee certification will expire on December 31st of the current calendar year. You must re-certify every year to continue to work as a referee.

What is expected of a referee?

  1. Commitment
  2. Ethics
  3. Honesty
  4. Physical and mental fit to officiate game
  5. Knowledge of the rules of competition and their application to the game
  6. Accepts game according to their ability
  7. Has no conflict with the game he/she is officiating
  8. Has no EGO problem
  9. Files all reports in a timely manner
  10. Wears the approved uniform for the game
  11. Respect’s the players, coaches and administration
  12. Does not criticize another referee
  13. Seeks way to improve by attending clinic, workshops etc

How much do referees get paid and when do they get paid?

Some games might pay cash at the field. Others will send you a check within 2-4 weeks. The fee depends on the age group, the league and the club that you are working for but it could be up to $80 per match if you are the center referee at the most competitive level within Western Pennsylvania.

What programs are offered to referees?

Assignors can request an assessor to come to their club. They can also ask for clinics for their referees (Cost would be $120) for 3 hours. Contact SRA

How do I move my registration to Western PA?

Have your SRA send an email/letter to the Western PA SRA stating that you are a referee in good standing. The Western PA registrar will then move your registration.

How do I look up my USSF ID Number?

You can get your USSF ID Number by doing the following:
1) Click on ‘My Info’ on your Game Officials homepage.
2) Click on ‘Contact Info’. Your ID number will be shown near the bottom of this area.
If you just took an New Referee course to get certified as a referee, it may take several months for the national office to assign you a USSF ID and appear. You are still eligible to referee without an assigned ID number; it should not be a requirement to receive assignments as assignors should still be able to verify your certification.

How do I work for other assignors?

Check on assignors and contact them for more games,

How do I become an assignor?

Just like a referee, you first must have your background clearances. Then, you must complete an assignor course.

I am a certified assignor. How do I get my list of certified referees?

  1. You must have your club president send verification to the SAC, Maria Swanson, and SRA, Peggy Neason, that you are the assignor for the club.
  2. Once you have been verified you may request a list of referees in your club by sending John Papinchak an email and he will send it to you.

Why do assignors need to get background checks and pay for them?

Assignors are considered independent-contractors, just like referees, and are supposed to be paid. Therefore, background clearances are required to be done even if you choose not to get paid.

How do I get assigned matches?

You must contact your local assignor.

Choosing an assignor for yourself or a club

  1. Make sure the assignor has ethics and is professional
  2. Make sure the assignor is aware of the rules for the club/leagues they assign
  3. Make sure assignor will not assign you or referee to you clubs games that are not certified, which could lead to law suit or void insurance coverage
  4. Make sure the assignor is going to help in the retention, recruitment and development of yourself and for you club
  5. Reminder-nobody owes any referee they are independent contractor
  6. Assignor can request assessor to come to club and assess referees or request a referee clinic

What can I expect from my assignor?

  1. Is professional and has ethics
  2. Will assign according to ability not just put a body on a game
  3. Will respect your comfort level
  4. Will provide the following information about the game I am assigned to;
    1. A. Date –Time-Location of game
    2. B. Names and #phone numbers of the persons I am working with
    3. C. Name and phone# of the contact person in charge of the game
    4. D. Name and phone# of person in charge of safety at game
    5. E. Age group/division and gender of game
    6. F.Type of game: ERL, Classic, Adult, Sunday League, Etc
    7. G. Assure game is a sanctioned game so that you are covered by insurance
    8. F. Payment for game and how you will receive it
    9. H. Position you have been assigned to—Center/Assistant Referee or 4th official
    10. I. Rules of competition or where to find them
  5. Your assignor is not a mind reader so be sure to communicate with them.
  6. Is looking after you best interest and will advise you on advancing

IF the assignor does not supply you with this information find another assignor.

How do I find out who my local assignor is?

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

What is an assessment?

An assessment is a coaching opportunity for a referee. Assessments are designed to help referees improve by giving them practical constructive criticism and positive encouragement.

When is an assessment required?

Whenever a referee is upgrading to Grade 7 as requested by the Adult Amateur League.
Whenever a referee is upgrading to Grade 6 or higher (upgrade assessment).
Every year for Grade 6 and above (maintenance assessment).
National candidates require several assessments conducted by national referee coaches.

How do I get an assessment?

First you need a match. It must be competitive and consist of at least two 40 minute halves. Once you have your match, please contact the State Director of Assessment. Let him know the match details such as date, time, location, league, division, teams, and your crew members.

What is the cost of an assessment?

You only have to pay the cost for the assessor which is the game fee plus mileage ($0.54/mile).

How can I get assigned higher level games to improve as a referee?

You need to work with different assignors and mentors who can nominate you to the next level mentor/assignor and attend tournaments that those people attend. You should also attend events such as the Open as it a high volume place where we get to put eyes on a lot of people all at once.

How do I become an assessor?

In order to become an assessor, the following must take place:

You must be (or have been) a Grade 7 or higher.
You must be recommended by, and or approved by the State Director of Assessment (SDA).
You must register for, complete, and pass the Associate Assessor course.
You must pay the current registration fee for an assessor.

How do I get an assessor for a match?

Please contact the State Director of Assessment. Let him know the match details such as date, time, location, league, division, teams, and your crew members.

What can I expect from my assessor?

  1. Immediate feedback after game is completed.
  2. Written feedback within 7 days of assessment.
  3. Fair and honest assessment.
  4. Will tell you immediately after game if you passed or failed your assessment and why.


When I try to register as a new user, I cannot upload my clearances into Game Officials – the site shows me Red letters asking for information

You do not upload your clearances. Just ignore the blocks for clearances. You do need to complete the radial buttons for “Adult soccer” and Futsal” just below the clearances. If you do not choose them, you will not be able to register.

The name showing on the class list is wrong (It is my mother’s; It is my father’s; It is my wife’s). How do I fix it?

Login to Game Officials. In the “User Block” you will see “Display First”. Change this name. This is what Game Officials displays.

How do I get to the on-line training session for the New Referee course?

Login to Game Officials
Go to “Confirm Reg”
Double click on the course number XXXXX (it is five numbers)
Click on “Load Session Tracker” it is in blue letters

I cannot choose a recertification class they all seem full. What do I do?

Go to the bottom of the list of possible re-certification courses and choose one that does not have a little “lock” beside the course number. It will also show some open spots.

The new referee course that I want to attend is full and I need a “code” to register, what should I do?

If the class date is less than 1 week away, the class has likely been closed to enable the students to complete the on-line work. There may be a few open spots. You can send an email to the SDI to see if any spots are available. The SDI will check availability and make sure that you have time to complete the on-line work before facilitating your registration (if space allows). If the course is more than 1 week away, the course is full (the number of students is set by the host and not Western PA Refs), choose a different course.

How do I check my test to see what questions I missed?

If you are having trouble passing the test, please try the following:

1. Login and go to: “Confirmed Registrations”

2. Click on your course number “xxxxx”

3. Click on ‘Load Session Tracker”

4. Click on “Session X – Grade 8 Test Online” – the name may be slightly different depending on the year

5. Click on “Review” Attempt X – NOT Start New Session

6. Click on the Number “YY” – it will show the questions you missed. You can then go back and look at those slides.

I failed the entry-level test or recert test how do I retake it?

If you fail the test, you will need to take the test over.

1. Click on “Session X – Grade 8 Test Online”

2. Click on “Start New Session”

How many attempts at retaking the test do I have?

You have 10 chances to pass the test. If you fail 10 times, you lose your fees and must take the Grade 8 course on-line again (paying a new registration fee). If you fail the test, please refer to the question on reviewing questions that you have missed.

There are 2 from same email address signing up and it will only let me register one

Do not use your email for the 2nd registration ID. You can have multiple accounts with the same email; however, only 1 person can use the email address as their ID.

Pay by credit card

If you selected to pay by credit card, when your bill comes, depending on the bank, It will say either: BNZ Western PA or Western PA Ref with the amount charged.

Pay by check

When paying by Check, make check payable to SRC and mail to 82 Lookout Avenue, Monongahela, Pa. 15063

I selected to pay by check, can I change my mind and pay by credit card?

No, once you have selected to pay by check, you must mail the check to the SRA, Peggy Neason. Make check payable to SRC and mail to 82 Lookout Avenue, Monongahela, Pa. 15063