Becoming a Referee

Keeping The Game Safe, Fair And Fun
Why should you become an AYSO Referee?  We need you.  We can't have games without referees. More importantly, it's rewarding and working with kids is great fun!

The referee's job is to be the official in charge of the game. The ref is the independent arbiter and manager of the game.   Their authority extends to everyone at the field, including players, substitutes, team officials, spectators, and even assistant referees.


The referee's No. 1 one concern is to keep the game as safe as possible for the players. While there is risk in all sports, the referee is responsible for minimizing such risks from field conditions, equipment, spectators, and the players.

The referee is responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Game in such a way as to keep the game safe, fair and fun for everyone: the players, the coaches, the spectators and themselves. The referee interferes with the game as little as possible, avoiding making calls for doubtful and trifling offenses. Referees only make calls for offenses they are sure occurred.

We want our kids to continue to play, and they keep playing as long as it is fun. Referees learn that fun soccer varies from age group to age group of players.

Being a Referee
Referees are as critical to soccer as players and coaches. In AYSO, the game can’t be played if there aren’t enough referees and we have been pretty close on occasion to this occurring. It’s most common for a volunteer to begin their AYSO referee career by refereeing their own child’s game. However, as they learn the rules, develop their own techniques for managing players, coaches and spectators, and gain an appreciation for how important the role of the referee is to a fun, fair and safe soccer experience, they often find it very rewarding to expand their knowledge and experience through AYSO’s advanced training and certification process.

AYSO’s referee training is considered some of the best in the U.S. and includes both in-person courses in your community and online opportunities. Soccer knowledge is a plus, but is certainly not required. The AYSO referee training will give you all you need to know to have a great experience on the field.  Becoming an AYSO referee allows a person to officiate any AYSO game, including those that take place outside of Lewisburg.

The Lewisburg AYSO volunteer position of referee is intended to manage soccer matches played between teams of youth players in the age groups from U-8 to U-15 according to the AYSO National Rules and Regulations, the FIFA Laws of the Game and the training curriculum as specified in the AYSO National Referee Program. We start all referees at 8U to get their confidence up and many stay at 8U, where the majority of our games are scheduled.

Your training and course will provide you with the tools you need to officiate. The referee is expected to cooperate with coaches and other officials to develop a positive self- image in the players and to provide a good role model for all AYSO participants.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities
The referee is expected to:

  • Support the AYSO National Referee Program in both specifics and spirit
  • Attend specific referee training courses to develop refereeing skills
  • Attend referee refresher courses (continuing education training) as necessary to maintain AYSO rules, the FIFA Law knowledge, and to become familiar with changes
  • Officiate matches to which he/she is assigned according to the AYSO rules, the FIFA Laws and prevailing guidelines
  • Support the AYSO philosophies
  • Support the regional commissioner and staff
  • Cooperate with the regional referee administrator and referee staff on issues pertaining to refereeing
  • Present a healthy environment and model by refraining from consuming alcoholic beverages or using tobacco products in the immediate vicinity of the soccer fields
  • Carry out any other refereeing tasks as necessary

      Qualifications and Desired Skills
      To be considered for the position of referee, the applicant must:

      • Successfully pass a screening, including AYSO, Safe Haven, PA child clearance background checks
      • Annually submit a Volunteer Application Form and be approved as a volunteer in an AYSO region
      • Complete AYSO referee certification
      • Complete AYSO Safe Haven Referee Certification
      • Be reliable
      • Have an interest in helping children
      • Have good character
      • Be interested in promoting the benefits of youth sports, especially soccer
      • Be physically capable.

      Youth Referees
      AYSO rules require a Youth Referee must be at least two years older than the division they are working as a referee. We pay $10 per game in the form of a gift card which is distributed at the end of the 8-week season.

      The referee program has multiple benefits:

      • It inspires younger players, giving them role models to look up to
      • Young people participating in the Youth Referee program get a chance to do community service and a unique opportunity for intellectual and emotional growth.

      Although we expect the best behavior from everyone toward all referees, it is strictly forbidden to criticize a youth referee, even if you are a referee.  There is ZERO TOLERANCE FOR NEGATIVE COMMENTS TO OR ABOUT YOUTH REFEREES at any time before, during, or after games.

      Anyone who does so will be asked to leave the field.

      Our youth referees are well-trained, and many are also experienced players; however, they are still youngsters without the life experience to handle negative remarks.  Please give each your full support and help model good behavior for others to follow.

      Contact the Lewisburg AYSO Regional Referee Coordinator (John Dunton) if you are ready to become a referee!

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