Referee Volunteers–Fall 2021 Season

Fall 2021–It’s right around the corner–We will need you!!!

The Fall 2021 season games will start the weekend of September 18 and 19!  Start planning ahead to become a volunteer parent referee for your child’s team.

AYSO is built on the concept of volunteering and one of the most important roles that need to be filled is that of the Referee and the Assistant Referees.  Most of you probably have little to no experience with the game of soccer but don’t let that stop you!  It’s easy and fun, plus you end up with the best seat in the house! The vast majority of parent volunteer referees have never played soccer before (and certainly not officiated), but just have the desire to help our young players experience the fun, excitement, and camaraderie of soccer! Learning how to referee is easy.  It’s just about keeping the kids safe, playing fair, and having fun!

For the younger games (5U, 6U, and 7U) all that is needed is a single parent volunteer with a yellow-referee t-shirt and a whistle (which we will provide!) to supervise the games, keep the action moving (help them restart things when the ball goes out of play), and keep them safe and having fun. To get you ready for this we will hold a short 1-hour “Opening Day Parent Volunteer Referee Orientation.”  In the past, these have been held at McKinley Elementary (7U) and Will Rogers Elementary (5U/6U). Stay tuned for announcements; there may be ZOOM sessions planned as well.

Teams in the older age divisions (8U and above) need volunteer parent Referees and Assistant Referees with a bit more “official” training and certification, which we will provide as the season draws near. This training/certification will consist of an online component and an in-person/in-class component which will be held locally (at a location downtown Santa Monica). This training will prepare you for two very important volunteer roles:

  • the Assistant Referee, who takes care of the touchlines (sidelines) using simple flag signals to indicate throw-ins, goal kicks, and corner kicks
  • the Referee, who has a more comprehensive role, using the whistle and hand signals to manage the game, keeping it Safe, Fair, and Fun

Having enough volunteer referees is always a challenge for EVERY team, so please consider helping with this important volunteer role. If you’re really into it you can take the whistle as the Center Referee, or if you’d rather not be running the show (a little less of the spotlight) you can still be a huge help as an Assistant Referee.

If you have any questions about registration, training, or becoming a referee, feel free to reach out to me, Gray O’Brien, Regional Referee Administrator:

1. Register as a Volunteer for MY2021

If you plan on refereeing for Fall 2021, register as a Volunteer on your inLeague account.  Go to:, log in and go to the “Player and Volunteer Registration” tab, complete the “User Accounts and Volunteer Registration” part next to your name for MY2021 AYSO Membership. Once registration is completed and submitted, be on the lookout for an email from our background check people at “Verified/Sterling Volunteers.” This email will need to be responded to.

2.  Training

5U/6U/7U volunteer “referees” only need to attend “Opening Day Parent Referee Orientation.” This will be a one-hour discussion on how to supervise the games/scrimmages, bright and early on the opening day of the season (date to be determined–probably 9/18/21). We might have some Zoom classes, so be on the lookout for details! There will be an opportunity to pick up your yellow referee t-shirt and whistle ahead of time.

8U and above divisions need “certified” referees and assistant referees, which means taking the “Regional Referee” training.  You only have to complete this once and you’ll be a certified referee forever!  There are two ways to go:

  • One option is the “Regional Referee Course” (it’s an in-person, full-day course)
  • The other option is called  “Regional Referee On-Line Companion Course” (it’s usually a half-day event) that also requires completing an on-line “Regional Referee Training” course (which takes about an hour and includes a quiz)

Referee Volunteer “Points Program” (10U-14U teams only)

Teams in the 10U-14U divisions need to earn 15 “volunteer points” in order to advance in the end-of-season playoffs.  (See “Referee Volunteer Points Program” on the website. 5U-8U division teams do not need to “earn points.” )

THE MORE, THE BETTER: The more referee and assistant referees a team can “recruit,” the easier it is to share the workload and earn the required referee points for the 10U-14U divisions. Each team should try and recruit a MINIMUM of three to five volunteer referees (“STRIVE FOR FIVE”) to keep the referee pool growing and ensure there are enough referees to work the games all season long (and share the workload).


A.  If you are NEW to Region 20 AYSO and are interested in volunteering as a referee, there is just a little “pre-season” work to do:

1. Register as a Volunteer referee with Santa Monica AYSO at:

    • Please register EARLY, don’t wait till last minute before the season starts
    • Go to “Player and Volunteer Registration
    • Complete the “User Accounts and Volunteer Registration” for MY2021
    • Once submitted you will receive an email in a couple of days from our background check folks at “Verified Volunteers” so don’t throw this away with the spam/junk mail–you need to respond to this to complete the registration process.

2. Take the online safety courses: “CDC Concussion Awareness Course” and “SafeHaven Course” modules. These can be found at  under Online Courses–>SafeHaven Courses tab

    • ***You access AYSOU courses by logging into  with your inLeague email address and password.

3.  Take the “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Training” course listed under the Online Courses–>SafeHaven Courses tab at AYSOU

4. Take the Regional Referee training that works for you. (There are two paths. See instructions on registering for this below.)


B.  If you are RETURNING to Region 20 AYSO for another great season, and are going to be a volunteer referee, your preseason work includes:

1. Re-registering as a Volunteer with Santa Monica AYSO (we need to register every year we volunteer) at:

    • Please re-register EARLY and beat the last-minute delays when the season sneaks up on us!
    • Go to “Player and Volunteer Registration
    • Complete the “User Accounts and Volunteer Registration” for MY2021
    • Once submitted you will receive an email in a couple of days from our background check folks at “Verified Volunteers” so don’t throw this away with the spam/junk mail–you need to respond to this.

2.  Take the “CDC Concussion” and “Safe Haven” courses (if you haven’t taken them once already) listed under the Online Courses–>SafeHaven Courses tab at AYSOU

3. Take the “Sudden Cardiac Training” course listed under the Online Courses–>SafeHaven Courses tab at AYSOU. You probably haven’t taken this yet

4. If you are not a certified referee yet, take one of the Regional Referee training paths (“Regional Referee Course” or “Regional Referee On-Line Companion Course”)

Signing Up for a Referee Course

Please go to  to sign up for referee classes (first you must have registered as a Volunteer with inLeague–Santa Monica AYSO). You use your inLeague email and password to log in to AYSOU.

  1. Go to and log in using your inLeague email and password
  2. Click “In-Person Courses”
  3. Open “Referee Instructor-Led Courses”
  4. Choose either the “Regional Referee Course” which is a full-day course, or the “Regional Ref OnLine Companion Course” which is a half-day course; this course requires prior completion of the on-line “Regional Referee Training” course before attending the classroom session.
    • The on-line “Regional Referee Training” course modules are accessed through AYSOU under “Online Courses.” The on-line course/modules take about an hour and there is a quiz at the end.
  5. Click the “sessions” button and you will be brought to a list of course offerings.
  6. Pick the course/date/time/location that works for you–if one of the Santa Monica offerings don’t work you, you can take the course anywhere–just remind the instructor where you are from (“Region 20”).

“Referee Refresher Evening”

This is a fun and informative evening for new and returning referees, as well as Coaches, to discuss the Laws of The Game, answer any questions you might have, and discuss subtle changes that may be introduced for the new season!!!

  • Date(s): to be posted soon!

“Intermediate Referee Course” or “Advanced Referee Course”

  • Date(s): August 21/22 in Beverly Hills

5U, 6U and 7U PARENTS–we need your help!!!

“Refereeing” at these age levels is the easiest, most entertaining, and most rewarding job in all of AYSO!!!

Let me preface this by saying it’s not really “refereeing,” but more like supervising a big play-date: kids running around laughing, occasionally falling to the ground, maybe even making contact with the ball and kicking it into the net!

Learning how to “referee” the youngest divisions (5U-7U) only takes one (early) morning of “instruction” on Opening Day. “Opening Day Parent Referee Orientation” takes place usually at 7:30 am and only takes an hour for you to get the hang of helping out the next generation of FIFA World Cup players.  At these levels it basically boils down to blowing the whistle to start and stop the game, mixed in with little friendly reminders on keeping the game safe for the kids, and how to get the play going again when the ball goes out of play (out of bounds).  We are striving for one adult volunteer per family to participate in officiating–so please plan on coming out for the Opening Day Referee Orientation (date to be determined).   You will receive a quick lesson on how to manage the younger games (plus a fashionable new yellow referee t-shirt, hat, and whistle).  It’s so easy and fun, plus you get to be out there on the field with the Kids!

  • 5U/6U Parents–usually meet at Will Rogers Learning Community field, off of 14th (near John Adams Middle School). Parking available in the lot just south of the field.
  • 7U Parents–usually meet at McKinley Elementary School field, off Chelsea Ave. Parking available in the school lot.

12U and 14U PARENTS–Referees need to upgrade !!!

Remember, as your child moves up through the older age divisions, every team they play on will need volunteer referees that hopefully have been “upgrading” along the way (from “Regional Referee” to “Intermediate,” Intermediate to “Advanced,” Advanced to “National”) to understand the nuances of officiating the older players.

That said, these divisions need Assistant Referees too, and just so long as you have taken the basic Regional Referee course, you will be trained and able to be a great volunteer AR with these games! If you are new to SMAYSO and have a child in the 12U or older divisions, it’s still a great time to take your first referee course and be able to contribute to your child’s team as an Assistant Referee!

12U Referees (Center Referee) should have taken and passed the Intermediate Referee Course (“Intermediate Candidate”). 14U Referees (Center Referee) should have taken and passed the Advanced Referee Course (“Advanced Candidate”).

Everybody must start with the “Regional Referee” certification.  However, after getting a little experience as a “Regional Referee” you will then be ready for the “Intermediate” certification needed for 12U, which requires taking the Intermediate course and an Observation on the field.  After that, you will probably be so hooked on refereeing that you dream of getting yourself prepared to do the 14U games with an upgrade to “Advanced” certification by taking the Advanced course. We hope you do!  Please go to the list of upcoming courses listed on the “Upcoming Referee Training Course Schedule” link.


For those of you planning on upgrading to the next certification level, please contact our Regional Director of Assessments, Charles Corbett, at:

If you are planning on upgrading to Intermediate, once you take the course we will first set up an “Informal Observation” with one of our Mentors/Assessors at a 12U game to discuss your strengths and see if there are any areas that need improvement. Then we’ll set up the official “Intermediate Observation.”  The Intermediate Observation is meant to be a positive experience, a learning experience, and the vast majority of candidates successfully make the upgrade to Intermediate certification on their first try!

If you are planning on upgrading to Advanced, once you take the course we will help facilitate the “Advanced Assessments” (one as Assistant Referee, and one as Referee) with one of Area 1/P’s certified Assessors. These Assessors are assigned to you from a different Region by the Area Director of Referee Assessments.

Requirements for Upgrade

For the requirements necessary to upgrade (age requirements, game counts, courses, etc) please refer to the following link: AYSO Referee Certification Requirements


We have a great Mentor Program consisting of very experienced referees from Region 20 that want to offer their time and feedback if you are interested in growing as a referee and getting more comfortable with the nuances of managing the players (and the sidelines). If you are interested please reach out to Charles Corbett, our Regional Director of Mentoring at:   He will pair you with an experienced referee that will come out and watch your game(s) and give you helpful pointers that will make you a better referee!

We will also have experienced referees walking the fields during the opening weeks of the Fall season who will be available to answer questions and provide guidance and support.  Look for these knowledgeable and helpful Referees (in their distinctive red jerseys) and take advantage of their expertise and experience–feel free to ask questions about things you are unsure of (or confused about).

SELF-SCHEDULING your Referee Matches

When the time comes you will need to self-schedule your matches for the 8U-14U divisions. There are a few rules/guidelines you need to follow… For a complete description of self-scheduling rules and guidelines please refer to the following link: Self Scheduling Rules

At 7U/8U and below you can officiate your own child’s matches. “Home” team parents usually get first dibs on refereeing those games.

At 10U and above you CANNOT Referee your own child’s game.  You will need to sign up to officiate (Referee or Assistant Referee) a time slot other than your kid’s game. There are other guidelines which games you can sign up for, so PLEASE refer to the Scheduling Rules and Guidelines below. If you have signed up for the wrong referee slots, your assignment will be unceremoniously deleted.

Scheduling Rules and Guidelines Summary:

  1. If your child is on the HOME team on a given weekend (HOME team is listed first on the schedule), then you may sign up for the game immediately prior to your child’s team game on that same field.
  2. If your child is on the HOME team playing on the first game of the day on a particular field, then you should sign up for the last game of the day.  (I know this hurts, but that’s just the way has to go.)

We ask parent referee volunteers that are allowed to sign up for their appropriate time slot do so by Monday morning at 9AM for that next weekend’s game.  If your child is not on the team that is supposed to be providing those referees (the HOME team), please do not sign up for that upcoming weekend’s game before 9AM Monday.  We want to give the Home team parents the chance to sign up for those slots so they can start “earning points” for their child’s team (more on this later).  BUT…After 9AM Monday,  open slots for the coming weekend’s games may be taken by ANY qualified/certified Referee–again, this is from Monday 9AM onward for that next weekend’s games.

Note: Anyone who signs up for the “wrong” slot (accidents happen, plus it takes a while to figure out “the system”) will be removed from the schedule for that game. Please remember to double-check the referee schedule later in the week to confirm that you are indeed scheduled for that particular game. You may have been “bumped” because the slot belongs to someone else. I apologize in advance for mistakes that may happen early in the season as we fine-tune “the system.”

Self-Scheduling Problems

When the season gets going, some of you may encounter issues with seeing 8U and older games.  If so, please contact us so that we can look into the issue.  There have been many changes at AYSO’s National office with how certifications were handled, so this may be the cause.

Reasons that you may not be able to schedule include:  Not Registered Completely or Registered Incorrectly, Safety prerequisites not met (SafeHaven course, CDC Concussion course, Sudden Cardiac Arrest course), Background Check not completed.

All volunteer referees must be registered (or-re-register) with our inLeague. Go to “Player and Volunteer Registration.”    This needs to be done at the beginning of every year.  A lot of referees may be pending MY2021 registration because it takes a few days to go through the system and as the season draws nearer, the backlog of registrants will grow!  So register/re-register EARLY!!    By week #3 into the Fall season, if you have not completed registration and met safety course requirements, then you may not be able to self-schedule.  Please make sure, therefore, to complete your registration/re-registration at  inLeague under “Player and Volunteer Registration.”    And do this EARLY.

Thank you everyone for all your support in becoming Volunteer Referees. We are looking forward to a great Fall season.

Play On!