Referee Volunteers–Fall 2022 Season

Fall 2022–It’s right around the corner–We will need you!!!

The Fall 2022 season games will start soon!  Start planning ahead to become a volunteer parent referee for your child’s team.

AYSO is built upon the concept of volunteering, and one of the most important roles to be filled is that of the Referee and Assistant Referees. (Without CRs and ARs, we cant have games!)  Most of you probably have little to no experience with soccer, but don’t let that stop you!  Learning to manage a game is easy and fun, plus you end up with the best seat in the house! The vast majority of new parent volunteer referees have never played soccer before (and certainly not officiated), but all you need is the desire to help provide our young players with a great outing, and experience the fun, excitement, and camaraderie of a fantastic team sport!  Being a Referee or Assistant referee is just about keeping the kids safe, playing fair, and having fun!

5U/6U/7U–For the younger games, all that is needed to manage a game/scrimmage is a single parent volunteer (with a spiffy yellow t-shirt and a whistle–which we will provide) to supervise the game, 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 volunteer role 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, and then we’ll arrange to get you your t-shirt and whistle.

8U/10U/12U–Teams in the older age divisions 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 (or you can take a class elsewhere, in a neighboring region, if that class fits your schedule better). This “Regional Referee” training will prepare you for both of the match official roles:

  • Assistant Referee: takes care of the touchlines (sidelines) and uses simple flag signals to indicate when the ball goes out of play (out of bounds) and which direction the restart will be taken (for throw-ins, goal kicks, and corner kicks, etc.)
  • Referee: has a slightly more comprehensive role, is sort of “in-charge” of the day, using his/her whistle and hand signals to manage the game, keeping it Safe, Fair, and Fun. It just requires a little more “organizational skill,” so the day goes smoothly.

Having enough volunteer referees is always a (my biggest…) challenge–and without referees, the kids can’t have their games!  Every team (and this means the Coaches and Team Managers) need to recruit as many volunteer referees/assistant referees as they can! The more the better because it guarantees match official coverage every weekend (and there are 10 weekends of Fall games leading up to the end of season playoffs), plus it helps spread out the workload so the same people aren’t refereeing games every weekend!  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 ‘in the spotlight’) you can still be a huge help as an Assistant Referee, and maybe work your way up to being the CR!

FYI: Every game in the 10U/12U/14U divisions needs three officials (CR and 2 ARs).  Games in the 7U/8U can get by with a single Center Referee, but it’s nice if we can recruit a “full crew” which gives the kids the feeling of  a real match with a real ref crew.  5U/6U games just need one parent volunteer in the middle of a very small field managing the hilarious play-date that is youth soccer at these ages.

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 MY2022 (??? is this accurate for the new system)

If you plan on refereeing for Fall 2022, 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 MY2022 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. It often goes to junk/spam, so be on the lookout there, too.

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.  In previous years we have done these bright and early (in-person) on the opening day of the season (date to be determined–probably 9/17/22). We might have 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/10U/12U 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 — Full In-Person Course” (it’s an in-person, full-day course)
  • The other option is called  “Regional Referee – Online + In-Person Companion Course (2-part bundle)”  The online part consists of 9 modules plus a “final exam,” and takes about 90′. The In-Person part is usually a 3-4 hour session (requires first completing the online training) that reviews the online parts and goes over the mechanics of doing a game.

New educational platform: “eTrainU”   All online training  (referees, coaching, safety courses, etc.) is accessed and completed through “eTrainU” which is our NEW educational platform. (We no longer use AYSOU.) Courses are accessed by logging in to InLeague (using your OWN email and password), click the ‘graduation cap’ icon in the upper right corner of the page. You’re brought to a new page where you click “Login to eTrainU” and then you choose the courses from the “Training Library” icon on the lefthand side.

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 MY2022
    • Once submitted you will receive an email (sometimes that same day) from our background check folks at “Verified/Sterling Volunteers” –you need to respond to this to complete the registration process (it often goes to spam/junk, so be checking there)

2. Take the online safety courses: “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Course” “CDC Concussion Awareness Course” and “SafeHaven Course” modules. These can be found at “eTrainU” in their “Training Library” icon.

3. 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 MY2022
    • Once submitted you will receive an email from our background check folks at “Verified/Sterling Volunteers” –you need to respond to this.

2.  Take the “Sudden Cardiac Training,”  “CDC Concussion,” and “Safe Haven” courses (if you haven’t taken them once already).  These can be found at “eTrainU” in their “Training Library” icon, and then click “Safe Haven Courses”

3. 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  “eTrainU”  to sign up for referee classes (first you must have registered as a Volunteer with inLeague–Santa Monica AYSO). You click on the “graduation cap” icon on the upper right corner of your InLeague home page. This will take you to “eTrainU”

  1. Log in to your InLeague account using your email and password
  2. Click the “graduation cap” icon in upper right corner of home page
  3. Open “Training Library” icon. Click “Refereeing View Courses”
  4. Choose either the “Regional Referee — Full In-Person Course” which is a full-day (8 hour and very thorough) course, or the “Regional Referee – Online + In-Person Companion Course (2-part bundle)” which is a half-day in-person course (3-4 hours) that requires prior completion of the on-line Regional Referee modules (and exam) before attending the classroom session. (If you choose the “2-part bundle” course, you will need to attend the in-person part of the course, and dates will be announced as we get closer to the season.)

“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): to be posted soon

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 or a ZOOM course. “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. I will also offer a couple ZOOM opportunities. We will just need to find a way to get you your yellow referee t-shirt, hat and whistle.

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) or attend the ZOOM session.   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!