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SO YOU WANT TO BECOME A SOCCER REFEREE

 

Becoming a referee is a fairly simple process Ė you take a class, you take a test, you pass the test, you buy a uniform and youíre off to officiate your first game. Sounds easy, right? Well nothing is that easy, but we can help you get started. Here is whatís involved in becoming a referee:

Cadet School

Find out where and when the next Cadet School will be offered in your area. You can locate all the New Jersey Officials Associations on the web site www.njsiaa.org. Once you find the area that is convenient to you, call the person listed as the contact or in the case of Bergen County, you can download the membership application from this web site. Now that you have the first step out of the way, things get better.

You will be attending approximately 14 hours of classroom instruction on learning the basics of becoming a soccer referee. Donít worry, the cadet school is normally spread out over the course of 6-8 weeks depending on the class size. Each class will cover different laws of the game and your instructor will share actual game situations to help you understand these rules. At the end of the class, you will take a test to determine if you have passed the course. If you pass the test, you will be eligible to officiate lower level games such as junior varsity, freshman and middle school soccer matches.

At this point, you are now eligible to register for the New Jersey Soccer Officials Association (NJSOA) state exam. This is offered the first Saturday in December at the Maywood Elementary School for anyone attending the Bergen County class. The exam consists of 100 questions and the passing grade is 75% in order to register with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). If you score less than 75, all is not lost. You can retake the test at the next permitted time.

If you pass the test, the Bergen County Chapter will require you to officiate a minimum of one year of lower level games to build your confidence as a referee while being evaluated. After that first year is under your belt and you've completed all the necessary steps, youíll be a carded Varsity official.

Uniform and Equipment

Now that youíre ready to officiate, itís time to go out and buy your first uniform. The basic referee uniform consists of a NJSIAA Cliff Keen sublimated lime green shirt, black referee shorts, black socks with three or two white stripes and black shoes. There are no particular shoes that we recommend, only that you get a comfortable pair that wonít cause blisters when you run.  You are also permitted to wear a black baseball style cap along with a solid black jacket, if you wish . In addition to the uniform, you will need a stopwatch, preferably one that counts down time. Youíll need a whistle, a small book to keep score and game notes, a flipping coin and your very own red and yellow cards. Now ask yourself, where do I get all of this stuff. Donít worry, your cadet school instructor will tell you where to buy all this equipment.

Getting Games

Now that youíve bought your uniform and referee equipment, youíll need to talk to the assignors and/or athletic directors who will schedule your games. Not sure who these people are, not to worry. Again, your cadet school instructor will advise you on who the local assignors are and where to find the local athletic directorís phone list.

Your First Year

Well, youíve been out on the fields for a year now and youíve learned how to issue cards, deal with the players, coaches and parents, and suffered through the hot and cold. Now what. Every year, you will be required to take a re-certification examination to maintain your status as a carded Varsity official. You will also be required to attend new rules interpretation and educational clinic meetings offered by your local chapter. These meetings will keep you informed of all rule changes and refresh your memory on the basic laws of the game, not to mention the ability to swap stories with fellow referees.

Summary

In a nutshell, thatís what it takes to become a soccer referee. Of course the more games you do, the more your confidence will improve and the games will seem easier. One thing to remember is that we all have a bad game from time to time, so donít despair. Every chapter has a cadet school instructor and Executive Committee to answer your questions and help you through any difficult times. These will be few and far between.

 

 

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