There is no requirement to referee younger players before refereeing older players. You may request referee assignments at whatever age level you feel comfortable. Refereeing at the various age levels requires different skills and just because the players are young doesn’t necessarily mean the games are easier – they are different! Managing six or seven year-olds (and their parents) and managing 14 or 15 year-olds requires different skills. Your Region and Referee Administrator will help you find the right level.
There are the six certification levels for AYSO referees. Here is a brief description of the requirements for each. Contact your Regional Referee Administrator (RRA) for more details:
(minimum age 10)
Complete the U-8 Official Course and pass the U-8 Official Exam.
(minimum age 12)
Complete the Assistant Referee Course and pass the Assistant Referee Exam.
(minimum age 12)
Complete the Regional Referee Course and pass the Regional Referee Exam.
There is an online version and an in-person option for Regional Certification.
(minimum age 14)
Complete 25 games as referee with at least five in U-12 games, complete the Intermediate Referee Course, pass the Intermediate Referee Exam and be (observed) mentored in a U-12 game.
(minimum age 16)
Complete 50 games as referee with at least 10 in U-14 and five as an assistant referee (in U-14), complete the Advanced Referee Course, pass the Advanced Referee Exam, pass one assessment as referee and one as assistant referee in a U-14 match, pass the AYSO Physical Fitness Test.
(minimum age 18)
Complete 100 games as referee with at least 30 in U-16 and U-19 games and 25 as Assistant Referee with at least 10 in U-19, complete the National Referee Course, pass the National Referee Exam, pass two assessments as referee in U-16 or U-19 matches and one as assistant referee in a U-19 match, complete the AYSO Physical Fitness Test.