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All referees affiliated with FIFA have a designated referee grade. The grade indicates the qualification of the referee to officiate at various levels of local, national and international soccer competition. There is no relationship between a person's grade in school and their referee grade

Grade 1 Referees: Referees who officiate in the World Cup and international matches are designated as Grade 1.

Grade 2 Referees: Assistant Referees to Grade 1 Referees are designated as Grade 2.

Grade 3 and 4 Referees: In the United States competition at the national level (including professional soccer and MLS) requires Grade 3 or 4. Grade 3 indicates the referee will primarily be assigned in the role of Assistant Referee.

Grade 5 and 6 Referees: The highest level of competition within a state (amateur leagues beyond youth) requires a Grade 5 or 6 where Grade 5 indicates the referee's readiness to be considered for national service.

Grade 7 Referees: Grade 7 is an experienced referee in the state qualified to officiate all but the highest levels of amateur soccer.

Grade 8 Referees: This is the entry level for new referees aged 16 and older. Once certified, these referees can expect to be working competitive 11 v 11 games in both Youth and Adult Leagues and Tournaments.

Grade 9 Referees: This is the entry level for referees aged 12 – 15. Once certified, these Referees can expect to be working "small sided" non-competitive games.

As referees advance to higher grades they are required to demonstrate their continued qualification for their grade through "maintenance" assessments and sustained high level competition experience. Each referee at Grade 7 or higher is also required to successfully pass a physical fitness field examination which includes distance, agility and speed tests (as set out in the Referee Administrative handbook). The results of this testing are recorded to fulfill part of the annual registration / recertification qualifications. In rare circumstances referees who fail to maintain their qualifications are "downgraded" by the MSRC and this is reflected on their next registration.


If you would like to find out how to progress to a higher Referee Grade please follow the menu on the left by choosing Upgrade under the Referee menu to the left.

Approximately 90% of all referees in Massachusetts are Grade 8, 7% are Grade 7 and the rest are Grade 6 or higher.