Mass Youth Soccer Referee
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Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: Do I need to use an electronic whistle? [updated 2021-05-29]

Whether or not you need to use an electronic whistle versus a traditional, blow-in whistle depends on the level of the match you are working. The expectations are different whether you are working an adult or a youth match, as follows:

  • MASS Soccer makes no assumptions with regard to the type of whistle a referee should use.
  • Mass Youth Soccer allows for use of a regular whistle but highly recommends an electronic whistle or another handheld device (e.g. bell, horn).

For reference see the section for C.SAFETY STANDARDS FOR PLAY within the MASS EEA guidance.


The recertification for 2021 is different than in previous years:

  • MSRC will only be offering online recertification courses (via Zoom).
  • US Soccer has waived its registration fee for those registered in 2020; there will be a course fee for remaining clinics.
  • Referees (and other roles) will need to satisfy requirements (Supplemental Courses) offered through the US Soccer Learning Center.
  • Among the required Supplemental Courses for those over the age of 18 is a "Safe Sport" Course and a national background check (which costs $30 for a 2-year coverage).
  • You can/should check your own status in the US Soccer Learning Center. Soon, your status for US Soccer Supplemental Courses will be available within your MSRC profile.

Q1: Who must recertify?

Every Massachusetts referee certified and registered with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) must recertify every year, regardless of grade.


  • If you have taken an Entry Level course after July 1, 2020, please see Question 18.
  • The Registration year runs from January 1 to December 31, regardless of when you take the class.

NOTE: If you sign up & pay for a Recertification Clinic then need to switch date/location, log into your MassRef account and drop your Registration on your 'My Courses' page, sign up on an alternate and choose the PAY BY CHECK option. Then email to get your payment transferred.

Q2: What are the Recertification requirements?

All Recertifying Referee must log into their MassRef Account to sign up on a Clinic and pay. There will only be online options for 2021 Recertification. New this year are Supplemental Courses. Check out Video - Help With Supplemental courses

The Annual Re-Certification requirements for all Grades of Referee, including Futsal, are as follows:

In-Service Training Minimum 4 Hour Classroom Session
Laws of the Game Test 50 Question Test
80% Passing Grade
[ALL] Introduction To Safe and Healthy Playing Environments (Intro to Safety) [Free] Supplemental Course in
US Soccer Learning Center
[18+] SafeSport [Free] Supplemental Course in
US Soccer Learning Center
[18+] National Background Check [$30 for 2 years] Supplemental Course in
US Soccer Learning Center

Q3: What is new this year?

There will only be online options for 2021 Recertification. All Recertifying Referees must ATTEND a Clinic. New this year are Supplemental Courses. Check out Video - Help With Supplemental courses

Mass Youth Soccer Adult Registration

Mass Youth Soccer requires that every certified Referee, aged 18 years and older, that is involved in Youth Soccer must be registered. Even if you are registered through another Youth Soccer role, you must register again as a Referee through Massref.

The Massachusetts State Referee Committee will require that all certified Referees aged 17 and older at December 31 2019, will follow this process to become a registered adult.

  1. You must upload a photo into your Massref profile that meets the passport standards. See this webpage for a full description of the standards,
  2. You must submit your signed registration letter (which will include your photo).

Laws of the Game test

For those attending a referee recertification, an online test on the Laws of the Game is required prior to attendance. The test link has been sent via email to the email address listed in your Massref account.

Q4: When must I Recertify?

Recertification classes typically are offered between August of one year to the January of the recertification year (Classes are schedule during the Summer and at every major holiday to enable students, who are away at college, to attend. You can attend any Clinic on the schedule.

The USSF Registration Year runs January 1 to December 31. Registration for a recertification year closes on June 30th of that year. It is not possible to be certified for a year on or after July 1.

Q5: How do I enroll in a Clinic?

Log into your MassRef Account at MSRC Central and select "Course Schedule" from the menu at the top of the screen.

Select the Recertification Clinic you would like to attend and click "enroll" on the right of the screen. You can use the "Advanced Search" function on the right near the top of the Course Schedule screen to view only Recertification classes. When we are having on-site sessions, adding your zip code to the search will help you find the sessions nearest to your location.

Carefully read and follow the instructions on each screen. Payment information is given during the enrollment process.

Successful enrollment will generate a system automated email, to the email address you have entered on your MassRef Account. Be sure to print your Registration Letter.

Q6: I enrolled in one of the Annual Recertification Clinics and haven't received a confirmation, what should I do?

E-mail confirmations should be sent immediately. If you did not receive one, you should check that any spam filtering did not mistakenly catch the confirmation. You can also see the confirmation message on your Main page when you are logged into the web site. If you are still concerned of your status, you can contact the Course Administrator.

Q7: How do I access the Online Modules

There is only an online test required for 2021 Grassroots Referee Recertification. The link to the test will be sent via email after completion of the course and after the submission of your Registration Letter(with class code provided by instructor).

Q11: How long will a Recertification Clinic be?

From the Course Schedule, click on the Location for details about the clinics you have selected, including start and end times. You are expected to attend for the entire duration of the clinic unless otherwise noted in the description (i.e. Seminar clinic).

Q12: Can I stay for part of the Recertification Clinic and still be recertified?

No. Plan your schedule accordingly. You will not be recertified until all of the requirements have been met.

Q13: What is the cost for attending a Recertification Clinic?

There may be a course fee that should be paid in advance at the time of enrollment. The registration fee amount varies according to referee grade level. The following table shows the amounts due:

Referee Grade Registration Fee
Grade 8 $50
Grade 7 $50
Grade 6 $85
Grade 5 $85
Grade 4 $100
Grade 3 $100
Grade 2 $100
Grade 1 $100
National Emeritus $50
State Emeritus $50
Futsal $55

Q14: Can I attend a Recertification Clinic if I did not recertify last year?

Yes. Referees are expected to maintain their certification from year to year. If the referee does let his or her registration lapse for 1-4 years, we can Recertify them upon completion of all the requirements (See Q2). A lapse of 5 years or more requires re-taking the full class. This policy is in place to assist in cases when referees have been injured or had some other unusual occurrence. However, this is not an advisable alternative and there are some considerable drawbacks for referees when this happens. Among other things, assignors may bypass them in favor of more experienced referees. This will also have a negative effect on the referee. (Please note, recertification at a summer clinic will update your eligibility for the following year. If you are not currently certified, you will not be eligible for fall assignments. e.g. If not certified in 2021, attending an August 2020 recertification clinic makes you eligible for January to December 2022)

Q16: I still have not recertified but I want to ref, what else can I do?

Please send email to if you want to know what options are available to you.

Q17: I recently moved to Massachusetts from another state where I was certified. What do I do to certify here in Massachusetts?

All transfers to and from State Associations are usually coordinated by the State Referee Administrator from the state which the referee is leaving, however you may contact the Massachusetts SRA directly by e-mail.

Q18: I took a New Grassroots Referee course in the Summer, do I have to attend a Re-certification class?

After successfully completing a New Grassroots Referee class in the summer of one year, you are certified until December 31 of the following year. While you are not required to attend a Re-certification class, it is an excellent opportunity to listen to more experienced Referees share their experiences. You do not need to enroll or pay to attend.

Q19: If I have any other questions regarding Recertification requirements what should I do?

If your questions have not been answered on this webpage, feel free to contact the MSRC by e-mail.