Entry Level Program Evolves since mid-90s

From the inception of the program through the first 20 plus years, the MSRC had developed its entry level education program around the grade 8 course. This was offered to all new referees, regardless of age.

In the mid-1990s we began offering two courses:

Our state was very active with its Associate Referee program, registering over 1800 grade 11 referees in 2003. The efficient entry level course was designed to teach students fundamental laws of the game in a compact, easy to afford format.

In 2003-04 US Soccer eliminated the Associate Referee program. The introductory course for younger officials became the Recreational Referee, Grade 9 entry level course. The MSRC combined the best elements of its Grade 11 program with the compulsory elements of the Grade 9 US Soccer curriculum to develop this new course. The first course of this kind was offered in July, 2003.

The training offered to Grade 9 referees was designed to prepare them for a limited level of play:

Original eligibility guidelines required students to be at least 11 years old by the start of the playing season. This was subsequently raised to age 12.

Over the ensuing ten years, the grade 9 program continued to grow exponentially. We added grade 9 referees at three times the national average. With this growth came an unintended consequence. The lower barrier to entry attracted a significant number of younger referees who could not handle the games. Referees dropped out at an alarming rate, and there was soon a shortage at the higher levels.

What remains constant is our commitment to delivering high quality education for all referees and we will continue to monitor and adjust all course offerings to achieve this goal.