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WisRef Procedures and Protocols

The Wisconsin State Referee Committee, also known as the Wisconsin Program for Referee Development (“SRC or WisRef”), and its members will follow U.S. Soccer (“USS” and also known as the United State Soccer Federation or “USSF”) Policies and Procedures (“USSF P&P”), as well as other Guidance put forth by USS from time to time (Guidance).  The Wisconsin Program for Referee Development Procedures & Protocol (“WisRef P&P”) are meant to be supplementary to the USSF P&P and other USS Guidance.


  1. The Wisconsin State Referee Committee shall consist of the following positions, as defined in the USSF P&P:  the State Referee Administrator (SRA), the State Youth Referee Administrator (SYRA), the State Director of Referee Instruction (SDI), the State Director of Referee Assessment (SDA), the State Director of Assignment (SAC), the President or representative of the Adult State Association, the President or a representative of the Youth State Association, and the Chairperson, also known as the State Referee Chair, who shall be the previous State Referee Administrator, or the State Referee Administrator, if the previous State Referee Administrator chooses not to or is unable to serve.  Additionally, the Registrar shall be a member of the State Referee Committee.  The SRA may appoint an at-large member to the SRC.  The functional or working SRC shall be all the positions outlined, with the exception of the two State Association Presidents.
  2. The Wisconsin Program for Referee Development Panel (the “Panel”) shall be a collection of trusted individuals who will be responsible for reviewing and approving requests for maintaining and upgrading of Referee levels.  The Panel will ensure that minimum requirements set forth in this document have been met and that any extenuating circumstances are considered and addressed.  The Panel shall be appointed by the SRA and consist of the working State Referee Committee as outlined above as well as selected individuals with the requisite experience and knowledge of the Wisconsin pool of Referees.  The Panel members shall be published in order that all Referees are aware who the members are.
  3. All those registered with WisRef/USSF are independent contractors, including but not limited to Referees, Assessors/Referee Mentors/Referee Coaches (“Assessors”), Assignors, and Instructors.
  4. As a matter of courtesy, Referees, Assessors, Assignors or Instructors traveling to competitions or other events outside the State of Wisconsin (and not assigned by the SRA, SYRA, SDA, SDI or State Games Assignor) shall request current registration verification be sent to the host destination state from the SRA or Registrar.  The request should include the competition name, dates, location, and name and email of the Assignor.  Referees, Assessors, Assignors or Instructors who travel to work games should ensure they have met their obligation to the state association.


  1. Annual course attendance is required for registration for all positions (Referee, Assessor, Assignor, Instructor, & Futsal).
  2. Age limitations for Course Attendance
    • Per USS requirements, must be 13 years old at the start of the process to become a referee
  3. Age & Grassroots Levels for Referee WisRef Designated Assigning Platform
    • If under 14 years old at the time of registration, the referee would be recognized as a Grassroots Referee GR-9, and can only be assigned to recreational games (cannot be assigned to competitive games).
    • Grassroots Referee GR-9s will be upgraded to Grassroots Referee GR- 8 in the WisRef designated assigning platform within the month following when the Referee turns 14.
  4. Lapse in Registration
    • One year lapse requires attendance at a Recertification course.
    • Over a one-year lapse requires attendance at a “New Referee” course.


  1. The WisRef designated assigning platform shall be utilized for all assignments of USS sanctioned games in Wisconsin except those assigned directly by USSF or assigned in the USSF Game Officials assigning program.
  2. Annually or as required by the SRA or SAC, all Assignors shall properly execute the WisRef Code of Ethics for Assignors and Assignor Agreement in order to be properly registered, and be contracted with a club, tournament or other sanctioned competition.


  1. Requests for Referee courses must be approved by the SDI who reserves the right to deny or make changes to any request.
  2. Districts or hosting Unit/Club shall communicate with the SRC and the SRC shall contract with Instructors.

Assessment & Evaluation

  1. WisRef shall employ formal Assessments, Evaluations, or Mentoring Sessions by Assessors, or experienced Referees (“Mentors”), all as assigned by the SDA.
  2. All Requests for Assessments, Evaluations or Mentoring Sessions (“assessment”) shall be completed using the on-line request system or the WisRef designated assigning platform.  Recommended minimum notice is 2 weeks prior to game to allow the SDA time to find the best available Assessor or Mentor.  Upon assignment of an Assessor or Mentor in the WisRef designated assigning platform, the Referee will be able to see the name of the Assessor or Mentor and when the Assessor or Mentor has accepted the game.
  3. Referees shall either effect payment for the assessment in the WisRef designated assigning platform or mail a check or money order made payable to WisRef to the Registrar, in the amount of the game fee immediately upon completing the Request for Assessment.  The check shall not be cashed until the game has been played, an Assessor or Mentor had been assigned and an assessment has taken place.
  4. All payments to Assessors or Mentors shall be approved by the SDA upon completion and submission of the assessment paperwork.  Referees shall not pay an Assessor or Mentor directly, and an Assessor or Mentor shall not accept funds directly from a Referee.
  5. All Assessor and Mentor assignments are made either by or with the express consent of the SDA.  Any assessment solicited by a Referee or offered by an Assessor or Mentor without prior approval of the SDA is subject to review and approval by The Panel.  Assessments or feedback given or received outside the purview of the SDA may be counted as a mentoring session and could be included in the Referee’s portfolio submission to The Panel.

Referee Upgrade and Grade Maintenance

  1. Minimum requirements for Upgrade and Maintenance assessments are set forth in theU.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program – Referee Certification Requirements, and WisRef requirements, as follows:
    • All Referees are required to complete WisRef annual instruction or training.
    • All Grassroots Referees GR-7s and all Regional Referees are required to complete a WisRef annual Advanced Recertification course.
    • All Regional Referees are required to pass the FIFA Repeated Sprint Ability and Interval Tests as outlined in the USSF Referee Certification Requirements.
    • To upgrade to Grassroots Referee GR- 7, the Referee must successfully complete one field assessment on a competitive match as a Referee, with recommended game level of U17 or higher.
    • To upgrade to Regional Referee, the Referee must successfully complete 3 field assessments as a Referee on competitive matches.  At least one assessment must be on an adult game.
    • To maintain a Regional Referee Level, a Referee must have two successful field assessments on competitive matches as a Referee, with a minimum one of the assessed games being on an adult game.
    • National Candidates will be selected and managed by USSF.
    • Emeritus Referees must attend an annual recertification course, and it is recommended that Emeritus Referees attend an Advanced Recertification course.
  2. Referees who wish to upgrade to Regional Referee are required to submit to the Panel a “portfolio” of their body of work by November 1st of the calendar year prior to the year they would like to be upgraded (i.e. submit portfolio by November 1st  of the current year to be upgraded for the next registration year).  The Panel will determine and publish the portfolio submission format (i.e. electronic document and email address or web form).  A portfolio will consist of the following:
    • Game and Event Records:  Individual game list along with date, location, teams, age league or competition, as well as the position of the Referee (Referee, Assistant Referee or 4th Official) and Events (tournaments or other sponsored events that the Referee officiated at).
    • Assessment and Mentoring List:  List of any official assessments which were completed by an approved Assessor as well as any mentoring done by any other USSF Assessor with written & verbal feedback session which can be verified by the SDA and the USSF Assessor.  Include the date, game details and Assessor name.
    • Additional Information:  List of any additional information relevant to the Referee’s accomplishments during the calendar year.  Include instruction, assessing, mentoring roles, administrative duties, high level unaffiliated matches.
  3. The Panel will meet at least annually to review all submitted portfolios and decide whether the individual has exhibited the knowledge, skills and attitude to maintain or upgrade to the desired level.  The Panel will notify all who have submitted proper portfolios, of the Panel’s decision before the individual is registered with USSF for the next registration cycle.

Out-of-State Referees

  1. Out-of-State Referees are defined as those USS referees who are registered with another State Association besides Wisconsin.  Out-of-State Referees may request the Wisconsin SRC (WisRef) to be allowed to be assigned to sanctioned games of the two State Associations, the Wisconsin Soccer Leagues (WSL) or Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) games, whether the games are club, district, league, competition or tournament games.
  2. Current year registration, background check, SafeSport and Safe & Healthy Playing Environments and in good standing – all verified with the Out-of-State Referee’s “home” SRC will be required prior to Out-of-State Referees being activated for assignments in Wisconsin and the WisRef game assignment system.  The prospective Out-of-State Referee will also be required to add Wisconsin as a Relationship in their USS Learning Center profile prior to being activated for assignments.
  3. Individual Out-of-State Referees will be allowed to request activation for assignments without cost to the individual.  However, if the individual Out-of-State Referees have registered in another state in order to circumvent the WisRef requirements for registration (such as a Wisconsin resident obtaining a USS registration in another state as they did not agree with the WisRef requirements) shall be activated after the payment of an Activation Fee as set by WisRef.
  4. Tournaments which request more than two activations for Out of State Referees per tournament shall be assessed an Activation Fee per each Out-of-State Referee added, as set forth by WisRef.  This does not apply to individual Out-of-State Referees who request to referee at a tournament in which a family member is participating.  Tournaments which are deemed to be circumventing this will be assessed the Activation Fee for all Out-of- State Referees activated for the tournament.
  5. Referees assigned to games held in Wisconsin by assignors affiliated with various Regional or National Leagues or competitions are not subject to this portion of the WisRef Policies & Procedures.

Referees who are moving to Wisconsin for permanent residence are not subject to this portion of the WisRef Policies & Procedures.

For further assistance, please contact [email protected]


  1. Failure to abide by the USSF P&P or WisRef P&P may result in disciplinary action, which may include suspension.
  2. The primary method of communication by and between State Referee Committee Administrative Members, Referees, Assessors, Assignors, and Instructors will be by email.
  3. “Publishing” of the WisRef P&P and other guidelines and requirements shall be on the website or on the WisRef designated assigning platform.
  4. The Laws of the Game recognize only one system for officiating soccer games, namely the diagonal system of control (DSC), consisting of three officials – one Referee and two Assistant Referees.  All USSF-sanctioned games shall have one USSF Referee and two USSF Assistant Referees, depending upon the Laws of the Game, as modified.  In the event that one USSF Referee and two USSF Assistant Referees are not present at a game, the positions shall be filled, in the following order:
    • One USSF Referee, one USSF Referee as an Assistant Referee and one club linesman who is unrelated to either team and not registered as a Referee
    • One USSF Referee, and two club linesmen who are unrelated to either team and not registered as Referees, acting as club linesmen
    • One USSF Referee and two club linesmen who are not registered USSF Referees and who are affiliated with the participating teams
    • One USSF Referee, only if there are not enough USSF Referees or if the club linesmen are unavailable and one Referee is appropriate for the level of competition
    • Club linesmen (not registered as USSF Referees) are limited to calling in and out of bounds only.
    • The Referee or Assistant Referee shall only retain the game fee for the position worked, and shall return all other game fees to the respective teams.

For further questions about WisRef Procedures and Protocols, please contact [email protected].