Volunteer to Manage Great Game Experiences

Volunteer Referees are an essential part of every AYSO soccer game. Volunteers often begin by officiating their own children's games and advance their skills as their children advance year-by-year. As they learn the Laws, develop their own techniques for managing the game and gain an appreciation for how important the role of the referee is to a fun, fair and safe soccer experience, volunteer referees find it rewarding to expand their knowledge and experience with AYSO’s more advanced training and certification. 

AYSO’s referee training is considered to be among the best and includes local classes, area classes, on-field mentoring, and online training.  

Soccer knowledge is not required to get started. AYSO has over 50 years of experience training novice and experienced parents and can meet you at your level of knowledge. If you have no soccer knowledge at all, AYSO can get you quickly enabled and on the field.

What  Does It Mean to Referee in AYSO?

AYSO has a very clear philosophy -- its games are to be played so that they are a safe, positive, enjoyable growth experience for the children. However, this is not achieved by adopting idiosyncratic or peculiar rules. AYSO games follow standard, international soccer FIFA Laws of the Game very closely, with only a very few changes to implement AYSO's philosophy (e.g., controlled substitutions to ensure that "Everyone Plays") and, at the youngest age levels, to adapt the game to the physical and mental maturity of the players.

When  Do I Referee Games?

The AYSO season in Palo Alto starts just after Labor Day and continues until some time in November or early December, depending on the age group. The clinics that prepare (or refresh) referees for the season are held during the summer or the first couple of weeks of the Fall. We hope to see you at one of them!

Why  Should I Referee?

The best reason for being an AYSO Referee is for the kids. Referees play a vital role in keeping the games Safe, Fair and Fun -- what AYSO is all about and why kids enjoy AYSO so much.

But why should YOU do it?  While everyone is welcome, refereeing is especially likely to appeal to you if:

  • you like being involved
  • you enjoy sports, even strange ones (you wish you were playing, instead of just your kids)
  • you enjoy (or need!) physical activity (refereeing is a great, light, regular workout)
  • you enjoy a challenge (where you pick the level of difficulty)
  • you don't have enough time during the week to be a coach
  • you want to participate in a sports tradition that is practiced worldwide
If any of these describe you, give refereeing a try.

When you do, you'll find out that it's fun! Especially at the younger age levels, AYSO refereeing is not particularly stressful. Your role is to help the kids structure their game as soccer, teach them a bit about the game and the role of the Referee, and, occasionally, to intervene to keep everything fair. Best of all, you get to be out on the field with the kids, enjoying the game from "up close", while everyone else has to watch from the touch lines.

How  Do I Become a Palo Alto AYSO Referee?

To become an AYSO referee, you must attend an AYSO referee certification course/clinic. They are designed to be quick, easy, and fun to take -- even for those with no prior soccer experience. The introductory courses cover the Laws of the Game, the way AYSO soccer games are structured and conducted, and the spirit and philosophy of AYSO. At these courses, you will also pick up some things you will need: a copy of the Laws of the Game, a referee uniform, a whistle, etc. Uniforms and equipment are provided by the Palo Alto AYSO.

Referees are not used in Kinder (6U)
Referees are associated with their teams in 8U
Referees self-assign to 10U games
Referees are assigned to games at 12U and above

Get started by selecting classes at Referee Classes