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Referees Wanted! Your Guide to Getting Started

Are you passionate about soccer and interested in becoming a referee in Ohio? Whether you're in Southern Ohio, Northern Ohio, or Central Ohio, there are specific steps and resources available to help you kickstart your referee journey. In this guide, we'll explore the process and opportunities available in each region.

Referee Shortage Alert

Ohio is facing a critical shortage of soccer referees, and we need your support to ensure that our upcoming referee needs are met. Currently, in Central Ohio two classes are in serious danger of being canceled due to a lack of enrolled students. This would mark only the 2nd and 3rd classes ever canceled in Columbus, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Your participation is vital to maintaining the health of our referee program and ensuring that our soccer community continues to thrive. We urge you to consider registering for one of the available courses highlighted in this article.

Referee Trends and Statistics

At the end of 2023, Central Ohio boasted a commendable total of 1245 referees, marking a significant increase from the previous year's count of 1141. However, as of now, we have only 638 certified referees for 2024, with an additional 41 in the process of recertification and approximately 100 more in the USSoccer pipeline awaiting approval by the OSSRC. This is just an example of Central Ohio’s referee situation. The rest of the state is experiencing similar if not worse shortages.

Become a Referee

Steps to Become a Soccer Referee

Are you ready to embark on your journey to becoming a soccer referee in Ohio? The process may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and resources, you can navigate it smoothly. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Registration:

  • Create an account on the US Soccer Learning Center website at

  • Click on "SIGN UP" in the upper right corner of the screen and follow the registration process.

  • Select the Desired Course:

  • Log in to your US Soccer Learning Center account.

  • Navigate to the "REFEREE PROGRAM" section.

  • Click on "START YOUR JOURNEY" and then "GO TO COURSE LIST."

  • Choose a course that you can attend in person and proceed with registration and payment.

  • Completion of Tasks Required:

  • After registering for the course, complete the following tasks:

  • Background check (if over 18).

  • SafeSport course (if over 18).

  • Safe Playing Environment module.

  • Online training modules and successful completion of the quiz.

  • NFHSLearn Concussion Course

  • Go to to register for the Concussion in Sports Course, complete it, and save the certificate.

  • Attend the in-person training course, ensuring you arrive on time and are prepared to participate fully.

  • The OSSRC Tasks Required Prior to Receiving a Badge:

  • Look for an email from the Ohio South State Referee Committee (OSSRC) indicating that your OSSRC profile has been created.

  • Sign in to the OSSRC system at using your OSSRC referee number and password.

  • Upload your Concussion Certificate to the OSSRC system.

  • Wait for further instructions and your referee badge to be mailed to you.

Additional Resources

For more information and assistance throughout the referee certification process, you can visit The website offers valuable resources and support to help you navigate each step of becoming a soccer referee in Ohio. If you encounter any questions or doubts along the way, don't hesitate to reach out for assistance. We at Ohio Soccer Refs are here to help you succeed in your referee journey. Simply send us a message through the contact form on our website, and we'll be happy to assist you. Remember, while the journey to becoming a certified referee may take time and effort, the rewards of officiating soccer matches and being a part of the sport's community make it all worthwhile.

Referee in Southern Ohio

In Southern Ohio, aspiring referees can reach out to Randy Clark at for guidance and information on how to get started. Additionally, in Cincinnati, there are specific classes offered for two types of certifications: the USSF license and the high school license.

  • USSF License: If you're interested in officiating club games, the USSF referee course is the way to go.

High School License: For those aiming to referee varsity, junior varsity, and freshman high school games, the high school course is the preferred option.

Referee in Northern Ohio

Referee in Central Ohio

Becoming a soccer referee in Ohio offers a rewarding opportunity to contribute to the sport you love while earning valuable experience and supplemental income. Whether you're in Southern Ohio, Northern Ohio, or Central Ohio, there are resources and courses available to guide you through the certification process and kickstart your referee career. Reach out to the mentioned contacts and organizations to take the first step towards becoming a certified soccer referee in Ohio.

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