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Outdoor Referee Certification Requirements Grade 5

July 2017

State Referee Association Standards

Where provided, U.S. Soccer expects State Referee Associations to establish requirements that best support the needs of the local competitions and the referees servicing them. This means that State Referee Associations are expected to work collaboratively with State Association(s) leaders and local competition authorities.

Specific to requirements associated with grade, this includes:

  • Minimum age 
  • Previous game and grade experience

State Referee Associations are also empowered by U.S. Soccer to establish fitness, assessment and training standards outside the parameters of grades. Although independent of grade, these standards should be advanced when compared to the existing U.S. Soccer grade requirements. These advanced standards should be specific to the needs of local competitions or specific to participation in state level development programs.

If fitness standards are required for specific state level competitions, they should be conducted in accordance with the FIFA Sprint and Interval Tests. U.S. Soccer recommends that State Referee Associations use the established State Referee standards but the required time intervals can be adjusted if needed. It is required that a set of speed gates be used to administer the sprint tests.

If assessment standards are required, they should be conducted in accordance with the current guidelines specific to formal assessments. State Referee Associations are also able and encouraged to utilize the following:

  • Development and guidance evaluations 
  • Scouting and identification 
  • Mentoring

Additional training standards can include, but are not limited to attending: •

  • Clinics
  • Workshops 
  • Tournaments or other competitions

For national competitions looking to establish requirements specific to assignment, U.S. Soccer can assist in the formation and communication of these standards.

These additional standards can be instituted by State Referee Associations outside the scope of grade requirements and are intended to promote the development of referees and support the needs of local, regional and national competitions.

Grade 5 – State Referee

The purpose of the Grade 5 State Referee level is to prepare officials for national certification. U.S. Soccer recommends that these officials be assigned to the most competitive regional events and leagues available. This may include lower level professional matches as appropriate.

Those registered as Grade 5 officials will be considered for national certification for the following certification year by U.S. Soccer, but selection is not guaranteed.

Certification Requirements



Previous Game Experience


MO - 25 Adult Division or higher games as a Grade 6 referee and at least 10 as a Referee.


Previous Grade Experience


Minimum 1 Year as a Grade 6 or above




Pass the Grade 5 State Referee Course


Laws of the Game Test


Pass the National Written Test


Fitness Test

Pass the State Grade 5 (or higher) Fitness Test


Practical Evaluation


MO - Minimum of 4 passing assessments


Annual Recertification Requirements

Prior year's game experience


5 Games in Division 1 State Approved Affiliated

Adult Amateur League



Attend a state approved re-certification clinic


Laws of the Game Test


Pass the National Written Test


Fitness Test


Pass the Grade 5 Fitness Test


Practical Evaluation


Minimum of 3 Passing Assessments**


  • All State Referee Association requirements must be made public
  • For certification (upgrade), three assessments in Adult or higher division game and one assessment in a youth game with a minimum 40-minute halves. One of the assessments must be completed in a state adult association league game. Each assessment must be completed by a different assessor of which at least two must be a National Referee Coach. The assessments must be done between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. All assessments must be approved by the DA. Additional certification procedures are available at
  • For recertification (maintenance of grade), three passing assessments completed by three different National Referee Coaches between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.  The three games must be in Adult or higher division game and one of the assessments must be in a state adult association league game. At least two of the assessments must be as a referee. All assessments must be approved by the SDA. Additional recertification information is available at 
  • All applicable assessor travel fees must be paid to the assessor by the referee being assessed before the game starts.

  • Any failing assessments must be made up with a passing assessment. Two failing assessments in the same year will negate your upgrade for the current year.

Fitness Test Administration and Standards

Hosting Requirements

  • EMS and/or a medical trainer must be available on site
  • Available from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. to allow for weather delays
  • Should have a minimum of 6 lanes (400 meters or 200 meters if it is an indoor facility)
  • Surface should be rubber type coating to help prevent injuries
  • Sound system at the track with the ability to play a DVD or audio file on a computer
  • Restrooms and drinking water must be available to the participants
  • Timers, monitors, scribes must be recruited from local volunteers
  • Equipment needed includes colored pennies with numbers on both sides (or pins with numbers), cones, flags, whistles, clipboards and timing watches

Referee FIFA Fitness Test

The official fitness test for referees consists of two tests. Test 1, Repeated Sprint Ability (RSA), measures the referee’s ability to perform repeated sprints over 40m. Test 2, Interval Test, evaluates the referee’s capacity to perform a series of high-speed runs over 75m interspersed with 25m walking intervals. Referees must pass the FIFA Fitness Test at least once a year.   The time between the end of Test 1 and the start of Test 2 is 6 to 8 minutes maximum.


Referee Test 1: Repeated Sprint Ability

  • Referees run six consecutive 40 meter sprints followed by a recovery period after each sprint (while walking back to the start line)·    The ‘start’ gate is placed at 0m and the ‘finish’ gate at 40m.
  • The ‘start line’ is marked out 1.5m before the ‘start’ gate.
  • Referees line up at the start with their front foot touching the ‘start line’. Once the test leader signals that ready, the referee is free to start. 
  • Referees receive a maximum of 60 seconds recovery between each of the 6 x 40m sprints. During recovery, referees must walk back to the start. 
  • If a referee falls or trips, they should be given an additional trial (one trial = 1 x 40 m). 
  • If a referee fails one trial out of the six, they should be given a seventh trial immediately after the sixth trial. If they fail two trials out of seven, the match official has failed the test.

Referee Test 2: Interval Test

  • Referees must complete 40 x 75m run / 25m walk intervals. This equates to 10 laps of a 400m  athletics track. A lap consists of four 75 meter runs with four 25 meter recovery walks. 
  • The pace is dictated by the audio file and reference times are set in accordance with the referee’s category
  • Referees must start from a standing position. They must not start before the whistle. On the whistle, referees are allowed to start running.
  • At the end of each run, each referee must enter the ‘walking area’ before the whistle. The walking area is marked out with a line 1.5m before and 1.5m behind the 75m line.
  • If a referee fails to place a foot inside the walking area on time, they should receive a clear warning from the test leader. If a referee fails to place a foot inside the walking area on time for a second occasion, they should be stopped by the test leader and informed that they have failed the test.

Standards for Grade 5 Referee Certification



Test Type


Sprint Standard


Interval Standard (run)


Interval Standard (walk)


6.40 secs

17 seconds per 75m

20 seconds per 25m