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Recommended Referee Qualifications

These qualifications are determined by the SNRRC, SAY's National Rules and Referee Committee. If you have a specific rule question you can email your question to [email protected]

The SNRRC have considered what would be appropriate for each level of refereeing, and herewith communicate
it's recommendations to you below:


Attention All Referee Supervisors:

The SAY National Referee and Rules Committee (SNRRC) have considered what would be appropriate for each level, and herewith communicate its recommendations to you. The operative word here is recommendations . The Districts and Areas have complete control over assignment of grade levels to referees, and may use any criteria they choose to make decisions. However, SNRRC anticipates that there will be many that will ask for guidelines, and those shown below reflect the committee's best judgment.

Any questions about these guidelines or referee qualifications, please contact the SAY National Office at 800-233-7291 

SAY Referee Badge Levels – Effective January 1, 2021

The SAY National Referee and Rules Committee (SNRRC) has established the following three Referee levels for use in the SAY Soccer program:

  • SAY Referee
  •  SAY Certified Referee
  •  SAY National Referee

The appropriate SAY Referee Badge will be issued to the Referee upon successful completion of the criteria defined for the specific Referee Level.  The National Referee badge will display the current year, while all other Badge levels will not display a year. 

SAY Referee and SAY Certified Referee Level Training and Development Guidelines

The SNRRC hereby recommends the following guidelines for use in training and growing SAY Referees for your SAYArea/District.  The operative word is recommends.  As part of SNRRC’s “Reasonable Flexibility” stance, SAYAreas/Districts may develop Referee training and retention/recertification programs using any combination of the guidelines listed below.  The guidelines are designed to provide the basic framework for a Referee program and can be shaped to the SAYArea/District’s needs and capabilities as desired.

The chart below illustrates what is Required and Recommended for each level of SAY Referee.  We recommend printing the chart and using it as a checklist for the items desired as part of a local Referee Training program.  The Chart Legend is below:

The following is an example scenario using all three of the above guidelines:

The local SAYArea requires that an Entry Level Referee trainee

  1. must provide a copy of their current Concussion Training and SafeSport Training Certificates of Completion documents
  2. attend and complete a four-hour Local On-Line training class and an Outdoor session
  3.  pass the EL-7 test with a score of 66%. 

However, some of the trainees do not pass the SAY EL-7 exam, having scores of 60, 62 and 64 respectively.  Most of the missed questions concern Law 11 – Offside.  After review by the SAY Referee Trainer, the SAYArea decides to allow the trainee to become a SAY Referee and restricts the new Referee to 8U (Passers) level games for their first season.   The SAYArea also requires the new Referee to take a maintenance course or re-attend the Entry Level Referee Training session the next time it is offered.

This would be considered as an acceptable solution for the given example.

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SAY National Referee Requirements

The following lists three Sections of criteria required for the SAY National Referee. 

  1.  New applicants wishing to UPGRADE to the SAY National Referee level need to complete Sections A, B, and C. 
  2.  For existing SAY National Referees, recertification for the current year requires completion of Sections B and C ONLY. 

A)  Requirements to UPGRADE to a SAY National Referee.

The following items / criteria are to be completed by the SAY National candidate and administered and verified by the candidate’s SAYArea or District Referee Administrator. 

  1.  REQUIRED to have served as a SAY Certified Referee (at any level) for a minimum of three (3) calendar years.
  2.  REQUIRED to have officiated at least fifty (50) SAY matches (at any level) as a SAY Certified Referee (i.e., not as an Assistant Referee) in their career
  3.  REQUIRED to have officiated at least twenty (20) SAY matches (at any level) as a SAY Certified Referee in the previous two (2) calendar years.
  4.  REQUIRED to pass the SAY Intermediate Level (IL) Referee Test with a minimum test score of 90%.
  5.  REQUIRED to receive three (3) favorable game evaluations as a SAY Certified Referee (at any level) within the last two (2) calendar years.

B)  Annual Requirements to Recertify as a SAY National Referee

The following items / criteria are to be completed by the SAY National candidate and administered by the SAY National Office.

  1.  REQUIRED to submit to the SAY National Office a completed SAY National Referee Application Form, including signatures of the Referee applicant and their SAYArea or District Referee Administrator, along with the $10 annual registration fee.
  2.  REQUIRED to submit a current copy of a NFHS Concussion Certificate of Completion (, which must have been completed within the last three (3) calendar years.
  3.  REQUIRED to submit a current copy of a Certificate of Completion of U.S. Center for SafeSport Training Please contact the SAY National Office to obtain your free access code. This training must be completed annually.
  4.  REQUIRED to complete the on-line SAY National Referee Test (to be administered annually by National SAY) with a minimum score of 85%.

C)  Instructions to Apply for SAY National Referee Certification

  1. Present your application to your SAYArea or District Referee Administrator for approval and dated signature.
  2. Mail the completed and approved application to the SAY National Office, along with Concussion Certificate, SafeSport Certificate and the $10.00 registration fee.
  3. Upon receipt and successful completion of the all the recertification requirements designated by the National SAY Administrator, a SAY National Referee Badge will be mailed to you. 
  4. As a SAY National Referee there is the EXPECTATION that you provide assistance to your local SAYArea or District Referee Administrator with regard to training, mentoring, etc., as they may designate.

National SAY Referee Application  

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