How to Become a Teenage Youth Sports Referee in 5 Easy Steps

Lots of young people get into sports and it ends up becoming a serious career path for them. If you’re passionate and good at the sport you’re involved in, it can lead to scholarships to college and if you’re really good, you can end up playing professionally. 

But what about those kids who’d prefer to referee? What opportunities are out there for them? 

How to Become a Teenage Youth Sports Referee in 5 Easy Steps

Well, there are ways to get into being a referee young! If you read this article, you can find out how to become a teenage Youth Sports Referee in 5 easy steps! 

What Is A Teenage Youth Sports Referee?

A teenage Youth Sports referee is pretty much the exact same thing as a normal referee, they are just younger. They are responsible for the instruction, supervision, and officiating of the match.

Lots of sports such as football, soccer, swimming, tennis, and basketball all need referees, and this is the case for Youth Sports too. 

You do have to be over 16 to be a Youth Sports referee though, so if you aren’t quite at the appropriate age, learn all you can about the job and if you’re serious about wanting to become one when you are 16, get preparing now. 

Being a Youth Referee isn’t for the faint-hearted though. You have to be objective in your decisions and have a strong mind that’s not swayed by others’ opinions. Confidence and great observational skills are essential for this role. 

Do Youth Sports Referees Get Paid?

If you are a referee, you will most likely be an independent contractor. They work when required rather than having fixed hours or days. Referees build up a network and as their reputation grows, more games to work become available.

All referee jobs are paid in accordance with the level they are. Professional referees get paid a lot more than Youth referees for example. 

So, in answer to the question of getting paid, yes, you will get paid but you’ll start off on a lower level of income. 

If you’re just looking to get into being a teenage Youth Sports referee just for the money though, this may not be the best career choice for you. 

How To Become a Youth Sports Referee In 5 Easy Steps

Now that you’ve got a little bit more information on what exactly a Youth Sports referee is, we’ll now go over exactly how you can become one in five easy steps.

With hard work, confidence, and determination, you can become a certified Youth Sports referee in no time! 

Step 1: Getting Certified

The first step involved you getting the right certifications. In order to be taken seriously as a referee and to get good jobs, you need to have the right qualifications to back you. 

There are referee courses you’ll have to pass before you can get certified. These courses usually cover knowledge of the rules of different sports (depending on which sports you want to referee) and how you as a referee would implement them in the game. 

Every sport has its own specific training course, so you’ll need to know which one you want to do. You can look online for the right courses without any issue. 

Once you have selected your course, you’ll want to study as much as possible in preparation for the assessment or exam. 

Once you’ve passed the course, you’ll be given a certificate and/or approved by sports organizations. 

Step 2: Referee Evaluation

Now you have your certificate and you’re knowledge is up to scratch, you will be able to referee your first games. During this period, all the matches you referee will have another referee present who will act as your supervisor and guide.

This whole process is called your referee evaluation. 

This referee is usually older and more experienced and they will teach you everything you need to know about how to referee properly. 

During this time, your title will be Trainee Referee or Apprentice Referee.

How to Become a Teenage Youth Sports Referee in 5 Easy Steps

At the end of your evaluation, you will do an examination that is an absolutely critical part of your training course.

When you pass the exam you will now be certified as a referee, but you still need to get your referee license before you can start refereeing your own games. 

Step 3: Getting Your Referee’s License

To get your Referee’s License, you need to go through sporting associations and organizers that offer referee training courses.

There is usually a fee you have to pay to obtain your license and it varies in price depending on the sports and the associations, so there is no fixed price for a Referee’s License. 

Step 4: Buying The Right Equipment

Now that you have done the correct training courses and obtained your Referee’s License, all you need to do is make sure you have the right equipment for the job. 

The main thing you will need is an official referee’s uniform that is approved and meets the correct regulations of your sport and the governing body it belongs to. 

You may need extra things to go with your uniforms such as a stopwatch, flags, and a whistle. If you do need these things, make sure they meet the regulations of the sport and its governing body before you use them at a match. 

Step 5: You Are Now A Certified Youth Referee

With all the steps complete and the correct licenses and certificates acquired, you are now a certified Youth Sports Referee! 

In some cases, to be fully certified you may need to officiate a certain number of games, but if this is the career choice you want for the long term, that number will naturally come with time. 


If you have a strong mind and are passionate about becoming a Youth Sports referee, there is plenty of opportunities out there. 

It may seem daunting at first to get into the flow of the steps, but once you do get going and you stay committed and hard-working, you’ll be a certified Youth Sports Referee in no time!

Steven Anderson