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Welcome to Byron Center AYSO



Who are AYSO referees?

All referees are volunteers.  Many referees start when their children are young and move up with them. Referee training is provided for all age groups and levels.  Youth referees are also AYSO volunteers. Youth referees can be anyone under 18 y/o who is just starting out and AYSO is the organization that helps them begin their career in refereeing.  Many youth referees are former and current players for AYSO and other soccer clubs. 

Many former AYSO referees now referee in the GVSA.  AYSO is where referees get their start!  

Why does AYSO need volunteer referees?

AYSO is 100 percent volunteer organization; we all do it for the kids. Each season we need referees for 10U and above games.  If there is no official referee for 10U and above, the kids don't get to play.  These games require referees.   

How do I become an AYSO referee?

First you must create an account in  AYSO will assign you an AYSO ID unique to you.  You must then complete an AYSO volunteer application form at  Once you are approved as a volunteer, the training to become an AYSO referee is provided to you for free. You should contact our Region's Referee Administrator to get more information about the training schedule for referees in our Region. 

Where do I buy my uniform? 

Referee uniforms are available from a variety of sources.  BC AYSO provides you with one referee shirt and whistle.  Cards, stopwatches, flags, and other items needed for refereeing can be found at the BC AYSO trailer on game day.  

Can I referee my own child's games?

There is no national rule prohibiting a referee from refereeing their own child's game. 

What is Safe Haven?

AYSO makes a commitment to provide a safe place for children to play and compete. The referee has a responsibility to help make the environment Safe, Fair, and Fun. To ensure the safety of both children and volunteers, each volunteer is required to take a short online training session called Safe Haven™. It focuses on safety and appropriate behavior with children as well as first aid and other on-field issues. Agreeing to a background check is also required for each volunteer. 

Safe Haven™ is a unique program that all AYSO volunteers are required to receive.  We can all participate in making the AYSO experience a positive one for our kids.  Safe Haven™ certification is mandatory for all AYSO coaches and referees on a nation-wide basis, and can be obtained by completing the online  Safe Haven™ training is offered at A referee who has been Safe Haven™ certified will be entitled to legal protection for work as a referee under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997. 

Is prior soccer experience required to officiate?

No, but some familiarity with soccer is certainly a plus. Coaches, parents, players, and other volunteers have all proved to be excellent referees even if they have never played soccer. Youth referees are welcome!

What are the certification levels?

There are the six certification levels for AYSO referees. Here is a brief description of the requirements for each: 

U-8 Official 
(minimum age 10) 
Complete the 8U Official Course and pass the 8U Official Exam.

Assistant Referee 
(minimum age 12) 
Complete the Assistant Referee Course and pass the Assistant Referee Exam.

Regional Referee 
(minimum age 12) 
Complete the Basic Referee Course and pass the Regional Referee Exam.

Intermediate Referee 
(minimum age 14) 
Complete 25 games as referee with at least five in 12U games, complete the Intermediate Referee Course, pass the Intermediate Referee Exam and be (observed) mentored in a 12U game.

Advanced Referee 
(minimum age 16) 
Complete 50 games as referee with at least 10 in 14U and five as an assistant referee (in 14U), complete the Advanced Referee Course, pass the Advanced Referee Exam, pass one assessment as referee and one as assistant referee in a 14U match, pass the AYSO Physical Fitness Test.

National Referee 
(minimum age 18) 
Complete 100 games as referee with at least 30 in 16U/19U games and 25 as Assistant Referee with at least 10 in 19U, complete the National Referee Course, pass the National Referee Exam, pass two assessments as referee in 16U or 16U matches and one as assistant referee in a 19U match, complete the AYSO Physical Fitness Test.

Who is the Referee Administrator? What do they do?

The Referee Administrator is the volunteer person responsible for implementing the AYSO National Referee Program in specific parts of the country (Region, Area, Section or National).  They also ensure all 10U and above games have referees so the kids can play!  

Do I have to ref little kids before I can ref the older kids?

There is no requirement to referee younger players before refereeing older players. You may request referee assignments at whatever age level you feel comfortable. Refereeing at the various age levels requires different skills and just because the players are young doesn't necessarily mean the games are easier - they are different! Managing six or seven year olds (and their parents) and managing 14 or 15 year olds requires different skills.

We typically have referees start with 8U games.  This allows for you to master the basics:  coin toss, beginning the game, if the ball is in or out, keeping time, and which team has possession for throw-ins/kick-ins. 

What should I do if there's a  problem at a game with a coach or a spectator?

Report to the Referee Administrator and the Regional Commissioner about all incidents in which a coach or a spectator behaves in a way that makes a game something other than a safe, positive, enjoyable growth experience for the children. 

Official USSF Referee Uniform

We provide you with the gold jersey with black accents.  The majority of our referees wear this color with either black shorts or pants.  We recommend soccer cleats when refereeing.  The cleats do not need to be black.  

Gold jersey with black accents, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuff (short sleeve); black shorts; black socks with three stripe white top; black shoes.

Official Alternate USSF Referee Jerseys

Black jersey with white accents, black collar, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuffs (short sleeve).
Red jersey with black stripes, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuffs (short sleeve).
Blue jersey with black stripes, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuffs (short sleeve).
Green jersey with black stripes, black cuffs (long sleeve) or no cuffs (short sleeve).

The blue or green jersey may be worn when the gold, black or red jerseys will not provide a clear contrast to either team's shirt colors. 

Uniformity on the part of officials establishes initial credibility for them as a team. The referee and ARs should wear shirts of similar color and style. If the referee wears an alternate jersey of a color that the ARs do not have, the ARs' jerseys, whenever possible, should match each other.

What is the appropriate referee badge for AYSO referees?

The only badge appropriate for referees to wear during AYSO games is the current AYSO referee certification level badge earned by the referee. Exceptions: An International Referee may wear his or her FIFA badge; and, if provided, special referee tournament badges may be worn by referees during that tournament's games.

We provide the AYSO referee badges once you have completed the referee training.  

Are referees permitted to wear a cast or splint while refereeing?

The AYSO National Rules and Regulations prohibit players from participating in practices or games while wearing a cast or splint (even with a doctor's permission). However, there is no such prohibition for referees to officiate while wearing a cast or splint even if they are youth referees. The likelihood of an injury to players occurring from contact with the referee's cast or splint is very remote. Some padding on the cast may add a measure of protection.

May referees wear hats or sunglasses?

USSF has modified their recommendations related to the use of referee caps to enhance their support for the health and safety of referees.

AYSO will immediately apply the updated recommendations as follows. If a referee wears a cap, the following requirements apply: 

  • The cap must not endanger the safety of the official or the players.
  • The cap should be solid black or predominately black color.
  • The cap may display the logo of AYSO (preferred), USSF, or FIFA, but should not display other logos, slogans, or commercial marks.

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Byron Center AYSO Region 815

Regional Commissioner: Lenore Montiague 
Byron Center, Michigan 49315

Email Us: [email protected]
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