Youth Soccer Referee Pay

Youth Soccer Referee Pay

Are you considering becoming a youth soccer referee? One of the most common questions that aspiring referees ask is how much they can expect to earn per game.

Key Takeaways From This Article:

  • A Referee in the U.S. typically earns between $20 to $50 per youth game. There are various factors that influence their pay.
  • For full-time referees, the average salary is about $43,000.
  • A center referee usually gets paid more than the assistant referee (AR) typically.
  • For youth referees, soccer tournaments are where it’s at. You can easily get at least five games in on a Saturday or Sunday.

While the answer varies depending on several factors, including the level of competition, the location, and the age group, we’ve done some research to give you a general idea of what to expect.

Youth Soccer Referee Pay

How much does a youth soccer referee make per game?

According to our findings, youth soccer referees in the United States typically earn between $20 and $50 per game.

However, the exact amount can vary significantly depending on the state and the level of competition. For example, referees in some states may earn as little as $10 per game, while those in other states may earn upwards of $100 per game.

Factors that Affect Youth Soccer Referee Pay

Roster Size MLS

When it comes to determining the pay rate for a youth soccer referee, there are several factors that come into play. Here are some of the main factors:


Like any job, the more experience you have as a youth soccer referee, the more you can expect to get paid.

Referees who have been officiating games for several years and have gained a reputation for being reliable and knowledgeable are often able to command higher pay rates.

Referees with more experience will most likely get chosen for larger tournaments where they can officiate many games in a single day.

Inexperienced refs will need to pay their dues and take any game that they can to build a reputation.


The location where you work as a youth soccer referee can also have a big impact on your rate.

Referees in larger cities or areas with a higher cost of living may be paid more than those in smaller towns or rural areas.

Additionally, some states may have higher minimum pay rates for referees than others.

Here’s a clever chart of referee salaries by state.

Level of Play

The level of play is another important factor that affects the referee’s pay.

Referees who officiate games for older age groups or higher levels of competition may be paid more than those who work with younger players or less competitive leagues. This is because higher-level games often require more experience and knowledge from the referee. For example, a referee who officiates a U19 MLS NEXT game is paid more than the local town travel game.

Center Referee vs. Assistant Referee

The Center Referee will most likely get paid more than an Assistant Referee because of their responsibilities.

In youth soccer, a center referee is responsible for enforcing the rules of the game, starting and stopping play, calling fouls, and making decisions on goals and other game-changing moments.

An assistant referee, also known as a sideline referee or linesman, is primarily responsible for calling out-of-bounds and offsides.

Because the center referee has more of a role in the outcome of a soccer game, they are paid more. In some youth games, the difference could be about $15-$40 per game.

Average Youth Soccer Referee Pay

If you’re considering becoming a youth soccer referee as your full-time gig, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to earn per game.

According to, the average salary for a youth soccer referee in the United States is about $43,000 per year.

However, the exact amount you’ll make per game can vary depending on a variety of factors, including your location, the level of competition you’re officiating, and the organization you’re working for.

On average, a youth soccer referee can expect to make between $20 and $50 per game. However, this can vary depending on the state or organization you’re working for. For example, in Pennsylvania, the average salary for a youth soccer referee is $45,083 per year, while in other states, the salary will be higher or lower.

It’s important to note that youth soccer referees are typically paid per game, rather than per hour or on a salary basis. This means that the amount you’ll make can vary depending on how many games you’re able to officiate.

The annual salary also depends on the frequency of games. Many youth referees officiate on the side in addition to a full-time job. If you are making $45k or more, you have to put in a lot of games over the year.

Additionally, some organizations may offer bonuses or other incentives for referees who work on certain games or meet certain performance criteria.

States that Pay the Most to Referees

According to ZipRecruiter, the top ten states for soccer referee pay are:

  1. New York
  2. Vermont
  3. Maine
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Nevada
  6. New Jersey
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Washington
  9. Oregon
  10. Wyoming

Helpful Tips for Youth Soccer Referees

Being a youth soccer referee can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. Here are some tips to help you be successful:

  • Know the soccer rules: Make sure you are familiar with the rules of the game and any specific rules for the league you are officiating in. This will help you make accurate calls and avoid confusion on the field.
  • Communicate clearly: Use hand signals and verbal communication to let players and coaches know what is happening on the field. This will help prevent misunderstandings and keep the game running smoothly.
  • Stay focused: It can be easy to get distracted during a game, but staying focused on the action is important. Keep your eyes on the ball and be prepared to make quick decisions.
  • Be confident: Players and coaches will look to you to make fair and accurate calls. Be confident in your decisions and don’t hesitate to make tough calls when necessary. Don’t swallow your whistle. Be a referee who is not afraid to make calls.
  • Stay in shape: Refereeing can be physically demanding, so it’s important to stay in good physical condition. This will help you keep up with the action on the field and make accurate calls.

By following these tips, you can be a successful youth soccer referee and help ensure that players have a safe and enjoyable experience on the field!

Is It Worth It?

Is it worth investing time and effort to become a soccer referee? If you still love the sport and have thick skin, it can be a great way to supplement your income or do it full-time.

I’ve personally never officiated a game and have zero desire to do so but, for the right person, it can keep you busy while you make good money!

I think the most difficult thing is dealing with crazy soccer parents. You’ll naturally make wrong calls so you may hear a parent yell, “You suck!” If you can brush that off and focus on the game, you’ll be fine.

As a matter of fact, I love it when the official goes to the sideline and addresses the comments. I’ve seen parents get kicked out of games because of their constant berating and heckling.

At the end of the day, if you love soccer, want to make extra money, and don’t mind crazy parents, I think. it is worth it! There’s just so many opportunities for you now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a youth soccer referee make?

A youth soccer referee in the United States typically earns between $20 and $50 per game.

How much do FIFA refs get paid?

For a match in the FIFA World Cup, each referee was paid $75,000.

Can you ref at 13?

Yes, 13 years old is the earliest you can start refereeing soccer.

Beau Bridges - Soccer Novo Hey 👋 I’m Beau. A proud Dad, former coach and soccer enthusiast. I continue to love the game of soccer today the same way I did when I was 7. I created to share what I know about the game as well as provide a platform so other parents can learn more about youth soccer in the U.S.

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