Whether you are an experienced referee (a.k.a. match official) or just getting started, it is always a thrill to walk onto the field and give a loud blast on your whistle to let everyone know who’s in charge. The minimum age to become a referee is 12 years old for small sided games and 14 years old for 9v9 and 11v11 games.
Ontario Soccer offers two referee certification courses, Small Sided and Entry Level. The first step for those who are 12 years of age or older and are interested in refereeing small sided soccer (7v7 and smaller) is to enroll and complete a Small Sided Referee Course. Those who are 14 and older and are interested in refereeing 9v9 and 11v11 soccer should complete the Entry Level Referee Course.
Referee courses are offered at the beginning of the year before the start of the outdoor summer season.
Please visit the Ontario Soccer website for further information on what to expect as a new Match Official. If you would like to speak with a local official about becoming a referee, you should contact the District Referee Coordinator Mike Smith or Development Officer Beth McClelland.
Register for a referee course – Ref Centre Course Management
Ontario Soccer has moved all referee courses to an online platform. Referee certification (training) comprises a combination of Self-Guided Modules, an ‘In-Class’ online webinar session conducted via Zoom, an online exam, a practical on-field training session and an online signals test. You can find the details on the Ontario Soccer Match Officials Clinic Registration page.
Small Sided Course*
The Small Sided Course is for those who would like to become an accredited referee on 7v7 games typically involving U11 and younger players. Successful graduates are automatically registered for the current season with Ontario Soccer and do not have to register again until the following year. Course accreditation is valid permanently; you will not have to take the course again to continue refereeing Small Sided Games, however you will have to register with Ontario Soccer each year.
The Small Sided Course is based on the Small Sided Laws of the Game.
*Must be 12 years of age (or older) as of March 31 to enroll in this course.
Entry Level Course**
The Entry Level Course is for those who would like to become an accredited referee on 9v9 and 11v11 games. Successful graduates are automatically registered for the current season with Ontario Soccer and do not have to register again until the following year.
**Must be 14 years of age (or older) as of March 31 to enroll in this course.
Referees for most games are assigned by the various Club Head Referees or the Peterborough Referee Branch Scheduler. After you become an accredited referee you can contact the Head Referees for the clubs in your area and ask to be included in their list of referees. Referees for higher level competitive games are assigned through the E2E Ref Centre website.
Resources for Referees
Differences between 9 v 9 and 11 v 11 Games
Small Sided Laws of the Game (7 v 7)
Ontario Soccer Match Officials page
Match Official Resources – Forms, Manuals and Guidelines
Ref Centre Course Management (find a course)
ECOSA Referee Information web page
Ontario Soccer Provincial Development Officers – East Region