Head Assistant to the Assignor
USSF Referee and Assignor
Referee - Anyone can referee
You could be a part of our team...
I've loved soccer since I started playing at the age of 6 through the Gwinnett Soccer Association in Lilburn, Georgia. I played at Naperville Central High School where I was the red and white award winner my senior year. I continue to play as an adult.
I began coaching when my oldest child Luke was in kindergarten, playing in the WAA program. In 2010 I obtained an E coaching license to help coach my son's team at Castle AC when he started playing competitive soccer. I also began coaching for Roadrunners SC that same fall season. In 2012 I obtained my National D License. I most recently coached for Kickers SC in Aurora, IL.
I became certified as a grade 8 referee to see what the referee program was like. I am now also an IHSA and collegiate referee.
During the summer of 2014 Roadrunners asked me to become their assignor so I became a certified assignor.
In 2015 I partnered with the Downers Grove Park District to assign referees in their recreational program. In 2016 I partnered with the Woodridge Soccer Association (WSA). Both make for a great place for new referees to get started as a soccer referee.
The link below is a quick start pdf. It is extremely important that you take in all of the information in the FAQs and the Midwest Referee Manual, but this will give you a quick start road map.
Anyone that pays you needs your social security number (SSN) so that they can report your earnings to the IRS. They are legally required to report it to the IRS in the form of a 1099 if you make over $599. You provide your SSN via a form called a W9.
If you get an email from GoPay stating that there's a tax hold on your money please look at the payer to see if it's Midwest Referee, NISL or some other organization. There are instructions in the manual for how to send Midwest Referee and NISL a W9.
When January/February comes around Midwest Referee will send you a 1099 via email and USPS through another thrid party. NISL uses the 1099 functionality in gameofficials and you can retrieve your 1099 from them through the 1099 portal there.
Be sure anyone that is paying you has a W9 on file so they can release payment. I have to give every college I ref for a W9 so they will send a check.
Yes, every referee has to get recertified each year. See the following video to see how to do that.
There are a number of reasons why we use GoPay. The reason we started using GoPay for assistant referees is because prior to Midwest Referee assigning for them, there is a club that was audited and cash at the field did not go over well with their audit. Thus, when we started assigning for said club, they insisted on payment at the end of the season with W9's to be compliant with the IRS. This is not a huge concern for most smaller clubs.
However, the main reason we now prefer and recommend that clubs use GoPay is because we want to make sure that all assistant referees are paid fairly and accurately. When money is exchanging hands at the field it is very easy for someone to "forget" the correct amount to pay. Whether it's intentional or not, when it happens generally the referee is getting shorted. I had one club tell me there's no way this would ever happen, but I can tell you that it happened to me for that club. I showed up for a U16 match for which the coach was to pay $35 and he handed me $25 at the end of the match. Clearly he didn't know I was the assignor. That's an extreme example, but the easiest way to make sure that it never happens again is for no money to exchange hands at the field.
There are plenty of other reasons though why GoPay makes sense. Some less egregious examples would be when a coach or team manager just forgets to bring the money, or forgets to pay, or an AR leaves quickly to get to another match and forgets to get paid. In any of these cases, we have to spend time/resources to track down what really happened by contacting the other referees and the club. This was happening far too often for some clubs so we have been persistent in getting them to switch to GoPay. It's just too time consuming to deal with when there is a much simpler way. Because we pay the recreational leagues at the end of the season through GoPay it makes sense to do the same with assistant referees.
We think it also saves everyone some time at the field. The referee doesn't need to wait around to make sure they get paid. They don't have to ask for money when the coach or team manager forgets. They don't have to worry about a coach jokingly (or not) refusing to pay because they think they didn't perform up to par. And yes, this has happened. I've had coaches tell me that they need to talk to their team first before they pay the ARs. I know as a referee/AR I just don't have the time to wait. I'd rather know that I'm getting paid through a consistent system.
If you're a parent reading this and your child is having trouble getting the muster up to referee a match that doesn't pay at the field, perhaps you could consider doing what others have done to fix this. Be the bank. Pay your child for the match they referee and set their GoPay account to go into your own bank account. That way they get some spending money and you get paid at the end of the season. There is an expense to paying through GoPay that we pass on to the clubs, but it is just not cost effective to pay more than once per season.
We also hope that some referees consider it a built in savings plan. It's very important to learn to save money. You will see the money in one lump sum at the end of the season. One of the benefits to getting a 1099 as such as low wage earner is that you can put the money you've earned in a retirement account to earn money tax free. I'm happy to help anyone understand the benefit of investing early and compounding interest... It's one of the other jobs that I have. Feel free to ask.
We hope you understand that this system is the best for everyone.
Here's a pdf to go along with the video above: Midwest Referee - Availability
That depends on how much you referee and what level we're talking about, but center referees for competitive league matches for youth soccer are getting paid $40-45 per match at the youngest ages. For example a U9/10 NISL, YSSL or IWSL match pays $50. A U11/12 9v9 match is paying $55 and a U13/14 11v11 match is paying $60. The oldest age groups for competitive youth soccer pay over $70 to center. ARs are getting paid on average $25 for the youngest ages and $40-50 for the oldest ages (sometimes higher). Recreational soccer pays a little bit less, but it's a great place to start and still pays very well.
For those that gain experience, you can move up to the next level very quickly. Adult matches typically pay about $60 to AR and $80 to center. High School and college matches which require you to get certified through their respective organizations pay anywhere from $50-85 for a high school match to $120-150 to AR a lower level college match. D1 schools pay over $300 to AR. Center referees at these levels are making a little bit more than the AR.
I was told last night by a PRO referee that MLS referees right now are making over $1000 per match; same pay for center and AR.
This is not something that people typically do as a full time job, but it is a nice way to make a lot of side money and have fun doing it too!
If you're under 16 download the instructions and work permit letter here.
Why do I need to have a work permit if I'm under 16 years old just to be an assistant referee?
The great state of Illinois requires anyone under the age of 16 getting paid to work to have a work permit. Luckily they allow soccer officials to work at the age of 12. They also don't charge anything to get a work permit. It's very simple to get. You can use these instructions and letter to get one. Please read the attached pdf for instructions on getting a work permit. You will need a work permit if under 16 in order to referee matches. It expires after one year, but you must get a new one well before the season starts if yours will expire during the season.
If you are under 14 years of age, please take special notice of this section in the Illinois code which states that you can have your work permit taken away if you do not have a parent, guardian or designated adult present while you are officiating:
(820 ILCS 205/2.5)
Sec. 2.5. Officiating youth activities. Nothing in this Act prohibits a minor who is 12 or 13 years of age from officiating youth sports activities for a not-for-profit youth club, park district, or municipal parks and recreation department if each of the following restrictions is met:
(1) The parent or guardian of the minor who is officiating or an adult designated by the parent or guardian shall be responsible for being present at the youth sports activity while the minor is officiating. Failure of the parent or guardian or designated adult to be present may result in the revocation of the employment certificate.
(2) The employer must obtain certification as provided for in Section 9 of this Act.
(3) The minor may work as a sports official for a maximum of 3 hours per day on school days and a maximum of 4 hours per day on non-school days, may not exceed 10 hours of officiating in any week, and may not work later than 9 p.m.
(4) The participants in the youth sports activity must be at least 3 years younger than the officiating minor, or an adult must be officiating the same youth sports activity. For the purposes of this subdivision (4), "adult" means an individual 16 years of age or older.
(Source: P.A. 92-592, eff. 6-27-02; 93-720, eff. 7-13-04.)
If you have any questions or if your school requires any special forms you can find everything you need here:
The email was sent with a subject of "Midwest Referee - Join My Group", but if you can't find it in your inbox or spam see the link below.