New Member FAQ
Membership Form [Required]
W-9 NEWEST FORM [Required]
Our Association Meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
All of the meetings are conducted on ZOOM. The day before or that day an email
will be sent with the Zoom login information.
We begin promptly at 7:00 pm and usually finished by 9:00pm.
However, if you want to actually be assigned games you must be:
- A current USSF certified referee – grassroots or higher
- USSF certification is around $65.00 (currently)
- Must follow CalSouth’s requirements to certify
- A current Cal South certified referee
- On the 2023 certified referee list
- Completed LiveScan if 18 or older
- Uploaded current photo to Cal South’s referee database
- Complete IESRA membership form and send to IESRA Secretary
- Pay $30.00 retention to cover initial game fees.
- Complete a W9 form and send to IESRA Treasurer (both W9 and membership form can be sent together to our P.O. Box
- All Fall and Spring pay-on-the-field games require a retention fee paid in advance, your initial $30 will go toward this retention. Future retention fees will be assessed through tournament or other pay by check games.
- Wait to be assigned and Arbiter account. Arbiter is the program we use to assign CalSouth tournaments, League tournaments and SCNPL games
- Once you have received the Arbiter email – login and complete filling out the required information – including uploading a photograph of yourself.
- We also use the CSL app for Spring League and Spring League Cup referee assignments, that information is below:
You will need to put the CSL app on your phone as that is only way to be assigned games for the 2019 CSL Spring League (and League Cup). You will also be scanning (taking a picture) of the match report and physically entering the scores into the CSL app. For this first season you will all retain a copy of the actual match report until the end of the season “just in case” something goes wrong…..
Here is a link to help you do that:
Please view the video before downloading the CSL Referee App – it’ll help.
There are two very similar CSL apps – one is an old version that does not work and the other is the correct one. The video shows which one is the correct one.
More information is below.
Emails requesting to be set up in our system cannot be processed until steps 1 – 5 are completed.
Thank you for your understanding
Where or how to I contact someone?
- Physical mail is always sent to:
P.O. Box 1763
San Bernardino, CA 92402
- Emails may be sent to
How does one become a referee?
- First you need to take the current year’s certification test and pass. This can only be done through CalSouth and does take some time to complete.
- Then you need to wait patiently while USSF and Cal South processes your information and USSF sends you your patch.
- During this waiting period your name will appear on the current year’s CalSouth Certified Referee list. You can follow this list on the CalSouth website: www.calsouth.com. Go to the “referee” tab and click on the “registered officials list”. At the top of the first paragraph click on the “’Current Year’ Registered Officials list”. This will bring up and alphabetized PDF file with all of the referee officials certified to do games for the current year. Once your name appears you are almost ready to go. If it seems to be taking too long you may contact Cal South at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to follow up on your registration.
- While you are waiting for this all to happen (several weeks in some cases) you can contact Cal South at (email@example.com) for what is required for your Live Scan process – where, when and how much it’ll cost (depending on where you go). Once this is accomplished the word “Approved” will be in the last column next to your name.
- Once all of the above finally falls into place you will be “official” to officiate. Much of the process is out of the control of IESRA – and you must follow up in a timely manner to see that you get on the certified list and Live Scanned.
- On the IESRA website is a ton of information – some of it actually useful. Visit it often to see what has changed and new information will always be posted there. You will need to download, print, fill in, sign and return the IESRA Membership form and the IRS Form W9.
- If you have any other questions, please email us and we will attempt to help.
- Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- All refs are very helpful and are there to support each other. Please feel free to ask questions or advice to any ref. We are a team.
- Try to watch out for one another. Keep money in pocket and protect your ref gear.
- How do I get paid for the games that I referee?
- It depends on where you referee. Tournaments are usually billed for the games that are covered by IESRA referees. When IESRA receives payment, on your behalf, check(s) are issued to you and usually handed out at the General Membership meetings (see IESRA website at www.iesra.org). If you are not present to pick up your check(s) then they are mailed within a week or so to your current address on file with the Treasurer (Keep your mailing address current with the Treasurer – if checks are “lost” through the US Mail you are liable for the cost of cancelling and re-issuing of your check). Coast Soccer League (CSL) usually pays on the field, in cash, at the time of the game. Unaffiliated games (example: Riverside Adult League) usually pay cash on the field also.
- Remember that there are game fees assessed on the games that you do. Game fees are a per game charge for the games that you are assigned to. For all games the charge is $1.00 per game, IESRA has no monthly or yearly association fee for you to worry about paying. You will also see a charge each year for Arbiter membership – every other association that uses Arbiter tacks on the cost of Arbiter to your yearly membership fee and since we do not charge you a yearly fee, we charge you the direct cost of the program instead of some “average” cost. You will see these charges on your service invoice that the Treasurer emails to everyone. When IESRA began, years ago, it was felt that it was unfair to charge a flat yearly fee considering that some referees only officiate a few games while others officiate almost every weekend.
- I’ve heard that if I referee that I will be reimbursed for my uniforms.
- This is an old program that the Coast Soccer League,www.coastsoccer.com, did for youth referees. It had nothing to do with IESRA and is no longer offered.
- How do I get Coast Soccer League games?
- Coast Soccer League games are assigned through IESRA’s assignor. Initially you would follow the steps outlined below.
- Do I need to be certified? What if my certification has lapsed? What is “certification”?
- Yes, you need to be currently (for this calendar year) certified through USSF in order to do affiliated games. If your certification has lapsed or you don’t know your certification status, you can check on it at www.calsouth.com. At that website they also have a listing of entry-level clinics and recertification clinics that are available to attend. Current certification means that you have attended an entry-level clinic or a recertification clinic (which consists of either two-or one-day training sessions) and passed the USSF test for the current year. All of this is done with the intent to have the most knowledgeable referees actually doing games.
- I am having trouble finding out what happened to my registration form that I sent in some time ago. How do I find out what happened?
- A first step would be to check to see if your name is on the California Referee List. Go to www.calsouth.com and look for the referee link that will take you to the current year’s list of registered referees. If your name does not appear on that list or you have any other questions contact Cal South at (email@example.com), and they will answer your questions as soon as they can.
- Where can I find out more information?
- Most questions can be answered by going to IESRA’s website www.iesra.org and exploring the links and available information.
- What if my questions still aren’t answered?
- IESRA’s Board of Directors will be happy to answer any other questions after all of the above avenues have been explored and reviewed. You may contact the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to start.
First, some very general advice
- Start slow – be willing to start with the youngest ages and on the “easiest” games. And be patient — experienced referees make it look easy, but it took many games to get to the point where their skill and confidence show through.
- Note that your referee badge has a year on it. Your certification is good for one year. To maintain your certification, you must recertify every year. Annual recertification is what entitles you to get paid for what you do.
- getting assignments and learning how to be a referee – which as you know by now involves much more than just knowing the Laws of the Game.
- There is a flip side to this. As a referee, you will be counted on to honor your commitments to your assignments and to behave at the field in a professional manner (more about this later).
- Make sure you communicate with your assignor. If you are a player, let them know your schedule.
- Very important, know your personal schedule. Don’t accept assignments for days, for example, on which a class trip or a family outing is planned.
- You will from time to time get sick or injured. Let your assignor know as soon as possible if you will not be able to make an assignment.
- Let your assignor know if you have conflicts of interest such as family members playing on or coaching teams in the same league. You cannot accept assignments if you have a conflict of interest.
Before you leave for the Field for Your First Game (and for all games)
- Your Referee Gear. At the end of this guide, there is a checklist of the gear you’ll need when you show up at the field for your first game. Local sporting goods stores generally carry some referee gear, although choices will be limited. Soccer-only stores will have a better selection and will be able to give advice about gear. There are also many online retailers for soccer gear and some who offer starter kits (uniforms, flags, whistles, the infamous red and yellow cards, etc.) for new referees at reasonable prices; search online under ‘soccer referee gear.’
- Look like a Referee. Don’t underestimate the importance of looking like a referee. The respect you command starts with how you look.
- The gold shirt is the primary color for referees so it should be the one of the first jersey’s you purchase right away. You must have at least one alternate color at the same time you purchase the yellow jersey and then plan to buy the others as quickly as your budget allows. If you are only getting one style, buy the short sleeved ones. You can add the long sleeve jerseys later, then probably black short sleeve and so on. Please, no white sneakers, shoes must be good turf shoes and all black!
- Laws of the Game. You learned the Laws of the Game in your certification class. There is no substitute for a thorough and complete knowledge of these laws. You won’t know the nitty-gritty of all 17 laws yet, but promise yourself that you will know the laws as best you can.
- If there is something you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask – your instructor, assignor, your club referee coordinator, an experienced referee – they love to help new referees.
- Know the mechanics for referees and assistant referees found in the Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and 4th Officials – the difference between the signal for a direct free kick and an indirect free kick, for a goal kick or corner kick, etc. You should have received this booklet in your entry level course. A very useful source of information to answer many questions may be found in the Advice to Referees which is published by the USSF and may be accessed via the Internet
SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR THE NEW REFEREE The rest of this guide is about practical stuff not covered in the Laws of the game. If you follow this advice, we can’t promise you won’t have any problems (even referees in the World Cup have problems), but you sure will be able to handle them better.
What to Do When You Get to the Field
- Try to arrive at the field at least 30 minutes before the game. We know this isn’t always possible, but the 30-minute requirement gives you time to get all your pregame preparations done without rushing and gets you mentally ready to ref.
- Make sure your referee shirt is tucked in and your socks are pulled up. Look like a referee from the moment you arrive.
- Pick out a safe place to put your chair and gear. This will usually be on the team side of the field or behind one of the corner flags. If it’s a hot day, look for a shady place. Often if there are several referees at a field complex; it’s a good idea to sit together.
- If you don’t drive, make sure you have made arrangements for someone to pick you up to take you home. Bring change for emergency telephone calls or a cell phone as well as the telephone number of your assignor and club contact.
- Inspect the Field. Make sure it’s safe for the players (and for you!): Goal posts MUST be securely anchored to the ground. Do not start the game if the goal can tip over. Sandbags on the frame towards the rear are acceptable. Goalposts don’t have to be in the ground, but they must be anchored.
- Look for holes or depressions that could cause twisted or broken ankles and see if holes can be filled.
- Nets should be securely fastened to the goal posts and netting pulled back so as not to interfere with the goalkeeper.
- The field should be properly lined and corner flags should be in place and not dangerous to players (at least 5 ft. high).
- If anything is needed, the home team is usually responsible for fixing field problems.
- Any issues with the field should be noted on your game report.
- If you are the center referee, check in the coaches and teams: Greet each coach with a firm handshake, a smile and look each coach in the eye. Observe each team as it warms up. There is no need to line the teams up on the 18-yard line and give them a lecture or have them tap their cleats – unless your league rules require you to inspect the players. Do not tell players how you are going to call the game and what you are going to call and not call — this can cause you major problems in the game.
- Make sure that all jewelry, earrings, watches, adornments. etc. are removed. If you spot a problem such as player wearing a necklace, simply advise them that if they wish to play then they must take it off. Medical IDs must be taped to the player’s chest or taped to the wrist with the info showing.
- Conduct the coin toss ceremony a few minutes before kickoff. This doesn’t have to be in the middle of the field; you can do it on the sidelines before the teams finish warming up.
- Get a game ball from the home team, and start the game on time.
When The Game Starts
If You’re the Referee
- You will probably do more games as an assistant referee at first, but if you are assigned as a referee, you may or may not have assigned assistant referees: If you have assigned assistant referees, remember to conduct a pre-game conference with them. Tell them what you would like them to do in various situations such as throw-ins, free kicks, goal kicks, etc. and make sure they understand what you are asking from them.
- If you do not have assigned assistant referees, you can ask each coach to get you club linesmen for each side of the field. You will let them use your flags and will ask them to help you know when the ball goes out of play over the touchline or goal line. Instruct them to raise their flag straight up so you can blow your whistle to stop play; you decide in which direction the restart should go. Tell them you will handle calling fouls and offside (if offside is used at the age you’re working).
- Be aware of your position on the field. It’s tough enough to call a soccer match when you are on top of the play — it’s impossible to make correct decisions when you stay in the center circle. Even when officiating at the small-sided game level, get in the habit of being in the proper position and working hard. The best position is where you are near enough to play and have an unobstructed view of both the players and the lead AR.
- At first, you may have to remind yourself to lift the focus of your vision from the ball and the legs of the players so you learn to take in the whole area of active play. It is normal for new referees to have to make this conscious effort to lift their eyes. Once you are more experienced, it will be instinctive for you to see a large area of play if you condition yourself to do this from the beginning.
- Maintain good eye contact with your ARs throughout the game. A good habit to get into is to make eye contact with your ARs on every dead ball situation.
- Make your hand signals clear; point the direction with a straight arm.
- Blow clear and sharp whistles. Learn how to make your whistle “talk” for you. Use the whistle to communicate control. On your first call, give the whistle a firm blast and confidently point in the direction of the play. A firm whistle will eliminate 50 percent of the arguments. Vary the strength of your whistle depending on the infraction – for a serious foul, blow the whistle very loudly.
- Be decisive in your calls; players and coaches may try to take advantage of the situation if you seem unsure.
- At half time and after the game, review all the results (number of cards, scores for each team and any incident that occurred, as well as the information required to be reported by that particular league) so your game report is accurate.
If you’re an Assistant Referee
- Pay close attention to the referee during the pre-game conference. If you don’t understand something the referee is saying, ask what they mean. Make sure you understand what the referee wants you to do in managing substitutions, how long to hold the offside signal, etc.
- Hold the flag in the proper hand. The flag should always be field side so the referee can see it. If you turn sideways to walk up or down the field, switch hands with the flag as necessary so the flag is field side. Switch the flag from hand to hand in front of you, below your waist, and not above your head.
- If offside will be called in the game you’re doing, the referee will rely on you to signal offside. Stay even with the second-to-last defender (remember – the goalkeeper is usually the last defender); this positions you to make accurate offside decisions.
- Make eye contact with the referee as often as possible throughout the game when you are not watching for offside or attending to other AR duties.
- Follow the ball all the way to the goal line so you’ll be in position to see if the ball completely (even just barely) crosses the goal line. Following the ball to the goal line each time is an excellent habit to get into.
- Run to the corner flag, or close to it, when signaling for a goal kick or corner kick. Raising your flag yards away from the corner flag or goal line not only calls attention to the fact that you’re not in the correct position to make that decision, but also carries with it the idea that you don’t care enough about the game to be in the proper position to make the call.
Dealing with Problems
- Soccer is a passionate game, and sometimes the referee needs to help keep passions in check. There is no right way to handle problems. Each referee develops his or her own “personality” on the field. Very often it’s trial and error to find out what works best. What follows is some advice that successful referees use to help them get through difficult situations.
- Don’t have too thin a skin — you don’t have to pay attention to everything you hear from coaches, players, and spectators. There will be times you have to act, but try not to overreact or act too soon.
- Understand that you have the authority within the Laws of the Game to end a game at any time if you believe things get out of hand with coaches, players, or spectators. Some referees go through their entire career without terminating a game before the final whistle, so don’t think this is a power to be used lightly. Hopefully a referee mentor will be with you on your first few games; let the mentor handle these kinds of problems.
The difference between Tournament games and League games are this:
- Tournament games are held throughout the year by the different soccer clubs/organizations. They are at various locations in Southern California – usually the “home” fields of the sponsoring club or at one of the soccer complexes. As far as referees are concerned there are no websites to log in and accept assigned games. Referee Coordinators are at the various sites and will have the referee schedule of assignments. You should give yourself enough time to arrive at the site, find parking and to find the Referee Coordinator (so that you will know which field is yours). Referees should also review the Tournament Rules (usually posted on the club’s website) to see if there are any special circumstances applying to the tournament. The assignor usually calls individual referees to tell them what site and time they have been assigned games. Remember the time given to you is “game” time and you must check in with the Referee Coordinator a minimum of 20 minutes prior to that time.
- League games are held during the Fall and Spring season. Coast Soccer League is the sponsor of CSL’s Fall League and Spring League Soccer is the sponsor of Spring League. Each League has its own website and procedures for accepting games. Game locations are throughout the Inland Empire, Temecula and Victor Valley areas. The assignor gathers all referee’s availability and enters them into the League’s assigning website. Once he is done he sends an email out to the membership letting them know to go to the appropriate website (Fall or Spring) and accept the games as assigned. There are no Referee Coordinators at any sites so it is up to the individual referees to know where they are going and what time to be there…plus print your schedule and take it with you, in case of any conflicts.
- Signing up for the various websites can be confusing. This is why IESRA has gone to the Arbiter assigning system. Don’t worry, there is another link on the IESRA website: www.iesra.org that will help you with this easy way to accept games and also give your availability to the assignor.
- Before anything else, you must be a USSF certified referee. This means that you have gone to a Referee Clinic and passed the certification test. Referee Clinics are held through Cal South only. Their website is www.calsouth.com and you would follow the “Referee” link to find a Clinic near you to attend.
- Once you have followed those steps you may finally be able to be assigned to games. Assigning games can be very difficult for the assignor and the more flexible you are with your availability – the more likely you are to be assigned games. Flexibility means – days and times you can referee; distance you are willing to travel to go to games; your age; your experience as well as other factors. Keep all this in mind when you request games.
What equipment do I need in order to referee?
At a minimum, each referee AND assistant referee should have:
a) black referee shorts
b) black USSF approved socks (black w/three white stripes at top mandatory; USSF logo socks optional)
c) one each: yellow, green, red, black and blue USSF referee jerseys (note there are short- and long-sleeve jerseys available). Plan on eventually getting all colors.
d) a set of “red” and “yellow” cards
f) pen and paper
g) watch with a “timer” or “stopwatch” feature
h) comfortable soccer shoes or cleats
i) one pair of assistant referee flags
j) a “flipping” coin
k) the current year’s “Laws of the Game” and “Advice to Referee’s”
l) a notebook to track the games you do (date, time, location, division, game length, referees worked with, etc.)
m) a clipboard (to facilitate filling out match reports)
n) blank copies of the USSF Match Report form
o) your current referee registration card (or copy)
p) enough water and food for the time that you will be officiating
q) some type of referee bag to hold all this stuff in
- You must have already taken and passed the USSF Referee Certification Clinic (information on www.calsouth.com and follow the Referee link).
- You will need to go through the Risk Management requirements/process of Cal South.
- You must fill out and send in the IESRA membership form along with the retention amount.
- When the above steps are completed you will receive an email from ArbiterSports welcoming you to IESRA Arbiter and you need to follow all of the steps outlined. For a review there is another link on the IESRA website: www.iesra.org for you to follow on using Arbiter.
- Information will come from: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
- Responses to this email address will be used primarily to send the Assignor changes in your availability or difficulties meeting your commitments.
- Be sure that your spam filters are set to allow those emails through. Also, check your spam/trash folder(s) until you are properly receiving emails
- You must complete the ENTIRE sign up process in order to receive emails. This includes the steps necessary for Arbiter to transmit your availability properly to the assignor.
- If you DO NOT follow ALL steps – you may not receive emails.
- There are typically many more referee available on any one weekend than there are games to officiate. New members, or members just joining from other Referee Associations will need to be patient until a weekend where there are sufficient games to be assigned. Referees that are Assistant Referees only will find that there are a limited number of openings.
- IESRA has a mentoring and evaluation program for all referees. Contact the 2nd Vice President (email@example.com) or Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org)for more information.
- Remember that there are game fees assessed on the games that you do. Game fees are a per game charge for the games that you are assigned to and help pay to run our association. For all games the charge is up to $1.00 per game. You will see these on your service invoice that the Treasurer emails to everyone. These fees are in lieu of a yearly membership fee and are used to run our association. When IESRA began, years ago, it was felt that it was unfair to charge a flat yearly fee considering that some referees only officiate a few games while others officiate almost every weekend.
If you have any questions or desire to talk to someone please contact: