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How to Become a Soccer Referee in Florida (Info & No-Fee Alternatives)

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    There are many ways to become a soccer referee in Florida. This includes many jobs that don’t require you to pay any fees. There are also a few things you should know before deciding to become a ref as well as related jobs you might want to consider instead.

    Options to Become a Soccer Referee in Florida

    Independent leagues have the majority of games and available jobs. Other options include the Florida High School Athletic Association, FLSRC, National Intercollegiate Soccer Official Association, Elite College Soccer Referees, and many independent leagues.

    With the current shortage of referees, it doesn’t make sense to pay for a referee course. There are many jobs that don’t require you to pay fees and pay you the same or higher.

    If you’re new to Florida, you may be familiar with referee unions or other organizations that determine referee schedules, pay scales, working conditions, and complaint procedures. Under Article I, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution, “The right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or non-membership in any labor union or labor organization.”

    Florida Soccer Referee Jobs for Adults

    If you’re an adult, there are many soccer referee jobs open throughout Florida. Your best bet is to go with the independent leagues. These leagues typically pay $20-$25 per hour, don’t charge you any fees to be a referee and have seasons throughout the year.

    The majority of referee jobs do not require certifications and hire directly. You can use sites like Indeed to easily find jobs as a soccer referee, soccer coach, etc. Most leagues don’t ask for more than an online application and informal interview. You generally don’t need any experience except being familiar with the game.

    Here are just some of the local leagues you might want to check out:

    • Miami: South Florida Club Sport, Soccer Locker, Miami Leagues Soccer, Miami Beach Soccer League
    • Orlando: XL Soccer World Winter Park, Orlando Indoor Soccer, 8 Coed Sports, Orlando Club Sport, 6v6 Orlando Adult Soccer
    • Tampa: Tampa Bay Club Sport, Cinco Soccer, SoCo Club Sport, Fast 5 Soccer
    • Jacksonville: Beaches Adult Soccer League, JaxSport, JAX Fray

    Keep in mind that if you become a referee, you’ll need to commit to games ahead of time, and dropping games can be a big problem since it means the games might be canceled for not having a referee. If you’re looking for a truly flexible job that pays the same or better, you may want to check out gig jobs like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Shipt.

    Jobs Comparison

    Certified RefereeIndependent RefereeInstacart
    Starting Pay$20-$50 per game (about 2 hours each)$20-$25 per hour$25-$45 per hour
    CostsCourse fees
    Uniforms and equipment
    Annual recertification
    Shirt and whistleNone
    TaxesSelf-employment taxesMay be contractor or employeeSelf-employment taxes
    Available WorkRoughly 8 weekends in fall
    4-6 weekends in spring
    Some holiday weekends
    Leagues typically run throughout the year with 2-3 month seasonsYear-round
    7 days per week
    Typical Shifts1-3 gamesWeeknights 7pm to midnight
    Some weekends
    Set your schedule
    Commitment RequiredCommit 1-2+ weeks in advance, dropping games will reduce assignmentsLeagues often want regular referees covering all/most of their gamesNo scheduling ahead, log on and claim orders when you want

    Youth Soccer Referee Jobs in Florida

    Minors who want to be referees are usually limited to the paid USSF grassroots referee course. Most independent leagues, even those for youth players, won’t hire minor referees.

    Like any paid job training, parents and referees should carefully consider the costs and benefits. Leagues and paid referee programs have a financial interest in having as many people as possible take the referee course. There are several things you should consider to decide if being a referee is right for you.

    Financial Return

    • Scheduling. Often, a player pays for the course but always has overlapping league and tournament games. When their season is done, no one else is playing, either.
    • Available jobs. Many places have no available jobs for younger referees. Referees age 10-14 used to be hired as assistant referees, but leagues have done away with ARs on many younger age games since those games now have smaller numbers of players and no offsides.
    • Net profit. 2-3 games as an AR making $15 to $25 over 8-10 weeks (if always available) doesn’t add up to much compared to $200+ for USSF courses and uniforms.

    Safe Working Environments

    Other Available Jobs

    Just as the landscape of youth sports has changed over the last 10+ years, parents should also think about the recent changes in retail positions. Publix and other retailers have nearly tripled their starting pay while referee fees have remained relatively flat.

    Here’s a sample comparison.

    Youth ARPublix
    Starting Pay$20-$25 per game (about 2 hours each)Bagger: $10.25-$13.25/hr
    Cashier: $12.00-$16.50/hr
    Grocery Clerk: $13-17.75/hr
    CostsCourse fees
    Uniforms and equipment
    Annual recertification
    Extra self-employment taxes
    None
    Available WorkRoughly 8 weekends in fall
    4-6 weekends in spring
    Often conflicting with playing and school events
    Year-round
    7 days per week
    Typical Shifts1-2 games4-6 hours
    College Tuition AssistanceNoYes
    Advancement opportunitiesVague promises to become professional or college refereeIn-store speciality positions
    Store management
    Various corporate roles

    For the right person in the right place, being a referee can still be a good first job. However, you should treat it just like any potential job and compare options and ask pointed questions to find out if it’s the best option for you.

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