Grand Valley Soccer Association



Referees have an essential role within the Grand Valley Soccer Association (GVSA). Without referees, players would not be able to play games. A USSF referee who wishes to be considered for GVSA game assignments must be a member in good standing of the Grand Valley Soccer Officials Association (GVSOA). Links to the membership application are on the GVSOA home page ( and on its Statement tab within the About Us tab. A link to the GVSOA brochure is also on the Statement tab.

Basic Requirements

All referees assigned to GVSA games must be certified for the current calendar year by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) at least as a Grassroots Referee and a member in good standing with GVSOA. Referees must wear their current year USSF badge at each game and should have their USSF registration card with them while officiating.

While GVSA is a learning league, it is not an entry level league. Younger/less experienced referees are assigned to the younger games, while older/more experienced referees are assigned to the older-age games.

One referee and two assistant referees are assigned to u9 and older games. When appropriate and necessary, a club-line may be used in a game when two assistant referees cannot be present.

Please note: GVSA does not assign referees. Assignments are made by the referee assignor for each member club. Each referee assignor is USSF-certified and matched to each club by GVSOA.


Game Procedures

All referees must make themselves familiar with the GVSA REFEREE GAME DAY PROCEDURES for the current season.

The most important points of emphasis are:

1)Referees are expected to be at the field 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of a game, unless they are finishing a game on another field, and

2)Referees must make each game report accurate and complete and email or mail it to GVSA within 24 hours after the game.

Each team must give a GVSA game report and their pass cards to the referee prior to being checked in. The home team pays the referees prior to the start of the game. Each pass card must have that person's picture attached, and the card + picture are to be laminated. If the id cards are not laminated, write on that team's game report the cards were not laminated.

All players and up to 3 team officials must be checked in prior to the start of the game. The game will not be started under any circumstances until this is done. Each player must be registered to the same team (the team name and ID number are on each pass card). Unregistered players cannot be added to the roster, be checked in, or participate in the game. A check mark should be made by each player and coach to indicate they have been checked in. Any listed players or coaches not participating should have been crossed off by the team. If not, please do so.

Players registered to a team and listed on the roster, may play without a pass card provided that the team official provides a photo of the missing player(s) pass card and the team roster showing the player(s) is (are) registered to the team. If both items are not provided the player/team may not participate in the match and the teams may not scrimmage. If both items are provided, players with missing pass cards must print their name, jersey number and birth date on the back of their team's roster with their signature. The referee must note the player(s) without a pass card who the coach chooses to play. GVSA will verify their eligibility when the game report is received. The coach playing the player(s) with the missing pass card(s) must concede the game as a forfeit. GVSA will record the game as such. The opposing team must play as a normal league game. The referees will officiate as a normal league game and be paid.

Adults without pass cards and risk management card CANNOT be with the team during the game. Use of just a risk management card is not allowed. Each adult in the team area must have a current GVSA issued pass card, RM and be checked in. Under no circumstance can more than 3 adults be in the team area. Only 3 coaches and/or managers should be checked into the game. In the event all coaches are ejected from the game, a manager or other team official may be checked in to allow the game to be completed. Pass cards are to be returned to the team official after the check-in and before starting the game.

Referees will be paid by the home team before the game is started. They will receive pay for the position assigned. If the whole crew does not show up, the team does not need to pay for the missing referees.

At the conclusion of each game, the players who scored goals; team officials and players who received yellow or red cards and the reasons for the cards must be noted on the game report form. The final team score on each game report must equal the individual goals recorded. A team official from each team must sign the game reports to verify the goals scored and players/team officials who received cards. If a team's officials refuse to sign after being asked, note those events occurred and submit the game report forms without their signatures. Team officials must not make comments on the game report- it is only for the referee. After the referee leaves the field sportsmanship scores need to be added on the game report. Additional comments may be added to the back of the report or in a letter attached to the game report. The referee CANNOT alter the cards issued or the reported goals after a team official signs the report.

Game reports must be sent to GVSA within 24 hours of the game's final whistle either by email to or PO Box 888680, Kentwood, MI 49316.

Each referee is paid at the field prior to check-in, even if the game is not started or completed due to circumstances beyond the referee's control (ie lightning). Club linesmen are never paid. Referees must dress and act professionally at all times. Jerseys are to be tucked in and shoes must be predominantly black. Basketball shorts and sweats are inappropriate dress.

The pay schedule and basic game information for GVSA games are:

Age Group Referee Assistant Referee Half Length Ball Size Number of Players
U7-U8 Club Assigned None 20 minutes 4 4v4
U9-U10 $35 $25 25 minutes 4 7v7
U11-U12 $40 $30 30 minutes 4 9v9
U13-U14 $55 $40 35 minutes 5 11v11
U15-U16 $65 $45 40 minutes 5 11v11
U17-U19 $75 $50 45 minutes 5 11v11

Registration with USSF

Referees are no longer certified by the USSF as grades 9, 8, 7, 6 New referees are certified as Grassroots referees and retain that grade until they have acquired the necessary expertise and management skills to be upgraded to the Regional Referee grade. Recertifying grade 9, 8 and 7 referees are recertified as Grassroots referees. As a result, the Grassroots grade encompasses referees who have never worked a game to referees who are assigned to State Cup games. Grade 6 referees are recertified as Regional referees.

If you are interested in becoming certified as a USSF referee (whether or not you have any experience as a referee), the Michigan Referee Committee's website ( has the information and access points to help you complete the USSF registration.

Ways in which local clubs can promote referee programs and opportunities

The quality of referees in West Michigan is very dependent upon the quantity and quality of our local referee pool and the areas they reside in. Local clubs have a crucial role in partnering with GVSOA and the Michigan Referee Committee to expand and improve our local referee program by reaching out to their players, families and coaches, and encouraging them to become USSF certified. Without this support the referee pool cannot maintain a sufficient number of referees to develop the skillful officials we want refereeing GVSA games.

1) Consider hosting a Grassroots certification and recertification courses in your area. Courses are typically offered in the winter months well before the start of the spring season. In some circumstances a course can be offered during the summer. Contact the Michigan State Director of Instruction (Yuya Kiuchi, with possible dates/times/locations for courses. If instructors are available, they can be assigned to the course and it will be posted for registration. GVSOA can help you with this process.

2) Promote the USSF referee program in your area by publishing their information on your websites/calendars and encourage participation. Courses are published at:

3) Notify club and team officials, parents and players about the opportunities refereeing presents. We suggest doing a broadcast mailing or e-mail with prompt and frequent follow-ups.

4) Promote becoming a referee to coaches and athletic directors of the high school soccer teams in your area. Their teams and programs benefit when their personnel become USSF-certified.

5) Make sure everyone in your organization is aware of the opportunities and how to access them.

For more information, assistance and help to arrange a referee course in your area, please contact any GVSOA administrator or assignor listed at under the Contact Us tab.

We look forward to working with you to provide the quality referees the game deserves.