Written by AJ Condon

Being a referee isn’t an easy job, but it’s a necessary position for the completion of youth sports at all levels. 

Recently there has been a referee shortage due to a combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a hostile environment that parents, coaches, and players are creating. That results in cancellations and missed opportunities for kids to play the sport they love.

Becoming a referee isn’t a hard process and it allows individuals to help kids develop life lessons and uphold the integrity of sports. However, the toxic environment that has been created makes the industry the opposite of a hot commodity.

At the high school level, signing up to become a referee is as easy as going to their website. They ask you for some basic contact information and to select the sports you are interested in. After that, someone from your local High School Athletic Association will contact you for further instruction.

Lower levels for referees will most likely require some form of class or training to get started, but age requirements are younger. Being high school athletes, students can become a referee of youth sports to make money on the side, give back to the community and also allow their parents to hear first-hand what being a referee is like.

The hope with high school athletes becoming referees is that parents will understand more of what it takes to be a referee. Then, when they go watch their kids at the high school level, they will have more sympathy for the referees on site going forward.

The job is very demanding and takes a lot of pressure the higher you go in the industry. But, it is important for the industry to continue to grow to give kids of all ages the same opportunities of playing sports as long as they want. 

The pay for being a referee varies from state to state and sport to sport, but it isn’t uncommon for a starting referee to be making $25-$35 an hour. The higher up you go, and the more qualifications you have, the higher your pay can and will be.

Playing youth sports is very important to a kid’s development in many ways. Staying active, building relationships and teamwork are a few of the positives to take away from sports.

So how can the referee industry become more approachable and appealing for people to get into? Refr Sports is trying to tackle that with its new mobile application.

Refr Sports is creating a modernized system that makes scheduling referees easier for both sports coordinators and referees. The app will allow coordinators to be transparent about time, location, play, and requirements, while referees will be able to clearly see what is needed and how much they will be compensated.