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Can we pay referees?

Can we pay referees?

Most people would rather increase the registration fee a small amount to avoid volunteering. There are several problems with this idea such as:

  • Paying people to become referees and doing games doesn’t work.
  • Referees must belong to an association and the Region would hire the association to provide services. AYSO Regions cannot own and operate a company or association – it can only <
  • li>contract for those services with an outside company.
  • The cost is a lot more than most people realize and the increase makes it harder for many people to afford their child’s participation in AYSO.

Why paying people doesn’t work

The offer to pay people to referee is not enough of a temptation to motivate them to go through the training and step on the field for the first time. Most people would still rather pay someone else than to be the one to referee.

Local associations did a survey a few years ago to find out where referees started out and why they started refereeing. All three (3) local associations indicate that 90% or more of the referees in their association started out as an AYSO volunteer referee and they started refereeing because there were not enough referees to do all of the games.

Of the 10% not from AYSO, most were youth looking for a source of income before they were 15- or 16-years old.

If AYSO stopped motivating and training new volunteers to step on to the field and do a few games, then the pool of referees would decrease at a faster rate than it already is. We have already crossed the tipping point where there aren't enough properly certified and authorized referees in AYSO and other US Youth Soccer recreational or competitive club programs to cover games. AYSO and US Youth Soccer need to find ways to fill the top of the funnel.

The truth

Telling people the truth is the only way to force them to look in the mirror to find the person who is going to step up and coach a team or referee. And, the truth is simple:

  • The Article Two, Section 2.5 of the National Policy Statements (see below) state the reasons why AYSO only allows volunteers.
  • The National Policy Statements also state that every game - starting at Under-8 - must have a certified, authorized official or referee where:
  • "Authorized" means the individual has been registered as a volunteer in the current Membership Year and passed the background check. And,
  • "Certified means they have completed the appropriate training to referee the match including completing AYSO Safe Haven and CDC Concussion training.
  • The Region uses a variety of platforms for game schedules where referees log in and sign up to referee games - the Region does not have a referee assignor.
  • If the game does not have a referee (by Friday night), then the game is canceled in its entirety. We cancel games on Friday night because it gives the coaches enough time to tell their teams not to show up since the game cannot be played.
  • A canceled game means the teams cannot play a game of any kind including having a "scrimmage" -- no scrimmages! Coaches can and will suffer severe consequences if they are caught allowing two teams to "scrimmage" when the game has been canceled.
  • The decline of available, certified referees as your child gets older is very quick. We estimate one in four referees who did games in Under-8 will still be active in Under-10. One in four of those referees will still be an active referee when your child is in the Under-12 division. One out of four of those referees might obtain enough training to be an active referee when your child is in the Under-14 division. If you need to add 3 referees by the time your child reaches the Under-14 division, then you need to start out with 192 referees (which becomes 48 at U10, 12 at U12 and 3 at U14). You and everyone else in the Under-8 divisions need a lot of people to step up and to continue stepping up as your child - and their friends - get older and continue playing AYSO soccer.

Consequently, the truth is you - the person reading this webpage - need to decide whether or not you want to be the one to referee, the one to coach or the one to help with the Region's operations? Everyone should decide to help the Region with one of these three important areas to ensure your child - and every child in AYSO Region 144 - can experience one of the best youth sports programs available.

Paying Volunteers

AYSO has maintained throughout its existence a total volunteer concept of operation (except for its National staff) including without limitation, all aspects of coaching, officiating and local administration. Countless Regions across the country provide a successful and enjoyable soccer experience through such total volunteer efforts. Nevertheless, AYSO recognizes the pressures of day to day life that compete for the valuable volunteer time sometimes make it difficult to provide a quality soccer program solely with volunteers. However, various federal and state tax and labor laws apply when payment is provided for services which, if ignored, may incur significant liability for the AYSO organization and personal liability for the executive member and/or board members who approve or condone such payments. Such liability is not covered in the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 for these volunteers. It is the purpose of this policy statement, therefore, to reinforce AYSO’s allvolunteer concept but to provide a protocol for a Region to follow when it is felt that it must pay for certain services.

The National Office has prepared guidelines for Regions to use, which have been approved by the NBOD for distribution. Regions contemplating payment for services must consult these guidelines first. No payment may be made by a Region to anyone for services commonly provided by volunteers that is not in strict compliance with those guidelines. Failure to comply with these guidelines when paying for services may result in the suspension or removal of the person(s) responsible and could result in the revocation of the Region’s Charter. executive members and Regions, Areas, Sections or Tournaments engaging in practices that are not in compliance with the guidelines must understand that doing so could expose them to personal liability in any legal action arising from any payment for services.

How much more would it cost?

The following table shows a typical association fee per game structure and how this breaks down into an increase of about $55-60 per player. Furthermore, the Region would have to eliminate scholarships and registration discounts to cover the additional cost.

Note that referees must pay an annual fee to the association and the league. These typically add up to about $100/year. Referees must also complete background checks and get fingerprinted.

Typically 3-person referee teams earn the following: Referee earns $0.67/minute and each Assistant Referee earns $0.50/minute. Plus, the association and assignor get another 10% of the fee to cover operating expenses, pay to assignors, and business licenses/insurance.

In conclusion, every player's registration fee would need to go up $50-60. If we take into account scholarships and registration discounts, then the increase is closer to $70/player registration cost increase per season.

10U 12U 14U 16U 18U 8U Averages
Game (minutes) 50 60 70 80 90 40
Players/Team 10 12 15 18 18 6
Games/Season 10 10 10 10 10 8
3-person team
Referee: $/minute $ 0.67
AR: $/minute $ 0.50
Referee $ 34.00 $ 40.00 $ 47.00 $ 54.00 $ 60.00 $ 27.00
AR (each) $ 25.00 $ 30.00 $ 35.00 $ 40.00 $ 45.00 $ 20.00
Association Fee $ 8.40 $ 10.00 $ 11.70 $ 13.40 $ 15.00 $ 6.70
Total/Game $ 92.40 $ 110.00 $ 128.70 $ 147.40 $ 165.00 $ 73.70
Total for season $ 924.00 $ 1,100.00 $ 1,287.00 $ 1,474.00 $ 1,650.00 $ 589.60
$/player $ 46.20 $ 45.83 $ 42.90 $ 40.94 $ 45.83 $ 49.13 $ 45.14
Referee: $/minute $ 1.50
Referee $ 75.00 $ 90.00 $ 105.00 $ 120.00 $ 135.00 $ 60.00
Association Fee $ 7.50 $ 9.00 $ 10.50 $ 12.00 $ 13.50 $ 6.00
Total/Game $ 82.50 $ 99.00 $ 115.50 $ 132.00 $ 148.50 $ 66.00
Total for season $ 825.00 $ 990.00 $ 1,155.00 $ 1,320.00 $ 1,485.00 $ 528.00
$/player $ 41.25 $ 41.25 $ 38.50 $ 36.67 $ 41.25 $ 44.00 $ 40.49

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