USJA Local & Regional Referee Certification – New Minimum Ages

In an effort to expand the pool of referees and develop an interest at an early age we are pleased to announce the following updates to our program which have recently been approved by the USJA’s Board of Directors

Club Referee: Learns to referee in the dojo and at club events, under the supervision of a club instructor and/or a certified referee (Regional/National/International). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years. USJA certification is optional. Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA.

Club Referees under the age of 17 shall be always be under the supervision of at least one certified Regional, National or International referee.

Any Club Referee 10-16 years of age can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Club Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Club Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Club Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision described above.

Certification as a Club Referee, if obtained, or approval of the head Instructor and a certified referee (Regional/National/International), allows a Club Referee to begin officiating and training as a Junior/Novice Referee at Local and Regional tournaments and scrimmages at the Junior Referee minimum age of 10. (Novice Referee designation refers to age 17 and older.)

Junior/Novice Referee: Referees at Local & Regional tournaments and scrimmages. No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age is 10 years for Junior Referee. USJA certification is optional. Certification requires written test, practical test and fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA.

Any Junior Referee (10-16 years of age) can referee within his/her own age group (i.e., a 10-12 year Junior Referee can referee 12 year old & under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee can referee 16 year old and under division matches). Junior/Novice Referees shall officiate under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees. Novice Referees 17 years and older can referee all age/rank division matches, also under the supervision of certified Regional, National and/or International referees.

The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Junior/Novice Referee works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referees. At the discretion of the Jury and/or Chief Referee, a Junior Referee may be allowed to officiate matches in the next higher age group (i.e., a 10-12 year old Junior Referee may referee 16 year old and under division matches; a 13-16 year old Junior Referee may referee division matches of any age or rank) if that individual demonstrates the maturity and ability to do so to the Jury, based on that day’s performance.

Local Referee: Referees at local and regional tournaments and scrimmages. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA). No minimum rank requirement. Minimum age of 12 years.

The head referee on each mat (Jury) shall be responsible to ensure that a Local Referee under the age of 17 works on a team (team = referee + 2 judges) with certified (Regional/National/International) referees. A local referee 12-16 years of age requires approval (and supervision) of Jury and/or Chief Referee to officiate in 17 year and older division matches).

Regional Referee: Referees at local, regional and state tournaments and scrimmages. No change to current minimum age of 15. No minimum rank requirement. A Regional Referee can referee all age/rank divisions. Certification required (written and practical test, fee ($30 or as specified) payable to USJA).

General Requirement: All youth referees (under the age of 17) referenced above shall be accompanied on the mat by judges who are certified Regional, National or international referees, and shall be supervised by national or international Jury (head referee on the mat) at all tournaments and scrimmages.  

The youth referee’s authority shall be limited to conducting and scoring the match.  All decisions affecting the safety of the competitors shall be the responsibility of the adult oversight (certified judges and Jury).

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