Frequently Asked Questions

What are the membership requirements for joining NISOA? Effective as of August 4, 2020

There are several requirements for membership.  They include:

  • Apply for membership through a Chapter or a Regional Board.
  • Submit 2 letters of recommendation from the following: A NISOA member in good standing with at least five years’ experience of officiating, NISOA Assessor, or NISOA Clinician OR Submit 1 recommendation from a NISOA or Conference Assignor.
  • Pass the NISOA Qualifying Exam with a score of at least 75%.
  • Obtain at least three years of game experience at the high school level or U17 and higher in USSF games. Officiate as a referee in at least 25 games at the high school, competitive, amateur, professional, or other games that the Chapter deems to be at the appropriate competitive level.The games selected to meet the 25 game requirement must include a combination of officiated games as both referee and assistant referee at these levels.
  • Meet the NISOA requirement for the physical fitness test or be exempt from the NISOA test based the equivalent USSF fitness test based on the NISOA policy.
  • Complete all of the above requirements within nine months of the initial date of application.
  • Submit all dues and fees.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Any USSF National or PRO referee is automatically qualified for membership and is not required to complete the above except for A, C, and G
  • All applicants must apply through a local chapter.

How do I find or contact a local NISOA chapter?

Go to the interactive chapter locator map to find the chapter and chapter contact closest to where you live or work.

If I am a member of NISOA how many games am I entitled to receive each year?

Game assignments are the prerogative of the local chapter, local or conference assignor.  Membership does not guarantee any intercollegiate game assignments.

I am an active member of NISOA. What requirements must I meet to maintain being a member in good status?

To renew as an intercollegiate soccer official with the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association, each member must meet the following requirements:

  1. Attend three mandatory local Chapter meetings;
  2. Take the NISOA Refresher Test (No Pass; No Fail);
  3. Take the NISOA Fitness Performance Test or equivalent as approved by NISOA;
  4. Pay annual local Chapter dues and national dues;

At the discretion of the local Chapter, any renewal member who fails to meet the minimum passing grade on the NISOA Physical Performance Test may be placed on probation; he/she may then be assigned one game as an official (Referee or Assistant Referee) and be assessed on the one game. If the official passes the assessment, he/she shall be declared a full member and taken off of probation. In event the member fails to meet the minimum passing grade, he/she may retake the test within six months of the date of failure.

How much does it cost to join NISOA and remain a member?

The initial membership fee is broken into two parts.  A $105 dues and a minimum of $120 referee kit purchase. Renewal dues are $75 to the National office plus any local dues and fees.

How do I buy a new NISOA referee badge?

Go to the forms page and click on the Sales form.

Can a high school member join NISOA?

NISOA has an interscholastic division.  The dues are $20 initially and $15 annually.  The interscholastic member has access to NISOA materials, receives an interscholastic newsletter and is  covered by NISOA liability insurance.

Does NISOA provide insurance?

Yes. Go here for more information.

How can I receive an assessment?

Contact your local chapter officers and determine if there is a local assessor available.  If not contact the Regional Area Coordinator for the geographic region you are officiating in and request an assessment.

Must I pay for an assessment?

Yes.  NISOA has a fee policy for assessors.

Why should I be assessed?

Assessment is a part of continual education.  The NISOA assessor will provide feedback on strengths and areas of development that will improve the referee skills.

How can I advance in NISOA as a referee?

There are many ways to advance.  One is obtaining a mentor from within the local chapter and setting goals for your refereeing career.  Another is to seek out opportunities to work with top officials in the chapter so they can observe your skills and recommend advancement.

After 3 years of membership an individual can apply for the National Referee Program and advance to that level.

What is the National Referee Program?

The National Referee Program (NRP) is the top approximately 10% of NISOA members who officiate at the highest level of intercollegiate soccer and post season play.

How do I become a National Referee?

Please refer to the National Referee link on the home page for specific details.

How much do NISOA national executive staff members earn?

NISOA is a volunteer organization with three, part-time employee positions.  Elected and appointed staff volunteer their time.  They are reimbursed for travel, transportation, and lodging related costs.

How do I get NISOA General Liability Insurance information and proof of insurance?

Check here. If you need a copy of the binder/endorsement page as proof of insurance, follow the directions here.

How do I transfer between NISOA chapters?

Members in good standing may request to transfer to another chapter using the form on the Forms tab of our website.

110 Responses to “FAQs”

  1. I seize this moment to express my gratitude for the opportunity to partake in Elizabeth town training. While I face challenges I saw worth attending and I gain a lot of insight information that will push me forward on broad spectrum. Meanwhile, if I want to further partake in any certification (certificate, assessment, and PPT) do I have to pay for it? Please, your information is imperative, as I plan forward. Thank and thank God.

  2. Any idea how to get a NISOA badge? I recently joined the Alabama chapter, paid my dues, received my packet in the mail with the rule book and everything, but no badge. My local chapter says I should have received it in the new member packet, but I’ve also heard that the local chapter gives out the badges. I’d rather not step out on the pitch without a badge this season. I’d appreciate any information.

    • I have forwarded your issue to the individual responsible for new member packets. He will send a badge. In the interim check inside the red/yellow card packet. The badge is usually in one of the sleeves. Thank you and have a good season

      • Mr. John, Like Michael Smith, I recently joined the Alabama chapter and haven’t received a badge yet – thanks for any help you can provide.
        Tim Holt

  3. I’m looking to buy a new badge as i’ve lost mine and am using an older model.I believe others in my chapter are also looking to order badges.

    • Go to the forms page on this site and use the sales order form located there
      Thank you

  4. I’m looking to join NISOA when applications open up for 2014. I have been reffing high school for about 3 years, I have well over the required 25 game count mark. But they are not all with the Diagonal System of Control. Is this required to be accepted?

    • Chase
      Many states use the dual system for high school and officials do not get the opportunity to utilize the diagonal system. You should work with the local chapter in your area regarding membership. You may want to consider attending the NISOA camp next July. There is a fair amount of time spent on the DSC there.
      Best of luck

  5. I was a member for at lease two year,in the late 80’s early 90’s can not remember,at that time I was a R-7-S-6,I leave in Longmont,CO,I would like to know where is my local chapter to contact the director of the chapter. wen I became a member my fee was $90.00, time change,I don’t recall my I.D. number,is been long time ago.I will be glad to pay the $80.00 for re-membership fees and refill my application for your record.At this time certification is R-7 and willing to go upgrade through N.I.S.O.A. organization, 26years of high school and 33 years of U.S.S.F. 6 years of N.C.C.S.A. I will give you all my new information that you need to contact me,Sincerely your official LIONEL.

  6. What happens if you have been a USSF referee and want to referee intercollegiate soccer? The USSF, by policy, is the sole governing body of soccer in the United States.

    • Intercollegiate soccer is governed by the NCAA, not USSF, who also produces the rule book for intercollegiate soccer. NISOA is the only organization in the country that trains and certifies soccer referees in the NCAA rules. Also, NISOA members have liability insurance for all college games. If you meet the membership requirements as outlined on this web site, you can join NISOA.

  7. i have been a high school ref for 4 years but do not have enough varisty games to meet the requirments due to work. I am a grade 7 FIFA and have a game log with over 100 games, does any of this help me towards the game requirments. Thanks Damian

    • Please contact the local NISOA chapter in your area and they can review your qualifications and make a determination as to membership. Thank you

      • Hi John, Here in Vermont our High School referee association has formed a committee to investigate the possible use of the Diagonal System of Control for perhaps post season play. We also are looking into providing athletic directors the opportunity during regular season play to request the D.S.C. if they wish. I attempted to find out from the National High School Federation folks how many states are using the D.S.C., and they were unable to furnish that information. Your answer to Chase on Oct 7th suggests that the majority of states are using a referee and two assistants. I’d like to make the strongest case for it’s use to our state principal’s association, who governs interscholastic sports in Vermont, by pointing along with the merits of the system, that most or many states have moved on to the D.S.C from the outdated and less effective dual system to give the student athlete the best soccer experience possible. Could I prevail on you to provide our committee the extent of D.S.C. use nationwide in high schools? Yours, Joe Menoff

        • Joe
          I do not believe that NISOA has an accurate record of what states use the DSC. PA and FL use the double dual system. NJ uses DSC for later rounds of playoffs and some areas in the state use DSC for night games. It would take a poll of each state, which I will try and do, to determine what systems are used. If I obtain any information I will let you know.

  8. What are the requirements for a Regional Assessor to upgrade to a National Assessor? And who does he need to contact?


    Klaus Staefe
    ALISOA – President

  9. I refereed for the Colorado College, AFA tournaments,, and other games for a few years in the late 70’s. Today I am a USSF a Grade 7 and ref men’s league, state games and my first year as a nfhs ref. Since I do not have proof of the work years ago is there a way to attend camp or extra assessment in order to become a member?

    • Please email the Camp Director, with your history and he will contact you directly regarding participation at the camp.

  10. I paid my Interscholastic Division Dues last year and got one quartley magazine and that was it. I never got anything else that the form said I would get. I’m trying to learn more about NISOA.

    • Thank you for your feedback. We are in the process of updating and improving the interscholastic program especially with the state associations. There should be more instructional material soon