Referee shortage/YOU can help!

Nebraska State Soccer Members- 

While the excitement of Fall soccer is upon us, we also have challenges we want our membership to be aware of. Nebraska Referee Development Program has communicated that we have a severe shortage of referees at this time.  The need for more referees is not a problem unique to Nebraska, it’s a nationwide issue across all sports, but the shortage in Nebraska will directly impact your games in both league and tournaments this year. 

The shortage is due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: 

-COVID-19 has many referees not re-certifying with uncertain future of games

-Prevalent referee abuse that causes new and learning referees not to come back

-Lack of individuals willingness to become a referee to increase the overall pool. 

The reality is that, while the NRDP referee assignors will work together and do their best to get full crews on as many games as possible, most of you will notice not all of your games will be filled.  NRDP is actively working to recruit potential referees, entice former referees to recertify and create ways to grow our base of referees.  The shortage affects us all, and we should all work together to fix the problem. 


How can you help?

1. Become a referee! Parents, coaches, and players are all encouraged to take the New Referee Certification course to help us grow the pool of referees. Refereeing is a great way to earn some extra income, stay active and help grow the game in Nebraska! New Referee courses can be taken online here and on field training session are being scheduled throughout the season. Visit NRDP’s website,, to get started today!

Or, you can view the instructions on how to become a license referee at this link:

If you have been a referee in the past, contact NRDP today to learn how to recertify! 

2. Offer facilities for referee training! Clubs can help NRDP out by simply offering field times for on-field training! This helps get more referees trained and helps improve the referees’ skills to make them better prepared for games right away! Contact Wayne or Brittny if you want to help with field access. 

3. Help us recruit more refs! Clubs can actively promote becoming a referee to their members by directing them to NRDP. NRDP has fliers and marketing content they are happy to provide so you have all the information you need! Post fliers, send emails, post on social media and more! Get the word out that referees are needed, and everyone is welcome! 

4. Prevent referee turnover! Referee harassment and abuse is the number one reason referees don’t come back. Make it a club and team policy that referee harassment is not tolerated! Referees get better by doing more games- they are human, and mistakes will happen but your response to mistakes will determine if a referee comes back better next game or quits for good. 

5. Avoid unnecessary league game reschedules! The number one stress on referee scheduling is league games being rescheduled. Some reschedule requests will happen, and rain-outs are a guarantee, but teams can help by using other tools like inputting blackout dates early or club passing players when roster numbers a short, to keep games as scheduled as often as possible. When games get canceled or added late, it changes much more than just that one game and has a ripple effect on referee availability. 


Thank you as always for your support of the beautiful game and the referees that are an integral part of it.

Nebraska State Soccer