Frequently Asked Questions

What are the membership requirements for joining NISOA?

There are several requirements for membership.  They include:

  • obtaining a minimum score of 75% on the written qualification examination.
  • 3 years of game experience at the High School level or higher and a total of at least 25 games at this level.
  • 2 field performance assessments at an acceptable level.  The referee training camp assessments may satisfy this requirement.
  • Achieve the minimum requirement on the NISOA Physical Performance Test (PPT).
  • Provide a physician’s statement of health.
  • Provide 3 letters of recommendation (2 from NISOA members, 1 from a college coach, or NISOA assessor / clinician).
  • Submit all dues and fees.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • 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.

What is the NISOA Referee Training Camp?

The camp is a 4 day residential training program that provides classroom instruction, field demonstrations, physical fitness training, officiating games with immediate feedback from clinicians and assessors.  The camp is held annually at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA.  Tuition is currently $500 with a variety of scholarships available.

How much do NISOA 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, contact NISOA Executive Director, Julie Swarts.

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.

94 Responses to “FAQs”

  1. Bob Bagshaw says:

    The Mandatory NISOA Uniform Dress Code Policy Statement, updated and published in the August 2012 Convention Summary states that all officials must wear the same style warm-up. It also states that deviation is an ethics violation. The OSI web site advertises five different styles for sale. Is there a preferred NISOA warm-up or is there the expectation that officials need to purchase multiple warm-ups to conform to this requirement? I personally have two sets of NISOA warm-ups, both purchased from OSI and neither currently advertised in their current catalog.

    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      The two primary warm ups that are acceptable are the black with three white stripes and the blue. An alternate official may be dressed in a warm up and the remainder of the team not have warm ups.

  2. ENRICO ROMANO says:

    I am an assigner and i would love to use my talent to assign college game at any level my college chapter as 50 members 3 are national my HUSON VALLEY soccer referee association I HAVE 850 REFEREE


    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      Assignors at the college level are either independent contractors (conference or local) or hold a position in a chapter that has contracts with schools. You may want to consider contacting schools in your area to see if they plan on requesting proposals for assigning services in the coming years.

  3. gerry says:

    where is it written that you MUST be a NISOA referee and join a chapter to officiate college soccer?? I’ve seen games on TV where the officials are not wearing NISOA badges.

    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      The NCAA has a right to work clause and will not mandate that someone must be a member of NISOA to officiate NCAA games. However, those who work games and not members do not have liability insurance. In addition, assignors, including post season, use NISOA members because they are trained and certified in the NCAA Rule Book. Some conferences have adopted their own patch for officials to wear. This is what you may be seeing.
      Regarding the specific question, the NISOA Constitution and By-Laws indicate that to become a member an individual must go through a chapter.

  4. Matthew Bell says:

    I am just in my second year as a high school official but was hoping to join NISOA and begin working collegiate games. I have done USSF soccer since 2006, centered club soccer games for Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and Florida State, and was selected to work the state tournament this year for my high school association but I noticed you have to have 3 years of high school experience. My first question is: can there be any kind of substitute for the 3 years of high school experience? My second question: If not, what steps should I take in the mean time? (Ex. Can I have my field assessments done at a high school game or take the written exam?) Thank you for your time.

    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      You must have 3 years experience to join NISOA> You should contact your local chapter which can be found on the about us page to determine if they will let you take the written test in advance and they can review the assessmeent criteria.
      Thank you for your interest in NISOA

  5. Hugo Britos says:

    I am interested in taking the 4 day course in July, but it already filled. Is there a waiting list I can get on?

  6. Brian McKay says:

    I have a question regarding the uniform purchase requirement when becoming a member. I have already purchased all NISOA short sleeve and long sleeve first hand because a previous high school association I was a member of used them instead of the USSF shirt. How do I complete the paperwork without having it sent back?

  7. Richard Eddy says:

    I’ve decided to step down as an active collegiate referee. I’m interested in becoming a NISOA Asessor. What is the procedure?

    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      Please contact our director of assessment Gary Huber.
      His information is on the about us page.

  8. Mark says:

    Is there a place where I can locate a list of assignors and what colleges they assign?

    • John Van de Vaarst John Van de Vaarst says:

      NISOA has approximately 124 registered assignors that vary from a few schedules to multiple conferences. If you have a specific area you are interested in please contact me directly.
      thank you

  9. Aaron Corman says:

    If I need a replacement patch, how can I obtain one?

  10. Alex says:

    I would like to say thanks to all NISOA clinician at this year Referee camp at Elizabeth town, you put a great work and effort to teach us more about the game also I would like to thank David Cymerman and Manny ortiz for all your advice and I will keep in mind all your thoughts about my referee performance to become a better official

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