What Is The Average Salary Of An MLS Referee?


Refereeing is an important and complex job in any sporting affair. Depending on the type of referee and their experience, their pay can vary significantly from one event to another. In the sport of Major League Soccer (MLS), refereeing is an important and filling career, but one that pays an average salary pointedly inferior to what some referees in other sports earn. This article will explore the average salary of an MLS referee and discuss the opportunities that exist for experienced referees in the league.

What is the average salary of an MLS referee?

What is the average salary of an MLS referee?

An MLS referee earns salary range from $15,000 to $200,000 per year. So, you can easily understand that starting as a referee will not make you a lot of money, it will be a long journey. You will have to go through a lot of work and have to add a lot of qualities in yourself which I am going to talk to you about later.

Description of salary rate:

The meticulous hours worked by an MLS referee in a day will vary depending upon factors such as the referee’s match load, the length of the season, and the amount of added drill desired. MLS referees typically will have a full-time schedule, with the widely held of time devoted to matches, training, travel, and administrative duties. Generally, most referees may work anywhere between 8 to 10 hours a day, but some referees may have days that can extend up to 14 hours or more.

If we talk about the rookie salary of $15,000 per year, then we will get an hourly wage rate of $7.81 per hour, a daily wage rate of $62.5, a weekly wage rate of $312.5, and a monthly wage rate of $1250. I know this amount is not much but if you follow my instructions properly then you might soon reach the average salary rate then in no time the highest rate of $200,000 per year. If we take the average salary of $80,000 per year then we get an hourly wage rate of $41.66, a daily wage rate of $333.33, a weekly wage rate of $1666.66, and a monthly wage rate of $6666.66.

Though at the highest class, a referee could earn millions, let’s say the usual highest salary is $200,000. So, in this range, the hourly wage rate will be $104.16 per hour, the daily wage rate will be $833.33, the weekly wage rate will be $4166.66, and the monthly wage rate will be $16.666.66.

Now let’s talk about a few qualities a person must have that will help him climb up the ladder increasing his pay. A passion for the game: An MLS referee must have a deep understanding of, and passion for, the game of soccer. Referees need to have a strong knowledge of the rules and regulations of the sport. 

Qualities impacting the demand and salary of an MLS referee:

  • First-rate communication skills: A referee must be able to effectively communicate during matches and in post-game discussions. Such an attitude increases the value of a referee. Good communication skills can help a referee to manage the game effectively and appropriately. Referees need to be able to convey information to players, coaches, and spectators in a clear and concise manner. This will help to reduce disagreements and feelings of frustration among all parties involved. By conveying their decisions to players, coaches, and spectators in a timely, precise, and polite way, referees can help to build trust, create a sense of respect from the players and create an enjoyable atmosphere throughout the game.
  • Physical fitness: MLS referees must be in first-rate corporal condition in order to keep up with the fast pace of the match. Referees must also have the cardiovascular endurance to run for extended periods of time and the plasticity to move in fitted places. Physically fit referees are often chosen for big games which affects their salary.
  • Decision-making: A referee must be able to make quick, authoritative decisions under pressure. Referees must possess sound verdicts and the ability to think on their feet. Making a proper decision at the proper time, in a proper way decides if people will trust him with the job or not.
  • Rational durability: MLS referees must be able to handle intense emotional situations without allowing their emotions to affect their verdict. Referees must be able to maintain their composure even in the face of disorder amid players. Keeping sanity during chaotic moments is a very important quality of a well-paid referee.

Things a referee should do to increase his salary:

  • Increase experience and qualifications – The more experience a referee has, the more they can command in salary. Obtaining qualifications such as the USSF Grade 5 or higher allows a referee to be eligible for higher-paying matches. Having more experience makes a referee more reliable in the eye of people which increases his value, and the more qualified a referee is the more likely officials of big games will hire him. This will make a significant increase in salary.
  • Increase assignments – Taking on more assignments can lead to a higher overall salary. Working as a referee, assistant referee, and center referee in different competitions can all lead to more assignments and pay increases. Don’t sit around after a single job. Simply increasing assignments will increase the salary, and working more also means more experience and popularity which increases the demand for that particular referee.
  • Negotiate – When entering into an agreement with a competition or tournament, a referee can ask for additional compensation for working on an assignment. A lot of contractors try to hire referees at a low cost. Knowing self-worth, and asking for the right amount of salary is necessary.
  • Find supplemental work – Referees can look for other refereeing chances outside of MLS in places such as youth matches, USSF-sanctioned tournaments, and public leagues. Getting hired in a tournament where popular teams are going to play will be a great advantage to getting paid the most. When no big tournaments are available working as a referee in small public matches, and USSF-sanctioned tournaments are a must. This gains extra salary and experience. 

Salary increase by experience and popularity:

After you become a well-performing, well-known referee your salary rate crosses the max range of $200,000. Officials with more than 50 games of experience are considered the highest-level referees and can get almost $900 per game, assistant referees receive $500, and the fourth official earns around $300. Referrers who are able to come on TV by attending multiple big-league games can gain huge popularity. This helps them get sponsorships, commercials, and campaigns which can gain them hundreds of thousands of dollars.


In conclusion, the usual salary range of an MLS referee is between $15,000 to $200,000 per year. The salary can be very rewarding once all the bonuses are taken into account. The referees are important and valued people who are integral in the operation of the league, and their salaries reflect the importance of the role they play. While it is not the most glamorous job around, an MLS judge surely can earn quite a nice salary and enjoy the fulfillment of taking part in the sport their colleagues and fans love.

What Is The Average Salary Of An MLS Referee?

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