(from Oregon Referee Committee:)
To be a successful soccer referee certain traits and skills are needed. Note that there is a difference between traits versus skills. The dictionary defines a trait as "a distinguishing feature or characteristic". Skill on the other hand is said to be "expertness, practiced ability; facility in an action." In short then traits are attributes that you have from birth (such as temperament) and skills are acquired through training and practice.
It takes a certain combined set of both traits and skills to succeed at this sometimes demanding task. Traits of patience, "unflappability", optimism and a comfort with people are extremely handy for the background of a potential referee. In addition to the skills of knowledge of the game (being a former player is handy but not altogether absolutely necessary), physical fitness (a must!), knowledge of the Laws of the Game and application of the spirit of those Laws (their intent) as well. A degree of physical and mental maturity to handle the job is needed. For this reason Oregon Referee Committee (the group that oversees the training, registration, assessment and advancement of referees in Oregon) requires that referees doing competitive games be at least 13 years of age.
To be a soccer referee is challenging even in the best of times. One needs the inner strength and motivation (not just money) to do the job and keep doing it over time. It is certainly not for everyone and this introduction is meant to better inform those who may be considering becoming a soccer official before they take the time and effort to do so.