USAFL UA Umpire Accreditation Scheme – 2024 Update


The USAFL UA follows the AFL Umpire Accreditation scheme in all aspects. Below is the process by which an umpire may gain accreditation for Field, Boundary, or Goals. We are also adding the umpire coach accreditation pathway, although that is still run by AFL. Because the Accreditation Scheme is the same as used by the AFL, all accreditations awarded under this scheme are equivalent to being accredited as such in Australia.

The USAFL UA Umpire Head Coach is responsible for accreditations in the US. In addition, the USAFL UA works in conjunction with AFL Canada and its subsidiary leagues to promote and support umpire accreditation across all of North America.

Any inquiries should be directed to

USAFL Accreditation Levels

There are three accreditation levels recognized by the AFL and these are being adopted by the USAFL UA. Previously, the levels had numbers with the higher number equating to a higher level of accreditation. The new nomenclature equates to the old numeric system as follows

Level 0 is now known as Introductory Certification

Level 1 is now known as Development Accreditation

Level 2 is now known as Advanced Accreditation

In addition, we are including the coaching accreditation scheme as well, which the USAFL UA adopted in 2018 and is now promoting as part of its growth plans. This is run by the AFL in conjunction with the USAFL UA (by video conference in part due to geographic limitations!)


Field Goal Boundary Coach
Introductory Certification Introductory Certification Introductory Certification Introductory Certification
Development Accreditation Development Accreditation Development Accreditation Development Accreditation
Advanced Accreditation Advanced Accreditation Advanced Accreditation Advanced Accreditation


USAFL UA Accreditation Process

There are two parts to the accreditation: Theoretical and Practical.

Theoretical – Umpire candidates need to set up a profile in the AFL Learning Management System AFL Learn to access the latest umpire training, directly from the AFL. First-time users can go directly to the registration page at AFL LMS New Account Page. Once your profile is set, courses can be completed at your own pace. Each successful completion of your courses concludes with a Certificate of Completion. Please remember to download each certificate to be able to forward it to your USAFLUA Umpire Coach. Most start at the AFL First Bounce course located at

Practical – The practical portion of accreditation is the observation of your skills in the game. A minimum of three observations is required and is normally done over a period of time so that feedback can be incorporated into your skillset over time. Observations can be done by an accredited coach at any time. Typically, this starts with observations at a regional tournament and then during the season, you have multiple coaching sessions via phone with the USAFL Umpire coach and then are observed again at the next Nationals for your accreditation.

Introductory Certification

Introductory Certification (formerly Level 0 Accreditation) was added to the USAFL UA Umpire Accreditation Scheme to recognize those individuals who have begun the process of becoming an accredited USAFL Umpire. This accreditation level is now a formal part of the accreditation scheme in Australia. Introductory Certification accreditation applies to all three categories of umpire simultaneously.

The requirement for Introductory Certification accreditation is to attend and complete a sanctioned USAFL Umpire Clinic (the theoretical), and to be observed umpiring at least one match (the practical). This applies to all three categories of umpiring because the umpire clinic curriculum covers all three categories.

Development Accreditation

Development Accreditation (formerly Level 1 Accreditation) requires completion of the Introductory Umpire Course (the theoretical) and a minimum of three game observations (the practical). Accreditation is a process because it takes a period of time to develop the necessary game management skills, and it takes time to be involved in sufficient game situations to have some of the less common situations occur. The purpose of the observations is to ensure that the umpire has displayed sufficient levels of knowledge of the laws, how to apply them, and how to manage the match at a basic level.

Advanced Accreditation

Advanced Accreditation (formerly Level 2 Accreditation) requires completion of the Level 2 Umpire Manual with your Umpire Coach (the theoretical) and a minimum of three game observations (the practical). Accreditation at Level 2 requires that the umpire demonstrate an advanced level of game management skills, a high level of understanding of the laws, and exhibits match control when atypical situations arise.

Umpire Coach Accreditation Process

The AFL owns the Umpire Coach Accreditation process and works with the USAFL to conduct the accreditation process for aspiring umpire coaches in North America. As with the umpire accreditation process, there is a theoretical and a practical component. The theoretical component is conducted via webinar with the AFL umpire coaching staff. This is set up on request with the AFL and is not offered every year, only when enough coach candidates have stepped forward. The practical component is running an umpire clinic and being observed coaching umpires on game day.

When Does Accreditation Occur?

In the US, due to the difficulty of being able to perform in-person observations, they are completed at the USAFL National Tournament. However, if the Umpire Coach can complete three observations on-site at games during the season, the accreditation may be granted. This applies separately to each category of umpiring (so an umpire may be accredited at Level 2 Goal, Level 1 Boundary, and Level 0 Field, depending on what has been completed).

Where are the Materials?

Below are links and pdf documents for Development Accreditation and Advanced Accreditation. In addition, the documents for Coach Accreditation are referenced (although this accreditation must be done by an accredited AFL umpire coach and currently there are none outside of Australia).

AFL Laws of the Game

You may download the current AFL Laws as well as the USAFL Laws (which detail the differences for USAFL sanctioned games).

Spirit of the Laws

This document is a great handout to give to teams and new players so they can understand the role and purpose of the umpires.

The Ultimate Umpiring Guide

While this is now a bit dated, it is still an excellent manual to guide an umpire in how to apply the laws of the game.

Umpire Diary

It is highly recommended that an umpire keep a running diary of matches, especially during the drive towards accreditation. This log book will help you remember what you did well and what you need to continue to improve.

Who is My Coach?

The USAFL UA Umpire Head Coach is Jeff Persson. He can be reached at with any questions. Currently, he makes himself available on Monday nights during the footy season. The USAFL Goal Coach is Toby Persson. He can be reached at Both are available to do phone coaching sessions to help umpires prepare for a successful accreditation at the USAFL Nationals in October. You are encouraged to take advantage of this if you are truly serious about achieving your accreditation as an umpire.

How Long Does Accreditation Last?

The awarded accreditation is valid for four years. If you are accredited at any time in 2023, your accreditation is valid through 2027 at which time you will need to either re-accredit or advance to the next level. The process for reaccreditation is simpler, in that you need to be observed demonstrating the same skills you already have demonstrated to achieve the accreditation.
Most likely this will be at the Nationals in October but it could be done at a Regional tournament if a qualified coach is able to do the observations.

Umpire Accreditation Materials