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How do I become a football official?

First, you need to complete our application form.  Fill out and submit the membership application via the NDFOA website.  You will need to provide a check for a registration fee of $40.00, payable to Northern Delaware Football Officials Association, prior to beginning the new official training classes.

What training is required and when is it held?

National Federation of High School, NFHS, rules and mechanics training classes is required. Our 2024 training classes are currently underway. The classroom portion of the training will be conducted at the General W.W. Atterbury VFW Post 3420. The on-field instruction will be held at various fields around the area.


What equipment is needed to get started and how much does it cost?

The basic equipment necessary to get started on the field includes:

  • short sleeved striped official shirt

  • long sleeved stripped official shirt

  • black athletic shorts

  • black with white stripe all-weather pants

  • black belt

  • black athletic field shoes

  • white crew socks for shorts

  • black socks for pants

  • officials’ hat (black with white piping)

  • whistle

  • yellow penalty flag

  • white bean bag

  • down counter

There is a local and multiple online vendors from whom you can buy officiating equipment and supplies.  Many of these suppliers offer new officials a “starter package”, which typically costs between $150 and $200.  Also, several veteran NDFOA officials donate some uniform items to the new members’ class each year.

How much time can I expect to spend officiating?

New officials start out officiating Youth games.  These can be from either a Sunday league or 7th and 8th grade school games.  The latter are usually played either Tuesday of Wednesday.  ALL new officials are required to be available for officiating seven (7) Sundays throughout the football season and work per their availability if needed.  Though recommended for experience, there is no requirement for being available to work 7th or 8th grade school games. 

As an official’s experience progresses and they are available, they may be moved to higher level games such as Freshmen and/or JV games.  Delaware plays their JV games on Monday afternoons while Maryland plays their games on Thursday afternoons.  Delaware also plays Freshmen games on Thursday afternoons while Maryland does not play Freshmen games.  Again, there is no requirement to be available to work these games.

Finally, a secondary requirement for all new officials is to volunteer to work a minimum of seven High School Varsity chain games over their first two years.  This is to provide an opportunity to watch and learn from veteran officials.

In addition, NDFOA holds training meeting on Tuesday evenings from late August to Mid-November. All members are required to attend 80% of the membership meetings.

How much do I make and when am I paid?

Obviously, how much you make is based upon how many games you work.  Below are game fees from the 2021 season.

Flag Football leagues pay as follows:

... $35.00 - 50 minute game

Youth leagues pay as follows:
... $65.00 - 10 minute quarters
... $60.00 - 8 minute quarters

Middle schools pay as follows:
... $61.00 - 8 minute quarters

Sub-varsity games:
... $70.00 - 10 minute quarters

Varsity games:
... $95.00 - 12 minute quarters

Officials are normally paid via in mid-December.

Are there any other fees or dues that I will have to pay?

For first year officials, only the $40.00 registration fee is required.  This fee is used to register you as an official with the DIAA, MPSSAA, and NFHS. This registration provides you with rules, case book, mechanics manuals along with liability insurance through the NFHS.  In subsequent years, every member pays dues equal to one varsity game fee. This fee covers the registration fees along with a small stipend to maintain the operation of the association.


In addition, you will be charged a small stipend for the School Assigner (7%*), Youth Assigner (7%*), Treasurer (.5%), and Secretary (1%) fees.  While no State or Federal taxes are deducted from your pay, a Federal 1099 will be issued. You are responsible for paying taxes on all income earned.

* The school and youth assigners are paid 7% of all games that they assign. In general, the fees run in the range of 8.5% of your earnings.

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