The North Florida Officials Association (NFOA) is looking for football referees for the upcoming season.

Referees are needed for middle, junior varsity and varsity football around the First Coast. Last year, the NFOA had about 200 referees to cover five counties: Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. John’s and Baker.

“In the 17 years I’ve been in the association we have never gotten to the point where we couldn’t do a football game,” veteran referee Mike Hayden said.

Hayden serves as President of the NFOA.

Hayden said his organization has lost refs because of attrition, refs moving away and older members unable to fulfill the duties.

“On the books we have about 150 to 153 officials,” Hayden said. “This past year we had probably our worst year with having enough refs to games on Friday Night."

The qualifications for becoming a referee are simple, according to Hayden. People interested must have thick skin, be athletic and have good people skills. Hayden said wanting to get involved with your community is a plus.

“It’s the enjoyment of it, it’s giving back to the kids and getting to see some real high school football talent.”

The NFOA covers nearly 57 high schools and an average of 23 games a week. Pay ranges from $39-$65 a week and training is provided.

“It a seven to eight-hour deal on a Friday night and well worth it.”

To learn more about becoming a referee, please visit their website.