The Role of an Observer
One of the most unique and defining characteristics of ultimate is its reliance upon the players to officiate the game under the sport’s Spirit of the Game ethos. Unlike referees, umpires or judges in most sports, observers do not make active foul and violation calls of a subjective nature. Instead, that responsibility lies with the players on the field. Observers are permitted to resolve disputes – if requested to do so by the players – and may make active calls related to conduct issues or some objective rules such as time violations and boundary decisions.
The Best Seat in the House
Become a USA Ultimate certified observer and take the field alongside the sport’s top athletes. Observing is a challenging and fulfilling way to be active in the ultimate community and gives you a front row seat to the most competitive and prestigious tournaments.
3 Simple Steps to Becoming a USA Ultimate Certified Observer
Attend a USA Ultimate Observer Certification Clinic
These two-day clinics include discussion of the Observer Code of Conduct, officiating philosophies, mechanics, skills and drills and the game-day experience.
Pass a Pair of Tests
Following the clinic, attendees will be tested on the clinic’s content and take a rules exam.
Pass a Practical Performance Evaluation
After passing the tests, the final step to becoming a certified observer is a practical exam that puts you on the field in a real-game situation.
Attend a Clinic in Your Area
USA Ultimate offers observer certification clinics across the country, often in conjunction with sanctioned tournaments. Clinics are taught by certified observer program trainers and cost just $25. The cost is fully refundable after a newly certified observer works their fifth game. Check back often as the clinic calendar is updated throughout the year.
2023 Clinic Calendar
As Easy as 1-2-3…
Recertification is a snap. Initial certification lasts two years and is easily renewed by:
- Working 10 games in a two-year span
- Passing a renewal test.
- Receiving approval from a certified observer program trainer.
Observer Program Contacts
|Byron Hicks||Observer Certification Managerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mitch Dengler||National Observer Directoremail@example.com|
|Atlantic Coast||Brad Tinney||Regional Observer Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Great Lakes||Ben Murphy||Regional Observer Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|Metro East||Linda Kudo||Regional Observer Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|New England||Shiellah Quintos||Regional Observer Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|North Central||Carl Nelson||Regional Observer Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Northwest||Wally Kwong||Regional Observer Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|Ohio Valley||Jake Rathjens||Regional Observer Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|South Central||Marvin Vuong||Regional Observer Coordinatoremail@example.com|
|Southeast||Randall Bugg||Regional Observer Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Southwest||Brian Bradburn||Regional Observer Coordinatoremail@example.com|
The Official Rules of Ultimate, 2022-23 edition.
A comprehensive guide outlining the roles and responsibilities of an observer.
USA Ultimate’s policy on observers and referees. Approved August 2003.