Linda Thompson, a head soccer referee in Northern California, said she makes $45 a game. "You could make $2,000 or $3,000 a year," she told "Good Morning American" today.
Her two assistant refs are mom Erica Johnson and her 14-year-old daughter, Rachel. They each make about $15 a game and might do three or four games in a day.
Depending on the sport and region, rates for referees vary widely. Volleyball refs in Texas make $27 a game and basketball refs in Idaho make $50 for each high school game.
In Minnesota, a football referee makes $30 a night, but a rugby ref in Pennsylvania can make $100 per match.
No matter what the sport, all referees start with a certification class. Johnson and her daughter, Rachel, attended six evening classes before they hit the field.
Referees are in great demand across the country. But in Northern California, where Johnson and Rachel work, the season goes all year long, meaning steady income.
But Johnson said the motivation goes beyond the money.
"Being able to coach or ref or do something with the kids," she said, "makes it more meaningful."