Umpiring is a challenging and exciting undertaking—getting started is the hardest part!

Ask any question about the Fox Valley Blues or umpiring in our association by contacting us.

Interested in joining? Fill out our pre-application.

What kind oftime commitmentshould I expect?

That's up to you. A benefit of the Fox Valley Blues (FVB) is our flexible assigning practices. In a given season, some umpires work as many as 200 games and as few as 25.

Prior to the baseball/softball season, umpires complete their availability so the assignor is aware of umpires' preferences. For example, several umpires choose to officiate only weekend or night games to accommodate their work schedules.

Time spent studying the rules can add to the time dedicated to umpiring, but this is at the discretion each individual umpire.

How muchmoney can I make?  

High school contents yield around $58-62 for a single game. Summertime range from $50-60; College-level umpires make upwards of $110-125.

An umpire may work anywhere from one to 15 games per week from late March through October.

What's neededto get started?  

FVB will guide you through the entire process, which starts with contacting FVB.

We will send you an information kit which includes applications to the IHSA and FVB. Registration to both organizations costs about $100.

Next, a uniform and equipment are required. FVB will walk you through this process:

  • A uniform shirt/pants can cost as little as $75 and an equipment starter package will run as low as $150. (See our list of equipment suppliers for more information.)
  • For the budget conscious, secondhand equipment is available from FVB members at a fraction of the cost.
  • Umpires usually find the initial outlay of cash for equipment and apparel negligible compared to the potential income from game fees.

Additionally, clinics and training materials are optional expenses. Sports-officials insurance is available from third-party organizations such as the the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) and the Amateur Baseball Umpires Association (ABUA).

As an umpire in Illinois, your independent-contractor status makes these expenses tax-deductible.

Must I haveprior playing experience to umpiring?   No. Your dedication to the sport and desire to be a part of it is all that is required.

Will I need to take a test? Attendtraining?  

FVB encourages all members to be IHSA registered. Part of the IHSA registration process is an open book, 100-question examination.

As part of the FVB training, we hold test sessions with our new umpires to ensure they understand these examination questions.

Thereafter, umpires attend an annual rules review meeting and an IHSA sanctioned clinic.

Regular, intense training is provided by FVB to improve our umpires. Our clinics often serve as an IHSA sanctioned clinic.

Books, tapes and manuals are also available with association discounts that cover these topics.

Will I receivefeedback?  

Your performance on the field directly correlates to your satisfaction with umpiring. Providing you with feedback is a priority for our association and we make every effort to make that feedback worthwhile. You can also take advantage of our state of the art Evaluation system. Umpires can go online, request an eveluation for an upcoming game, the request is emailed to all of our evaluators, who would go and select it. They come out to watch you, discuss it with you in person, and then submit an online eval that only you will see. This is the first of it's kind process in Illinois.

Is there anminimum age?  

The minimum age is 17 to work high school games.

As part of our feeder program, we do accept umpires at age 16 with prior experience into FVB.

Several umpires started with the Fox Valley Blues during high school; we encourage men and women of all ages to umpire.

Must I bephysically fit?   Umpiring can be as strenuous as playing. We require that umpires are able to arrive at plays quickly so the best judgment is applied to every situation.

How muchtravel is involved?  

The ever-expanding reach of the Fox Valley Blues make travel for FVB easier than ever.

Umpires around Chicagoland find that FVB game sites are not far from where they live or work. Travel is always left to the preference of the individual umpire. The location of your job and home can influence these preferences.

Assignments are made to ensure umpires officiate games close to home when possible.

Some FVB umpires, however, find better variety and quality-of-play as an incentive for additional travel.

What levels of baseball or softball can I umpire?  

Experience, skill, dedication and hustle influence games assigned.

The opportunities available to FVB umpires range from Little League to college/semipro.

FVB umpires have the chance to make the assignor aware of their preferences for each level of baseball.

Would I be anemployee of the Fox Valley Blues?  

No. We are merely an agent to broker games between umpires and leagues, schools, and other baseball programs.

  • As an umpire, you are considered an independent contractor.
  • Your independent contractor status gives you the bonus of tax deductibility of your expenses.
  • As a not-for-profit educational organization, FVB does not hold liability for worker's compensation or unemployment insurance. Taxes are not withheld, but 1099 tax forms are issued annually.
  • There is special officials-only insurance available when performing duties as an independent contractor.

Interested in an umpiring career with the Fox Valley Blues? Let us know!

We're always looking for good umpires to fill our ranks!