Becoming a good referee involves a lot more than bookwork. You need game time. Not only game time, but quality games- right age group with players who don’t just boom the ball up the field (you want to see a referee suffer- just assign them to a game between two “boom ball” teams where the kicks are all 30+ yards back and forth).
In season, there are probably 4-5 emails a day coming out from different assignors. This game needs an AR. Full crew needed for this game. It truly is a herculean effort by these assignors to get their games filled—and games often have last minute complications which creates a headache for the assignors. Boy, do they have a tough job.
But there are LOTS of referees- and assignors have their trusted & proven “favorites.” So you chase games. You scrutinize the email notifications that hit your inbox. You keep your availability up to date in the assignment portals. How far are you willing to travel? How young a game are you willing to officiate? Are you willing to be an AR (Assistant Referee) or must you be center?
But then June rolls around. And all of a sudden- crickets.
The soccer seasons have wrapped up- youth and adult alike. No more emails from assignors. No longer a need to keep your schedule updated in the assignment portal. And you can feel your referee skills becoming duller and duller as each summer week goes by.
I stay fit by running and lifting weights. That part isn’t a problem. I try to watch games on TV. I keep track of the referees as much as I do the players. Learning techniques and identifying idiosyncracies are helpful. But nothing compares to being on the field.
I got an email today from Kathy. Kathy is an assignor to whom I owe a great deal- she assigned me lots of games in the first few months I was starting out. She assigned me games beyond (but not too far beyond) my experience level because she knew my grey hairs would offset some inexperience.
Kathy wanted to know if I would ref high school summer league games once a week. Of course I will! When you haven’t had a game in 4 weeks this is the best news ever.
July 14th (Happy Bastille Day) will be the first game. Should be 94 degrees on a turf field, but I am seriously looking forward to it. Thank you Kathy! For the first time this summer I will hear my whistle rather than summer crickets.