Over 200 hundred games last year played under the Colorado Soccer Association banner did not have a referee, many more do not have a full complement of officials. The state association has recognized this as one of the most important issues they need to address to ensure that the game we all love can continue to flourish.
The state is hosting multiple regional Grade 8 referee programs throughout this year to increase the number of individuals becoming referees and clubs, including Trebol, are hosting in-house referee courses to try and help fill the void.
There are multiple reasons as to why there is a lack of referees but the biggest reason of all is due to coach and parent sideline behavior. I am certain that no coach or parent sets out in the morning with the intention of getting into an altercation with a referee at the team’s or child’s game, but it happens on a regular basis.
Ten per cent of referees stop refereeing during their first year of refereeing and a further 10% stop after the end of their first year, inappropriate sideline behavior is the biggest factor in driving referees to reach these decisions.
For as long as I have been involved in youth soccer I have always tried to instill in players, teams and members alike the importance of respecting the opposition, the officials and the game itself, yet at times, sideline behavior can be inappropriate and this in turn can have a negative effect on players.
We do not lose games because of refereeing! Soccer is a continuous, free-flowing game and regardless of how qualified, experienced or certified a referee is, players influence games far more than referees. Referees will make mistakes and we need to look at this as a part of the game and use this as an opportunity to teach our players how to overcome adversity rather than an opportunity to belittle the officials.
We all have different opinions on the game, what does or does not constitute a foul and based on where we are sitting watching the game a very different view of the proceedings is had. For the most part we will not be in an ideal position to truly see what occurred on the field.
Winning and losing is not life and death! We are all competitive, we all want to walk away victorious, but it is not the end of the world if we don’t! The lessons we learn in defeat far outweigh the lessons we learn in victory. Development is a process that takes time. Look for the positives, and address the negatives as opportunities to improve. In other words, defeats are opportunities to improve, victories are opportunities to be humble.
Asking for an opposing player to be booked/red carded is wrong. Screaming for a referee to brandish cards to opponents lacks class and degrades us as a club. Referees are encouraged to act as educators to young players, not disciplinarians. The next time you decide to ask for a card, ask yourself how you would feel if it was your child on the receiving end.
Attending a game does not empower you to criticize a referee or a player! Each is doing their best. There are many reasons why a young referee may underperform, do not assume that it is from a lack of effort or talent. Imagine if it was your child that was criticized. If you think you can do a better job please let me know and I will be happy to enroll you in one of the referee courses taking place this spring.
We need to encourage people to become referees and support them so that they can continue to learn and improve over the years, not run them off because we disagreed with a decision they had to make in a split second. As members of Trebol Soccer Club you need to remind yourself that you are an ambassador for the club and when you sign your child up to play you agree to represent the values and standards of the club.
It is not my intention to isolate any specifics incidents as to events that may have happened, as we do not want to treat the symptom, but cure the cause. I now implore all of our members to introspectively reflect on how they feel they represent our club.
Please take two minutes of your time to watch the clip below, and ask yourself…Is this me??
Director of Coaching