When I started this blog, I fully planned that most of the entries would revolve around my primary “hobby” of being a soccer referee. While soccer is truly a world game, played and watched by billions of people, I remain amazed how little is known about the Laws of the Game nor how the game is managed by the officiating team. There are hundreds of anecdotes floating around my head and I wanted to try to share them via this blog. Looking at it now, it’s turned into a techie help page which is fine and dandy but not really what I intended. So let’s try one about being a soccer referee. I started officiating when I was still young and playing the game. After a bit of a layoff, I recertified with USSF and restarted as a grade 8 over 15 years ago. Anything I’ve ever done on the soccer field, I owe to my mentor, Rodney Kenney who let me sit in his office and talk soccer for hours. Things just came together for me. The World Cup was coming to the USA, I worked with the USSF National Referee Administrator and we had two FIFA referees living in the area. Everyone associated with Florida Soccer Referees was very helpful and truly assisted me developing as a referee. There was an assessment and instruction structure within FSR that really helped make sure I could improve as a referee as well as meet my administrative requirements to recertify each year. I was in the right place at the right time. One of the last things I accomplished before I left northern Florida was to become a member of NISOA, the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association. I had become a state referee and many universities and colleges were starting their women’s programs so more matches became available.
When I came back to the New York City metropolitan area, things changed drastically. Eastern New York was structured much differently with a different emphasis (I’m being polite here so I don’t come off as totally bitter). Getting the required assessments was next to impossible except for the years where I was fortunate enough to work the youth State Cup finals. When I wasn’t able to get the required maintenance assessment from ENY, the SRA told me he’d be happy to register me as a 7 and I could start the process again. I knew right there that my affiliation with ENY USSF was over.
Fortunately, NISOA, specifically the NY Metro ISOA chapter and Werner Rothschild, gave me the chance to stay on the soccer field as a referee. I’ve done a couple of NCAA final fours since and am now a NISOA clinician and assessor. Maybe one day I will go back to USSF as a referee instructor and/or assessor. Maybe.