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Apprentice Referee Initiative Garners Lively Responses

Words cannot express the special ‘thank you’ these individuals deserve for their responses to the “An Initiative That Virtually Suppresses Referee Abuse’ article. Hopefully, you will glean some ideas that will help improve the working environment for your apprentice referees. 

How Hard Is It To Just Respect a Fellow Human Being?         Most refs do the job because they love the game and want to give players a safe and enjoyable experience playing the game. There are no hidden agendas, no bias, just a group of people that put their hands up to assist the majority who want to play the best sport in the world in a competitive, enjoyable, and fair manner.

No matter what level we play at, we all moan if an official referee doesn’t turn up, so why to abuse the ones that do? If brightly colored shirts help keep young refs in the game, thus developing more promising match officials, then that’s great. It’s just a shame such narrow-mindedness in the game keeps putting pressure on authorities to find a solution to encourage such a simple behavior – CALMNESS. Daryn McCleave

I Am a Strong Believer in the Idea Posted in the Original Article! I I think it is great for refs to wear something to show they are a rookie. I also like the idea of graduating them through age groups based on the successful negotiation of the previous group. Maybe a 19-year-old being put in the pressure environment of a U-18 game is one of the reasons for such high turnover?

Give refs a goal to attain over a season, celebrate their evaluations and graduation through the year, and put them in games they are able to manage. This may help to reduce the turnover and help refs grow as they move through stages, much like players do.  Vince Jeevar

Good Article, and I Like the Initiative. It’d be nice to see something like this in the U.S. My ref association is losing more refs than we gain season after season. My son will be reffing next spring, and I certainly don’t want him dealing with crazy peeps. Dave Snipes

It’s An Interesting Idea, the “Apprentice” color.   But on the other hand, what other reminder do I need to look at a 14-year-old that this is a teenager still trying to learn what to do? If I’m nuts enough to yell at a kid…am I also sane enough to think about the meaning of their shirt? Paul Herzog  

Paul, sometimes… They don’t look like your average teenager. My 16-year-old is 6’4″. However, he is sensitive, so I generally keep him away from his parent’s side. Rob Weiss

Frankly, I Don’t Care If He’s 16 or 26! The easier solution is to not tolerate this at all. My son, at 13, had thicker skin as a referee than a lot of substantially older kids (and some adults). Why should a sensitive college kid have to put up with crap from parents just because she started reffing at 20 instead of 14?

My state association is pretty clear about zero tolerance–PERIOD–and has been pretty effective at supporting referees in this regard…whether they’re 16, 36, or 56. Do youth referees need more support? Absolutely! But make the policy across the board and make clear to the older referees that enforcement will be supported. It’s worked well in my state! Brad Heers

I See the Benefits of Referee Uniforms Indicating Youth Referees.  As a young referee myself many years ago, I remember the pressure to get calls right, then having the stress of the parents yelling after making a bad call. And I remember feeling as if this was just part of refereeing, and we, as 15-year-olds, were supposed to deal with it.

Years later, as a coach, although much more lenient than the parents I recalled as a youth, I remember pressuring referees after bad calls. Now, with much experience playing, coaching, and refereeing, I have an even more mature perspective. I can look back as a young coach and see how the pressures to be successful contributes, conscientiously or not, to the poor mindset that referees are sometimes “obstacles” to our good game.

I see the benefits of referee uniforms indicating youth referees. It’s an educational process with parents in sports as well, and this takes a step towards the process of increased awareness.

Many overlook that as coaches, we do more than coach our players, we are mentors to the youth in the sport, and that extends to the young referees who are learning through experience. Louie Mata  

At the Time of Enrollment. The parents sign a code of conduct. Make it plain, and do not mince words. The first offense it is 10 matches ‘away’ for the offender. The second suspension is a one-year ban. Require offender to participate in anger management classes &. would require some more work …My kid at 15 refereed a U-7 game —u-7!!!—And one coach actually threatened her, so she quit refereeing on the spot. The kid went on to play ECNL. Horrible! The parent was banned. It was a mess. Mark Zamora

Here Is Something Else to Think About. Just start having them removed every time they yell at the refs! Parents are NOT needed at the game! I do not allow my young kids or us old farts to be yelled at. I address the parents before every match and let them know they will be REMOVED from the sideline if my crew gets ANY abuse! I have had many sidelines removed for this reason. I don’t give a rats-behind if little Johnny’s parents drove 2 million miles and need to see him playDaniel Matthews

The Cards Hold a Lot of Weight In Soccer. In other sports, I see referees getting abused and accepting it more. Go over the line in soccer. The cards come out. Glenn Stanis

AND…Whichever color shirt they wear, the idiots that abuse them will carry on. My personal opinion is the only color they need is red, in the shape of a card.    Robin Adshead

Dear Reader: If the wearing of a brightly colored shirt has acted as a visual deterrent on a small scale, why can’t WE at least attempt to start a grass-roots movement to see if it can work on a larger scale? Just think – making such a simple adjustment and having our younger referees stay with the program for a lifetime…Priceless..!

 If you have any suggestions on what WE can do TOGETHER to bring this simple idea to fruition in D-7 – Please Let Me Know..!