How, when and why did you get involved in soccer? I began playing soccer as a 6 year old in my local recreational league, and played for 3 years. In 2018, Fresno FC was founded, and I attended their first match. That night, I fell in love with the beautiful game. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours studying and enjoying the game of soccer on all different levels, countries, and leagues imaginable.
Do you or did you play the game? To this day, I’ve played 5 years of soccer, totaling nearly 100 games,and will soon be playing in my 50th game at the High School Varsity level.
How and why did you decide to become a referee? What attracted you to it? Since I was very young, I’ve been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes nature of being a sports official. While in elementary school, I’d often volunteer to be the umpire of the recess kickball game, and I really enjoyed it. When I found out how it was possible for me to become a referee at my age, I signed up for the course immediately!
Are you the only family member involved in the sport either as a player or referee? As a player, I’ve been very fortunate to have most of my family in the soccer community. My dad played his freshman year in high school, and both of my younger siblings have played, and my brother is still playing at the youth recreational level to this day.
When it comes to refereeing, I am the first in my family to take on this task, but after being one for the past 6 months, I will absolutely encourage my siblings to follow my lead.
What are your future goals as far as being a referee? I have many aspirations when it comes to being a soccer referee. I’ve enjoyed my time as a referee, and I am hoping to continue my career for decades to come. I plan on trying to upgrade as quickly as possible, with the hopes of someday becoming a referee in the Professional Referee Organization and if given the opportunity, to represent my FA as a FIFA referee.
What do you like/enjoy most about refereeing and what do you like the least? I absolutely love every aspect of refereeing, but my favorite part is getting to meet referees who have more experience than I do. I got to officiate alongside a man who had refereed all over California, and he was able to share priceless information and knowledge when it comes to officiating at the highest levels of soccer. I’ve learned most of what I know about soccer refereeing from mentors, and I think that they’ve been a big part of my success.
There is very little that I don’t enjoy about my time as a referee, but after the long 6+ game days, your hamstrings definitely start to feel some fatigue which is never fun to experience.
What changes would you like to see made in order to reverse the current trend of declining available referees? There are countless different reasons for why the amount of referees are declining. I believe that there are many people leaving the referee scene due to referee abuse. Every single weekend there are parents, coaches, and even players complaining about calls made. One of the main solutions to this could be encouraging players, coaches, and parents to read the Laws of the Game for themselves. This would allow everyone involved to have a better understanding of the game, and would result in growing the game of soccer.
Another reason that some have stopped refereeing is due to changes in life situations. I’ve had several friends who have stopped refereeing due to not having the time. While there’s no direct solution, a quicker influx of referees would help this issue. One step has been taken in the form of online courses, but in person sessions are always required, but not always in practical locations. As I’m writing this, the nearest available course is almost 200 miles away, which just won’t seem worth the time for a new referee.