Don’t be an arse.

Perspective on refereeing

“I have two daughters who don’t play soccer, but if they should ever decide to take it up I’d be glad to know that they were being helped along by the many volunteer referees who come out in any weather and at any time when they could quite easily stay in bed on a Sunday morning or go to a cafe for breakfast and read the newspaper. I would be happy and I have no words to express fully my respect and my gratitude. For this reason I am truly saddened when I see that often in youth matches the referee receives an avalanche of insults because, for example, he has or hasn’t whistled for a penalty. Soccer is a sport, it allows youngsters to be together, to socialize, to learn how to live together and achieve things together. Soccer is essentially a microcosm of life. In life you work with others to achieve results, just as you do in

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The importance of winning!

Mark Suster tweeted this today. Thank you for making me smile @msuster.


Love this sign!


The loneliest person at a game

Some perspective before your weekend games: “I can see you, my son, in front of the television engrossed in the cartoons and in the football matches. We sit on the sofa together and you immediately ask me about the referee. Maybe it’s because when he’s dressed in yellow he grabs your attention, just like the characters from the cartoons. You like watching the man who has to decide, instantly, on a penalty, an offside, a foul. And it’s on him that the people on the terraces unload all the week’s resentment, all their anger in defeat. In football there are many solitary roles: the center forward and the goalkeeper, for example. But the man who is really alone is him, my son, the referee who brings a smile to your face. I’ve known several referees over the course of my career, and I’ve found sadness in all of them, a sadness that’s never been revealed before: it comes from those

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The drama of filling referee slots for weekend games

Following on from yesterday’s NorCal email about respect for referees I wanted to share the below background that very few coaches and parents are probably aware of. There is a LOT of behind-the-scenes volunteer work every week by referee assignors such as Tibor, Dana, Allen, Scott, and Filippo to make sure games can happen as scheduled. Because of the big shortage of referees many referees often volunteer to officiate 3 to 6 games per day on weekends. That’s a total of up to a dozen games per weekend. My wife has threatened divorce on more than one occasion already ;-). Here’s a sampling of typical emails from the referee assignors in one area (just MVLA/Red Star/Force/SASC/West Valley, not the entire Bay Area): Wednesday evening: “This is a blast email to all referees: We have a number of open slots for this weekend, so can you please log in and pick up a game or two in addition to what you have

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Message from NorCal about referee abuse

The following message was emailed to all clubs, teams, coaches, players, and parents today: The NorCal Board of Directors is concerned about the issue of sportsmanship and, specifically, referee abuse within soccer. Quite simply, it is unacceptable for any coach, player or parent to verbally or physically abuse referees, players or any other person involved in a soccer match – or at any other time for that matter! Although the vast majority of games take place without incident, in the first three weeks of the season, NorCal Premier Soccer has seen three cases of referee assault referred to US Club Soccer. Last weekend alone, we saw 19 red cards for violent conduct or abusive behavior. Following this uptick in referee abuse and red card reports, we have moved swiftly, with US Club Soccer support, to address these incidents in the following manner: The NorCal Board of Directors will be notified immediately about any cases of violent behavior; Clubs, with coaches,

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Positive coach behavior last weekend

A friend of mine shared the below from his daughter’s U15 game last weekend. It is likely that the come-from-behind victory wouldn’t have been possible if the coach and the parents had started complaining too much about the referee. The girls most likely wouldn’t have focused on playing the game and instead would have become increasingly emotionally wrapped up in the “injustice of it all”. Pervasive negative energy from coaches and parents definitely affects player performance on the field. The coach was smart and positive – great job! Very different from the experience I wrote about here: A Coach’s Tirade. “On Saturday I watched Carissa’s U15 team get questionable calls for offsides and fouls against them, dictated by the CR (the ARs sometimes looked surprised at the offsides calls that they themselves didn’t make). I think the ref was doing the best he could, but the calls were pretty poor (some of the other team’s parents also agreed with me). I

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