Thursday, June 22, 2017

Great local article in the Washington Post

The Washington Post had a great article regarding the decrease of referees in soccer and other sports and what is causing the issue. The conclusion is that most of it can be attributed to abuse from parents, coaches, etc.

The full article can be found here:

It is something that I had said was one of my reasons for ceasing to referee high school, it was the loss of decorum and the hypocritical aspect of high school that stated that the soccer field (or any other sports' field for that matter) was an extension of the classroom.

Anyway, it was good to see the Post having a say, being accurate and measured in the piece and also it was great to read some names of people that I admire being referenced in the article. Take a look and hopefully in your area things are a bit better.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


The assessor rated it difficult and I thought I had failed. There was so much talk and in the end, I was not aware of all the back and forth that the two teams had for each other.

It started at the end of my partner's assessment which was the first of the two matches. The center for the first assessment match, where I was an AR had a relative benign match until the very end when he had to card the goalkeeper of the team hanging on to a 2-1 lead for holding the ball well beyond the 6 seconds. After that match, the goalkeeper that would turn out to be the main antagonist says that our yellow card was not correct because the goalkeeper was moving. To which I replied, "Try that in my match and see how quickly you get a yellow card." Yeah, it didn't get any better.

I later found out (a couple of days later) that this goalkeeper is always running his mouth and is well known in the league. Another reason to do more games, to be exposed to, and be able to deal with, those complicated players that seem to try and feast on a referee that they don't know.

Anyway, the game went well for a while until the second half when one team tried to make up the difference as they were down 3-1. They scored to get within a goal and from then on, it was a show. The team that was leading started complaining about everything, diving and going in hard. Being an assessment match, I tried to handle things without cards initially. Bad mistake.

The most interesting interaction was at about the 80th minute, the team down 3-2 has one of their big guys go into a challenge for the ball right in front of the assessor on the other side of the benches. I was right there and didn't see much in terms of the challenge. He comes out yelling that the opponent kicked him and tried to throw a punch. The assessor was right in front of it all and yells out, "Cut it out, he did none of that." My guess is that he was trying to help me by giving me info that he had since it happened right in front of him. Since the two players scuffled before I got there, I ended up giving a yellow to both but told the one claiming murder to tone it down as no one saw anything.

In the end, there was more, and I frankly thought I had failed. I felt like it was one of my worst games ever. But the assessor said it was truly a difficult match and while I had not passed with flying colors, I had passed. I thank the assessor for the assist. As I said in the previous post, either I have to learn to like the adult game and not fear it, or I can just go back to being an 8 or 7 and doing the games I like.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Assessment Match stats

I will write about my assessment match from hell tomorrow most probably. I don't have the time or the mental state to write about how much I loathe working some of these leagues, but I did come to the conclusion that I will try and double down on these matches to see if I can eventually remove myself of the hatred I currently have for the adult game. If by the end of 2017 or early 2018, I still despise them as much as I do now, I will just go back to being a 7 or an 8 and do games that I like to do at the older youth level and leave it at that. Why do it if you don't like it? But I am giving myself a chance to get used to doing adult matches that are competitive and that pose a challenge.

Anyway, two takeaways to quickly point out. First is that I passed the assessment, even though I thought it was a failure for sure. Second, I ran 5 miles in between the first and second half. I like the Garmin, it does a good job. Here is a clip from the Garmin Connect website:

Stats for my 1st half run

There are a lot of other stats that are included, like elevation change, or fastest sprints and pace, etc. The way I use it is to set a Run, and use my Garmin as a count up timer. Then I use the other watch to count down. So the Garmin counts up as well as grabbing all the extra info and the other watch counts towards zero. So far it seems to be working. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

That is not one of your choices coach

Another one of those musings that start with "And here I thought I had seen most of everything". I am driving to a game with my daughter and wife. I was heading there right at kick off and knew that we would be short a referee. My wife and daughter were already there. The assignor tells me to be dressed and that she would let the Center know that I was on my way and that I was a parent of one of the players but that since I was the "only option she had" she was going to assign me.

On arrival, I change (into those new shirts I am not too fond of yet) and take the flag about 4 minutes after kick off. My daughter's team is attacking in my direction and in that first half I call my daughter offsides on a close play as well as declaring a no goal on a ball that ran the length of the goal line in a game where my daughter's team eventually would lose 2-1. What I am implying is that if I had wanted to favor my daughter's team, I certainly could have.

Anyway, at halftime, we go to tell the coach that I am a parent of one of the players and the coach goes ballistic. He tells the center that he had a perfectly good AR for him before I showed up and that now he does not want me on the match. I tried to explain that I had already made calls that didn't favor my daughter's team and he immediately cuts me off to say "I don't need to hear anything from you. Go to the sideline and watch the match like the parent you are."

At that point, the center official told him that it didn't quite work like that. He explained that the AR he had originally provided was not in uniform, no longer certified and was also a parent. He went on to explain that I was a State referee and all that it implies and that in the end, he cannot choose not to have me on the match as that is not his call to make.

He explained that his options were to bring his team out for the second half or not. He could not block my being an AR because I was the best option the center had. He could file a protest after the match if he wanted to but that was it.

I was really taken aback by how rude the interaction was at halftime. At the end of the match, the center explained to him that there was a liability issue as well to consider. Should the officiating crew have been sued because of what they did during the match, the AR that was not currently certified would have been part of the lawsuit and would not have been covered by the insurance that USSF offers officials. It was interesting, but in the end it all worked out, however it was testy.

Finally, as I was about to drive away, the other AR comes over and tells me that he was also a parent on our team and he just chose to not disclose that, particularly because he knew that something like what I went through at halftime might occur. To which I responded that he still should have made it known. The reffing dynamic is always interesting that is for sure.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

New Watch

Ok, this one is going to be short but today for the first time, I used my new Garmin VivoActive watch to measure my distance and actually get some more info. This was a U14 Girls match and I ended up running 4.1 miles. 2.0 in the first 35 minutes and 2.1 in the second half. The interesting statistics that I can get from the Garmin device is that you not only get the distance, but you get a map of how you ran your center as well as max speed (11.9 mph) which translates to a 5.15 minute mile on the site.

Take a look at my first half diagonal. It is clear that one team was pushing more than the other as seen how deep I got for one side and not so much for the other side.

Interesting to see how much one runs and where one runs. Very excited to see these additional statistics. I had used it previously for an adult 7v7 center and a D2 Adult match. Those were 2.0 miles and 2.7 miles respectively.

Screenshot of my first half today

Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Shirts

Ok, quick show of hands. Who has bought the new shirts from Official Sports? I got all 10 of them in the Pro cut over the holidays and they started trickling in. Finally a couple of weeks ago, the last one came in. I hadn't used them though and everyone said, you want to go a size down as the new ones are different and hug you more than the old ones.

This past weekend, in a story I will elaborate on later, I had to use the new yellow short sleeve because the old style was in the wash. So I finally put on my small sized shirt and boy did it HUG! I immediately realized that it hugs in the chest/belly area almost like a cyclist shirt seems to do. Wasn't really expecting that level of huggedness.

When ordering originally, I had Official Sports send me a short sleeve and long sleeve in both Small and Medium and sure enough, Small was a better fit but I better do a good job of keeping the weight off (my McDonald's lunch staring right at me right about now) or else I won't really be able to fit. Talk about an incentive!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Assessment Complete

The assessment was completed, nothing too terrible. Game was not really too complicated. One yellow card only and the takeaways are to get out of passing lanes (where have I heard that before, yeah, in other assessments) and to watch for contact above the shoulders.

That last one was the main negative that I got dinged on (as well as my lack of applying consistency with regards to handling). The episode in particular was a short player going up against a larger player for a header. The taller player swung out his arms for balance and made more than incidental contact with the shorter player's face. I didn't perceive it at the time and therefore let play continue but the shorter player evidently took a stronger blow than I thought he had taken and was down. I check on him, he continued playing and then made a reckless foul that earned him the only yellow card of the match. What the assessor told me was that  had I called the contact to the face, then probably I wouldn't have had to deal with the yellow card. And he is probably right. So passing lanes, contact above the shoulder and consistency with handling are the three areas that I need to work on.

My next assessment is in about a month and if all goes well, I will be done for 2017.