Why Do I Need
Continuing Referee Training?
“Why should my son attend this training session if it isn’t mandatory?” said the father of two young referees to me at the Winter All-Referee Clinic.
What we do as referees is far from ordinary. There is nothing routine about what we do, other than accept game assignments and show up. Every match provides a different challenge or situation that our off-the-field training may help us to meet. We are required to make many decisions, sometimes hundreds during a game; e.g., keep up with play, often at a high level of fitness, and step up when presented with crowd control opportunities that affect the match.
We do all this while effectively communicating, to achieve the number-one goal of getting voluntary compliance from EVERYONE associated with our game. Oh, by the way, we may repeat the process three or four times on a Saturday.
Why wouldn’t you go to training? Why wouldn’t a parent of a young referee encourage their son or daughter to attend a helpful clinic that would further strengthen their skills? Five hours of annual continuing training is a USSF requirement for Grade 8 referees. Four hours is required for Grade 9. NTSSA does not track the hours for the 5000+ referees at these levels. Meeting the requirement is a matter of personal responsibility as well as part of the ethical commitment we make as referees. Many local Associations also provide training and may track the requirement at their level.
Referees, WE are no ordinary people, WE are rare. Being a referee requires more than some other jobs, in which individuals do not have to interact with the public. With every game we do, we are entrusted with the safety of up to 22 players for 60-90 minutes. Expectations of us are very high in all areas of the game. It requires foul recognition, fitness, teamwork with our crew, and exceptional people skills, to name a few — all at the age of 13. Roughly 70 percent of your NTX referees are ages 13-16. That’s a whole lot of expectations for anyone, especially a young person.
Our goal at the North Texas Referee Program is to help you be the best possible referee you can be.
Twice a year at the All-Referee Clinics, we bring in respected referees to lead the training. These referees have done many games at this level and have done them well. Each of these referees has excelled through the process of becoming a soccer referee and experienced mentoring, assessments and higher-level competitions. Now, they are giving back to our Grade 8 and 9 referees with the credibility of having once been where they are today.
The training is tailored to meet the level of soccer games that Grade 8 and 9 referees will be doing. We realize that not all Grade 8s are the same. Ages range from 13-70. Experience levels range from one game, to 100 games, to well over 1,000 games. We recognize that we need m to have to have something to engage ALL referees who attend, and we design the content with that in mind. Topics are relevant and chosen based on what you will encounter every weekend at this level.
I’m pleased to say that the last few All-Referee Clinics have set attendance records, but we always have open seats for more. While further education at Grades 8 and 9 is not tracked by NTSSA, it only makes sense that one would want to invest in themselves to better equip one’s self to be the best he/she can be on the field. You will NEVER be perfect. You continue to learn until your very last game. Because of this, you should attend training to improve your skills.
If you are a parent of a young referee, please encourage them to attend. The players, coaches, fans and assignors will recognize the extra hours spent each year improving on your skills. You will appreciate the professionalism you gain by attending the clinics and interacting with other referees.