Become A North Texas
By Brian Beaky
When I was in high school, I needed a job. The only problem was, I lived in a small community, one where the number of eager teenagers looking to make a buck exceeded the number of available jobs.
I loved soccer, loved being outdoors and loved meeting new people (OK, I was a teenage boy ... maybe "loved" is a little strong for that last one).
One day, I was particularly frustrated with a referee at one of my high school games, and when our coach heard me complaining to a teammate on the sideline, he cut in and asked, "Do you think you could do a better job?"
"Of course!" I replied, with the overconfidence and self-assuredness that only comes with young age.
He rolled his eyes and we left it at that, but as the days passed, I found my mind wandering back to that conversation, and the question, "Do you think you could do a better job?" Perhaps, I thought, I had found a solution to my employment problem.
Over the following months, I trained and eventually registered to be a referee, first at the youth level and later of adult games throughout the local area. To me, it was easy money — all that was required was a strong understanding of the rules of the game, the confidence to make calls with authority, a good ability to interact with others, and a decent sense of humor. I'd spend an hour running around a soccer field a few times a week, and twice a month, a paycheck would arrive in my mailbox. It was heaven!
Now, that isn't to say that it was always perfect. I learned quickly that, just like playing the game, refereeing isn't as easy at it looks. Even when you know the rules, it's sometimes difficult to tell exactly what happened in a split-second play, where you may have been screened by another player (particularly, as was the case in the adult games, when there were no linesmen to consult).
I don't know that I ever reffed a "perfect" game — just as I have certainly never played entirely error-free, either. I found, though, that if I ran the field, made authoritative calls, gave clear and concise explanations when needed, and treated the players with respect, they generally accepted my decisions, and recognized that I was doing my best, just as they were.
All in all, it was a tremendously positive experience, and one that not only put money in my pocket, but taught me important lessons about responsibility and respect that I have carried with me to this day.
Does that sound like something that would interest you, or perhaps someone else in your life? North Texas Soccer is seeking eager men, women, boys and girls to pick up the whistle and become a youth soccer referee. Training is offered throughout the state association, takes one day, and makes you immediately eligible to referee youth games throughout your local community.
To learn more, visit the referee page at NTXSoccer.org.
We'll see you on the pitch!