GLASA Sportsmanship Friendly Benefits Players, Referees

On Saturday, Aug. 27, Greater Lewisville Area Soccer Association (GLASA) hosted a Sportsmanship Friendly in conjunction with a Referee Camp. Thirty-two U9 and U10 teams, both boys and girls, participated in this first annual event..

For U9's, this was the first time they were exposed to offside, regular substitutions and a much larger field. Typically, in the fall, new players register for soccer and some teams merge into new teams. The Friendlies were a great way for players to become acclimated to new teammates, familiarize themselves with new aspects of the game, play on the bigger field and receive more touches on the ball prior to the start of the new season.

Linda Porter and her GLASA concession team worked over a hot grill in the heat, providing the teams with complimentary hot dogs, chips and drinks.

Approximately 56 GLASA referees, mostly between 12-16 years old, participated in the Referee Camp and officiated the Sportsmanship Friendlies. The Referee Camp was targeted towards GLASA referees that had 0-3 years of refereeing experience. Many of these referees have worked U6 and U8 matches, which do not have offside or assistant referees. These referees have been afraid to work as assistant referees.

Typically, a referee learns all the aspects of refereeing during the entry-level class, but unless the knowledge is put to use, it is not retained. Referee Camp was to help these young referees venture out of their comfort zone, learn how to run lines, adjust to working as three-person crew and gain valuable confidence and training during actual game environments.

The Sportsmanship Friendlies did not count in the teams' standings, nor was there a championship. Because these were friendly scrimmages, the referees were able to have on-field mentors during the matches. This provided actual, hands-on training in a real environment, instead of by watching videos or attending meetings. There were always at least two experienced, senior mentors on each field with the referee crew.

Many of the young referees were very nervous doing their first center or line, but having the mentors on the field with them providing guidance gave them just the confidence boost they needed.

One parent of a referee commented afterward, "My son took part in the referee camp over the weekend. He's been refereeing for a few years, but has never wanted to move over to Lake Park (where the older teams play). He came home and said that it was a great experience, and he feels totally confident in refereeing over there now."

The Sportsmanship Friendlies could not have happened without the support and participation of the 32 U9 and U10 boys and girls playing in the heat of August, along with their coaches and parents. The Friendlies and Referee Camp would not have happened without the 56 referees that participated; these referees are dedicated to improving their craft and were not paid for refereeing the matches.

Furthermore, the Referee Camp would not have succeeded without the mentors giving their time to help train these young referees. GLASA would like to especially thank the following mentors: Calvin Berg, Charlie Baugh, Derek Baugh, Fred Hiler, Greg Beltzer, James Meade, Jesse Auer, Jim Parker, John Hartigan, Kris Harlett, Larry Huey, Michael McCrady, Omar Montemayor, Robert Nalepka, Rubin Martinez, Sean Stovall, Shelby Carr, Spenser Baugh and Theo Freeman.

Finally the entire day would not have happened without the organizational help of Dominic Falcinelli, Greg Hise, Linda Porter, Tracey Lynn McElhone and the support of the GLASA Board.

GLASA hopes to build off the success of the Sportsmanship Friendlies and Referee Camp by having more teams benefit from friendly scrimmages and support sportsmanship, along with providing real game situations to referees that want to improve their craft.

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