We continue our efforts to improve our program and the quality of our games by supporting our Player/Referee Organization (PRO). Our goals are to find more referees, while at the same time, encouraging and promoting leadership among our young players. We believe that players can develop as players (and people!) by serving as referees with the proper training and support. Our players understand the game and can be effective referees to support the program.
As articulated by Ron Cooke, president of the California South Youth Soccer Association, “Officiating the game of soccer is a most challenging endeavor, and shows a great willingness on the part of youngsters to begin to accept true responsibility. A young referee has stepped beyond the pressures of being a player. He or she now has to deal with TWO coaches and TWENTY-TWO opponents.” Players age 10 and up are encouraged to join the PRO program. In order to present our referees with the best opportunity for success, we use a two-age-group rule for referee eligibility. In other words, a U12 player is eligible to referee games for U8 and below. A U14 player is only eligible to referee U10 games and below, and so forth. (The same age requirements apply to assistant referees as assistant referees share the responsibilities of game management.)*
In our efforts to improve PRO, we continue to focus on two key areas: training for and negative behavior toward referees and assistant referees. In addition to our standard training of referees, we work to provide extra assistance to our PRO referees. We have extra programs from time to time, and work to help them find mentors and get observed by experienced referees. (Any experienced referee wishing to help out with our PRO referees should contact one of the PRO-referee co-coordinators.) Eradicating, negative behavior, on the other hand, is an ongoing challenge and major concern not only for its impact on the success of this particular program, but for its impact to all we teach. Our goal is to not lose a single referee to frustration with negative behavior – and especially not a single PRO referee. To meet that goal, we ask the help of all coaches and parents in addressing the issue of negative behavior. As always, Region 13 will enforce the Zero Tolerance Policy. We ask that anyone who sees negative behavior directed at a PRO referee do what they can to help and always report the incident to the PRO referee co-coordinators and to the Regional Referee Administrator so that we can ensure the continued development of these referees.
*The Regional Referee Administrator or Regional Commissioner may grant exceptions to the two-age-group policy in unique situations involving experienced PRO referees. These exceptions are typically reserved for PRO referees who have completed or in the process of completing their certification as an Intermediate (or higher) Referee.