Since the 2009 Spring Showcase began this week, some of the referees have been keeping some notes on what it's like to be an official during this hectic but exciting weekend. Over the next few days, we'll share their thoughts and experiences to give you a better idea of the challenge all referees face in keeping matches clean, fair and safe.
I am now traveling home from another great event put on by U.S. Soccer, the 2009 Development Academy Spring Showcase held in Sarasota, Fla. They are doing these events to help develop the players, coaches and referees. This showcase was run very well through all levels like administration and the environment, and being out on the field with the best players and coaches means we had to make sure the referees were also top-notch. It was great to help coach and mentor them to help prepare them for future matches.
There were clinic sessions, assessments, and mentoring that went on to help them understand what it will take to go to the next level. As one of the four full time referees with U.S. Soccer, we were able to watch referees do the games and then give them guidance on what they were doing well and what they may think about changing so they could get the best results in every match they officiate. We also had referees sit with us at a game and talk through situations, and point out things that work as well as some alternatives. We would go back to the referee tent and share these things with the other referees. The best feeling was talking to the referees about improvements they could make and then going out the next day and seeing that they were trying it.
If you want to have a shot at getting on the U.S. Soccer referee staff, this is an event you want to attend. The whole staff was there along with new U.S. Soccer inspectors to do assessments and help mentor. But if you hope to impress them, you must come ready. You have to be up to date with what is coming out from U.S. Soccer Directives, the Week in Review, and you must show up very fit, not just the minimum because there is nowhere to hide on the field if you’re out of shape. If you want to get the most up-to-date training this is the place you need to be. Again, this was a great event and it was an honor to be part of preparing the future.