To paraphrase a line from the Marine Corps, the Colorado High School Activities Association and the state’s high school soccer officials organization are looking for a few good soccer referees who happen …
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To paraphrase a line from the Marine Corps, the Colorado High School Activities Association and the state’s high school soccer officials organization are looking for a few good soccer referees who happen to play the sport.
Colorado High School Soccer Officials President Ken Hehr outlined his goals before a Zoom meeting of CHSAA’s soccer committee earlier this month.
“I want to encourage high-school players to become referees so they understand the rules of the game,” Hehr told the committee. “If they take the course, that helps the referees on the field because the players aren’t yelling about something they don’t know about. It’s a great way to educate the student-athlete and help us out.”
The discussion was part of a larger talk about how to find enough officials to cover high-school soccer games between now and June. Most teams want to play Tuesday and Thursdays. Hehr said that represented eight times as many games as were scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays.
“Our goal is to cover every game,” Hehr said. “The reality is, we’re going to have shortfalls.”
One solution is for double- and tripleheaders at single game sites. Hehr said he was able to schedule the same crews to work multiple games at the same stadium.
“We could link the same crew but flip the center (the head referee) for the second game,” Hehr said. “But, each crew needs to have two officials who are capable of working the center.”
Another reason to try to recruit from the high-school ranks is indirectly related to how many officials will blow whistles. Only the referee in the center of the field can. The two linesmen cannot.
“The reaction was mixed,” Hehr said. “People are generally resistant to change. The older crowd didn’t like taking away their whistle when they were on the side. We lost a lot of people. But a more cynical approach is we would have lost those people anyway. They were going to age out.”
Hehr didn’t start officiating until he was in his 40s.
“I would take the view of recruiting good, young referees,” Hehr told the soccer committee. “We welcome anyone, but the younger the better. We can keep them for a while.”
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