Being a ref in any sport is a thank less job, especially in high school sports.
The men and women that choose to do this don’t make very much money but take a lot of grief for doing so. I have to admit at times, I get frustrated myself with certain calls but have to remind myself that no one is perfect and if they did miss a call, they’re not doing it on purpose. They’re human and like everyone, make mistakes.
We’re bringing this up because it’s PIAA Officials Appreciation Week. Hopewell Sports Nation received an email from a viewer and wanted to pass it along.
“I love reffing soccer; it keeps me involved in the game I grew up with.
That being said, I wanted to make this post to bring awareness to the plummeting officials’ numbers. Parents are ruining the game, especially at the youth/travel levels. It is sad that I don’t want my kids at any games I ref because of the parents and what they say. I have heard it all from the mild mannered “you’re blind”, “don’t’ quit your day job”, “get new glasses” to the more escalated swearing and name calling. I have had teenage refs crying after games because of coaches yelling at them and parents trying to confront them. I have had to have police/Athletic Director escorts to my car after high school games.
As an official, you learn to make a call and move on. Your main goal is to keep the game safe, fair, and ultimately let the kids determine the outcome of the game with their play. I have had to make multiple calls that have altered the outcome of the game with giving red/yellow cards, awarding penalty kicks, and making calls in the attacking third of a field. Trust me when I say, we do not want to be the reason a game is won or lost. But I am also not swallowing my whistle when there are fouls in critical times of games.
It takes every piece of my being not to stop the game and explain to parents why every time a kid falls down a red card is not warranted, what offsides actually is, that penalty kicks can only be awarded when a foul is in the box, and that soccer is a physical sport. I am not being paid to give all the penalties to one team; honestly, I could care less who wins the game.
When parents and coaches treat a referee poorly, the players then see this as acceptable behavior.
Referees are human and they make mistakes. They are trying their best so please take a pause next time you think about saying something negative. While I may be able to shrug off your negative comments, the 14-year-old referee in their first year of reffing may not.”