We’ve heard from youth coaches, youth parents, and the youths themselves - but we haven’t heard from the referees. Are you curious about the rules of Orlando women’s soccer, considering becoming a referee, or just interested in knowing what they’re all about? We’re here to explore what refs have to say about the world of youth soccer.
What are the qualifications for becoming a referee?
According to Daniel J., a referee in Orlando for more than 10 years, you can start your refereeing career at age 13. As for the maximum age, it doesn’t exist! “I know 60 year-olds [and possibly older] still refereeing,” Daniel said. You have to pass a certification exam and undergo multiple physical tests to get certified as a referee.
The physical tests ensure you can do your job. Players aren’t the only ones who warm up before a game- most refs stretch and do light jogs. Daniel noted that “physical training is the easy part; mental [training] is tough. You have to know the Laws of the Game and their proper application in different scenarios and be prepared to make unpopular calls!”
What’s some advice you can offer parents?
Jeremy J., a new referee who started his reffing career at age 14, said that the best advice he can offer parents “is to just let the referees and coaches do their job. If your kid hears you getting mad, they’re going to get stressed and their performance can lack.”
Daniel offered his two-cents on parent involvement, saying that “a parent’s objective is to cheer for their team.”
How has your career impacted your life off the field?
Both Daniel and Jeremy agreed that refereeing has made a huge impact on their lives. “The biggest impact has come off the field, with the friendships you make with players, coaches, and other referees. On the field, man management helps a lot in life. Learning yourself and how you react under pressure is also a major impact,” said Daniel.
Jeremy recalled a time where a fellow referee helped him become less nervous when he first started refereeing. He said the best advice he got was “to stay calm and take your time in calling the right call; it doesn’t have to be fast, just correct.”