How far can I get?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by Novicio, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Novicio

    Novicio New Member

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    Feb 9, 2013
    So I'm 25 and just started refereeing. I'm not certified yet (despite the fact that our district encompasses 5 counties, they only ever host clinics in ONE of them - 1.5 hours away...) but I've started with HS games. I've done just a few, including my first dual followed by my first center last week. I'm really enjoying it and though I know I haven't been perfect, I feel like I've done good given my newness.

    My question is, did I start too late? I wanted to get into it earlier but I kept moving. Realistically starting at 25, how far up the ladder could I move?


  2. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    Andy, you wanna chime in?
  3. SA14mars

    SA14mars Member

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    Andy is the best example out there. I for one, started at 22, did it for 4 years, left for 4 years, and came back last year. This year I am trying to earn my state badge. Several guys I stated with in 2004 are now nationals, so it really depends on how hard you work at it.
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  4. Wahoos1

    Wahoos1 Member

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    I started at 43 and have maxxed out at state by 50 as there will be no national invites for a guy my age. You have almost 20 year head start, but if a 90 minute drive puts you off you may be toast. I traveled almost 4000 miles the year i got my state badge, NOT counting for high school games.
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  5. GoDawgsGo

    GoDawgsGo Member

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    If a 90 minute drive is holding you back you aren't going to make it very far no matter what your age.
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  6. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

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    I'm gonna take a different tack here. My humble advice.

    First, before you worry about how far you can go, get started and see where it takes you. Some find their natural place in different places -- perhaps yours is with the white badge, perhaps not. But you must crawl before you can walk before you can run before you can sprint before you can be an Olympic caliber sprinter.

    Second, if you really are serious about advancing to high levels, you're gonna have to travel and make life sacrifices. And some of those are going to be serious sacrifices that involve time, travel, and money. You'll decide if they are worth it as you go on your journey. But don't worry about any of that now. Start the journey: get your USSF license, learn what you can, see what you love, and let us know how it goes. (Let those of us who missed the train when it left the station take the vicarious journey with you.)

    All the best of luck -- but most of all, enjoy the journey.

    -SCL
  7. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

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    Simple: if you don't take the class and get the badge: you can't go anywhere

    Take the class and get the badge: up to you after that
  8. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    How far can you go?

    "How far do you want to go?" is a better question. Figure that out and make it happen.

    Refereeing mirrors life; sometimes it just ain't fair, but you get out what you put in.

    I attended my entry level class in Jan 2005 and was upgraded to grade 4 last Sunday. Eight years and one week.

    I have been very fortunate. Luck plays a huge part in getting as far as I have.

    You need ability, desire, passion, perseverance, etc. But you need some breaks.

    Anyone who knows the game, understands the laws & can apply them appropriately and is fit enough, can make state 2 - grade 6.

    It takes more than that to get to 5.

    And a hell of a lot of determination, effort, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears to get to the next level.

    At this point, don't worry about the destination. Know it's out there, but understand the journey will meander. A LOT.

    Attend a clinic. Talk to upper level people. Be ambitious, but take your time. Learn the basics of flight before manning a lunar module.

    Don't get discouraged. There WILL be setbacks and disappointments.

    Keep driving on.

    Set goals; short (this month), medium (this year) and long term (five years).

    But, take baby steps now.

    Sign up for a class. Do it today.
  9. QuietCoach

    QuietCoach Member

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    To the OP, you didn't say whether you were interested in officiating youth soccer or adult soccer. The two games are different, and if you happen to be focused on youth soccer, then your advancement will be defined by your competence and your relationship with the local assignors rather than your certification level. Most referees of USSF-affiliated youth soccer spend their entire careers at Grade 8.

    - QC
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  10. Chas (Psyatika)

    Chas (Psyatika) Member

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    Sorry to be rude, but how old were you when you started?

    Your story is truly amazing and inspirational at any age!

    For the sake of being on-topic: I also started in Fall 2004 in AYSO (age 21). A year later, i upgraded. A year after that, I tore the @%$& out of my hamstring while playing (i still have a gap in my leg where the muscle should be). I didn't start refereeing again until Spring 2011 in USSF (age 27). I'm hoping to upgrade this year as long as i pass everything!
  11. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    Not being at all rude. I was 35. I'll be 44 in June.

    That I played all my life and can still run an 18 minute 5K helps.

    Thanks!
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  12. Chas (Psyatika)

    Chas (Psyatika) Member

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    I'm blown away by this. I always assumed that 6 was the highest i can reasonably expect to achieve by starting as an 8 at age 27. I'm sure it varies by state, but it's refreshing to see that someone can upgrade to National at age 43.

    I may have to re-assess my long-term goals now!
  13. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    In my experience the fact that you played all your life hardly helps at all. You're a special person to overcome the handicap of your playing career and transform yourself into a successful referee. Actually that's somewhat unfair, I've known some players that made good refs and others who couldn't understand reffing to save their lives. For me playing hampered my reffing career a lot because I just don't have the mentality to be a referee naturally, it's something I had to work very hard at.
  14. Chas (Psyatika)

    Chas (Psyatika) Member

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    I could understand that. I was actually the opposite when i was a kid. Whenever we would play a pick-up game at school in any sport, i was always thrilled when we had an odd number of people, because it meant i could be the referee!
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  15. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    I'm slightly worried this is the beginnings of a Referee Super Hero story. Were your parents killed by a raving lunatic coach? When you issue a card do you shout "Justice!"
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  16. Chas (Psyatika)

    Chas (Psyatika) Member

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    Diabetes and a heart attack, actually, but i get your point :)
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  17. Yale

    Yale Member

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    Don't you?! I thought everyone was supposed to do that! Hold on, let me look through Law 12 again… I'm sure it's in there somewhere…
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  18. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    I've found it helps in a number of areas:

    - team tactics. I have better than average (I think) understanding of team tactics. Why a team takes off an attacker and brings in a fourth (defensive) midfielder with ten mins left having just scored to make it 2-1. How this will change the game. Etc.
    - player mentalities. I understand (sometimes) what the players are thinking and why they do what they do and I seem to be able to articulate that understanding when either issuing misconduct or empathizing.
    - The fact that I was born in England and still have a strong accent, rightly or wrongly, gives me extra cred points.

    I'm often told by high level assessors that I have an "old school" style or am very "English" in my approach, which I can see, but it's odd as I only refereed briefly as a kid back home and again a little when I was in the Army, none of which I really remember nor lean back on as experiences to avoid or repeat.
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  19. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    The accent thing is true, it's actually a funny thing that was studied a bit, such as what accents pilots have. I think you'd agree that almost no one likes a Brummie flying the plane, but Oxbridge, sure. I think with team tactics, that does depend on what level you're doing, and I'm sure you've seen your share of incompetence even at the higher levels.

    Now the player mentalities thing for anyone who pays attention can be a real help. For one thing you can simply look at a players face and know that they're coming back at a guy soon. Simply being around the game and conscious you'd know where the trouble spots are and where people are likely to foul. These sort of things help you out in the troublesome start which can help you in the long run. Starting as a young teenager with limited playing experience it was mostly a baptism by fire so I must envy you.

    In a lot of places I've been Americans really like the English approach. Set pieces, fast physical play, and we just seem to like an Englishman. I'm from the south west so my experience is a mixture of african and latin styles. I moved to a place where that isn't as appreciated and the adjustment has been hard. Sometimes I think that the players are just playing the game wrong.

    I think your point on Empathy is the greatest thing any young referee can learn. Empathy has an incredibly powerful effect on peoples minds and subsequent actions. I had to have it instructed out of me at a young age that my relationship with coaches and players was not adversarial. That to me is the first thing I think young referees should be taught, it's a game, it's for fun, but sometimes people have a bad day just like you.
  20. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

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    having a player background absolutely helps assuiming a few things:

    1) As a player you actually understood the game, strategy etc, didn't just run around kicking a ball.
    2) As a ref, it helps more as you move up

    Why? Simple, a "new ref" probably in the 15-18 year old range is used to, as a player, a level of contact. they feel, rightfully so, that it is part of the game. They then take that level of contact and apply it to a u-little game and bad things happen.

    As the ref grows he is moving up and getting to games where that level of contact is expected. This is also where strategy grows and players get smarter. Now the ref can apply this experience.

    as you move higher up, you need to start doing predictive things, not reactionary things. You can predict because you understand. You know that the ball will be played from here to there to there so I can just head for "there". You can read the players and understand what/how they feel. You've been in their shoes being up or down a goal, so there actions are predictable. You've been in there shoes working with refs, so you know as a ref , how to treat them

    It's all helpfull, but more so as you move up. You evolve from a "book ref" who reacts to things, to a "game ref" who understands what's happening and why, so you can predict what to do.
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  21. Paper.St.Soap.Co

    Paper.St.Soap.Co Member+

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    NHRef is spot on. It's been ages now but I once heard a National Assessor (can't remember who, I'm sure several have said it) that in order to be an effective referee you have to remember what it feels like to be kicked in the shin as a player. Simplistic way of saying that you want to be able to understand where players are coming from.

    This is not to say you can't be a world class referee without having ever played. Back to the National Assessor who said that. This was during a debrief with a Grade 4 who had an unpleasant game. The assessor finished by saying, "Sign up for team this summer back home. That is going to help you be a better referee."

    Your MPG will, like competency, vary widely.
  22. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    If always tell the kids in my Entry Level classes that playing will make you a better referee and refereeing will make you a better player.
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  23. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    I agree it happens, except for all the times when it doesn't happen. It's just a much too simplistic way to look at a complex issue. It depends on the type of player and the type of person. For example I know a referee who played all his life...he was kicked out of our association for striking a coach during an argument. It wasn't surprising, he was a hot head. We know that type of player and person, they shouldn't be reffing.
  24. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

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    I'd frame it this way: Having played will make any person a better referee than that person would be without having played. That is far different than saying that anyone who has played will be a better referee than everyone who has not. (At the same time, players may have to "unlearn" certain instincts and perhaps "rules" that they picked up along the way. But I think the advantages from the understanding of the game from having played [preferably mutliple positions] far outweigh any unlearning that has to take place.)

    I'd also say that coaching improves one as a referee, and refereeing improves one as a coach.
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  25. ChomskyReferee

    ChomskyReferee Red Card

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    Yeah this makes perfect sense. Having a long career playing is no guarantee of being a good referee. Pretty much the same goes for coaching as well, it takes a certain mentality.
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