By Randy Vogt
Assignors are the people who give referees and assistant referees their schedules every week so it's imperative that an official maintains a positive relationship with them. Some assignors are current or former soccer refs. Others have been involved with the game in some previous capacity such as player, coach or administrator. Some assignors, often in college and high school soccer, were referees but in another sport. I have worked for only one assignor who had no previous connection to soccer or officiating.
I’ve received games from 30 or so assignors during the course of my officiating career and can say that a few assignors crave the power that comes with being an assignor but most do not. Just like a few refs crave the power of officiating although most thankfully do not.
Assignors are very busy people so when they hand out assignments, they do not want to hear anything further about that game. They do not want to receive a turn back from the referee unless it’s an absolute emergency. They don’t want to hear a complaint from a coach or the league about the official. So it’s not surprising that a referee’s reliability along with availability and officiating ability are three of the most important aspects of a referee in the assignor’s eye.
There is no better way to get on an assignor’s “do not assign” list than by accepting a game, then turning it back when a better game comes from another assignor. The easy way around this is after accepting the previous game, close your availability with other assignors so you don’t have to turn down anyone.
The best assignors get to know the ability of each referee and what is most important to them. For me, I really don’t care about the level of play, age group or gender for youth soccer assignments and I’m very happy to be an assistant referee as well as a referee for any assignment. I too am quite busy and am very happy to officiate close to home. Other refs just want to referee the best games. So even if they can handle them, they probably will not receive assignments every week like me who is happy to officiate any type of game.
Assignments used to be done through the U.S. Mail or over the telephone. Today, most assignments are done via secure websites so it’s very important that a referee have computer ability.
If you would like to officiate more challenging games or less challenging ones, more matches or fewer matches, pick up the phone or send an e-mail to your assignor. He or she is there to help you.
(Randy Vogt has officiated over 8,000 games during the past three decades, from professional matches in front of thousands to 6-year-olds being cheered on by very enthusiastic parents. In "Preventive Officiating," he shares his wisdom gleaned from thousands of games and hundreds of clinics to help referees not only survive but thrive on the soccer field. You can visit the book’s website at http://www.preventiveofficiating.com/)