When at age 13 Margaret Domka refereed her first game, she remembers being "scared out of my mind."
It was an all too common youth soccer scene, with plenty of parents screaming. But Domka persevered and is currently officiating at the Women’s World Cup in Canada. She was in the middle for Thailand’s 3-2 win over Ivory Coast in Ottawa.
While speaking with Domka before the World Cup, we asked her about her time as a teen referee and if she had advice for young refs.
“It is incredibly intimidating to be a kid and have adults yelling at you when truly you’re not an expert yet,” she said. “You’re out there doing a job and doing the best you can, and hoping that the kids on the field can have a good time. …
“My best piece of advice is to listen to your own heart and your own feelings and not to listen to the spectators and the players. Do your very best and be confident in your decisions.
“And find a mentor who can give you strength and feedback. … Mentoring was incredibly important. It was the reason that I continued my referee career.”
Serbia reaches U-20 World Cup final
Serbia, which beat the USA in a penalty kick shootout in the quarterfinals after a scoreless tie, has reached the U-20 World Cup final thanks to 2-1 overtime semifinal win over Mali. The Serbs will face Brazil, a 5-0 winner in its semifinal against Senegal.
This will be the second straight U-20 World Cup in which the USA got a good result against an eventual finalist. Two years ago in Turkey, the Americans, also coached by Tab Ramos, tied eventual champion France, 1-1, in their second group game. The USA exited the 2013 tourney in the first round as the France tie was sandwiched by a 4-1 loss to European champion Spain and a 4-1 loss to eventual third-place finisher Ghana.
The Serbia-Brazil final airs on Telemundo and Fox Sports 1 Saturday at 1 a.m. ET (Pacific Time: Friday 10 p.m.)
U.S. U-15 boys fall in Argentina friendlies
The U.S. U-15 boys national team lost friendlies against Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina during its 11-day camp in Buenos Aires.
The USA took the lead against the host Argentines early in the second half with a goal from Mario Licor (Orlando City SC), but Facundo Colidio equalized seven minutes later and scored the stoppage time winner. (Games were 80 minutes.)
In its opener, the USA fell, 1-0, to Uruguay.
The trip finished with a 3-1 loss to Paraguay in which Argentina-based George Acosta scored the lone U.S. goal. Acosta played for Florida’s Weston FC before joining Estudiantes de La Plata’s youth program.
The U.S. U-15s, coached by John Hackworth, won the Tournament delle Nazioni in Gradisca d’Isonzo last month.
June 12 in Buenos Aires
USA 1 Paraguay 3. Goals: Acosta 69; Sanchez 34, Rolon 37, Fernandez 72.
USA -- dos Santos; Bailey (Licor, 61), Lindsey (Arteaga, 41), Shaver, Cornfield-Saunders (Perez, 41); Durkin, Ferri (Acosta, 52), Anguiano (Goslin, 20); Villegas, Carleton, Negrete (Garcia-Morillo, 52).
Paraguay -- Chamorro; Villasanti, Lopez, Duarte, Mendez; Dure, Benitez, Rolon, Fernandez; Boveda, Sanchez.
June 10 in Buenos Aires
Argentina 2 USA 1. Goals: Colidio 52, Colidio 80+. Licor 45.
Argentina -- Maslovski; Weingandt, Brandan, Passarini, Romero;Lupi, Sequeira, Ibanez, Magnano; Bazan, Colidio.
USA -- Budnik; Perez, Arteaga (Acosta, 71), Shaver, Cornfield-Saunders; Anguiano, Villegas (Durkin, 66), Ferri, (Goslin, 74); Licor ( Carleton, 52), Garcia-Morillo, Becerra (Negrete, 54).
June 8 in Buenos Aires
USA 0 Uruguay 1. Goal: Viera 41.
USA -- Budnik; Perez, Lindsey, Cornfield-Saunders, Vaughn (Arteaga, 63); Durkin, Goslin (Anguiano, 59), Acosta (Villegas, 75); Carleton, Bailey (Licor, 51), Negrete (Garcilla-Morillo, 51).
Uruguay -- Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Medina, Elizalde, Luna; Alfonso, Sanabria, Rodriguez, Parada; Viera, Neris.
Photos courtesy of U.S. Soccer
U.S. U-15 boys roster (Argentina Trip)
Safer Soccer Campaign
Former U.S. national team stars Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy and former U.S. coach Tony DiCicco have joined Brandi Chastain in supporting the Positive Coaching Alliance's Safer Soccer Campaign, which offers injury prevention resources and concussion research information at SaferSoccer.org -- and advocates for the delaying heading until age 14.
“I do not want my players, or my own children,” says Chastain, “heading the ball before 14, both for their brain health and also so that we can focus our time on foot skills, which are far more important for their soccer development. For players under 14, no headers are a no-brainer.” …
What They’re Saying
“What I would do after training is stay half an hour and kick the ball against a wall with my weaker foot over and over again to make sure it gets stronger. And young players should remember that everything comes from the base of hard work, so never give up."
-- Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (The Guardian).