• Reffing at the younger ages: Kids say the darndest things
    In these games, the ref can be more of a teacher than an enforcer and I tried to emulate Willy Wonka (the Gene Wilder version).
  • Reffing helps keep me young
    While I continue to grow older, the ages of those playing soccer remains the same. As a referee, I'm in the same boat as teachers in this regard.
  • A ref's incorrect striving for perfection
    Why is it that I might be a relatively average looking guy but I look very good in my photos, including the images in this space? It's because that I'm good at Photoshop.
  • How to Retain Referees (Part 2): Start by getting coaches and refs in same room
    There is a referee shortage as most youth soccer refs quit in their first two years with verbal abuse being the No. 1 reason for quitting.
  • How to Retain Referees (Part 1)
    We lose most refs in their first two years of refereeing with verbal abuse being the No. 1 reason for refs quitting.
  • Not enforcing rules becomes a slippery slope
    The assistant referees were having a lively debate at halftime. I was the ref of a Division 3 women's college game.
  • Are young refs advancing too soon?
    Approximately two decades ago, I noticed a real change in attitude of both U.S. Soccer and college soccer toward young refs
  • The Accidental Ref asks: How and why did you start?
    I was 15 years old when one of my soccer coaches, Gordon Barr (son of U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer George Barr), called me up and wanted to know if I would like to become an intramural ref in the soccer club I was playing for, the Syosset Soccer Club on Long Island. I declined as I thought who would want to become a ref as that person is yelled at and booed.
  • The Importance of Being an Assistant Referee
    I started refereeing in New York in 1978. One of the things that was interesting about refereeing is it was very much an individual pursuit for me as nearly all games in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, with the exception of semifinal and final games, plus a few other notable games, were officiated by one referee with the help of two club linesmen, who simply raised the flag when the ball was over the touchline.
  • Advice for young referees -- and a plea to the adults who scream at them
    I was asked to give some words of encouragement to young refs who would be refereeing their club's intramural games. The refs were from 10 to 14 years old and they ref players age 6 to 12. Two refs to a game, one on each touchline, on small-sided fields, the largest which is 65 x 35 yards.
  • The most difficult role in officiating: assisting a poor referee
    So I've officiated lots of games and realize what is my most difficult job as an official. And it's not what you might think.
  • Referee Watch: When does the half end?
    Soccer is that rare sport where official time is kept on the field by the referee.
  • Soccer's Only Complicated Rule: Offside
    I was an assistant referee and yellow was up 1-0 in the closing seconds of a Boys High School Summer League semifinal game. A maroon attacker was at the top of the penalty arc and he played the ball to a teammate a half-yard offside on my near side of the field, inside the penalty area.
  • How youth soccer has changed in the past four decades
    Having officiated my 10,000th game on August 8 gave me a chance to reflect on the many changes that have occurred on the American youth soccer landscape since when I took up the whistle in 1978 and was a youth player in the 1970's. Here are some of them:
  • Mission Accomplished: The 10,000th game
    Some Soccer Americans might recall the name of Dani Braga, the starting goalkeeper when St. John's University won the 1996 NCAA men's soccer national championship. The Red Storm's 4-1 victory over Florida International University had the unusual fact that in the FIU goal was Dani's Syosset High School teammate, Sal Fontana. Both Dani (pronounced like "Donnie") and Sal played in goal for different teams for the Syosset Soccer Club in the Long Island Junior Soccer League when they were growing up.
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