SFYS has heavily invested in the referee program for the city. We say the city because many of the youth referees that you see at your Rec and Upper House games also referee other leagues of play and local tournaments. So, we have heavily invested in referees that directly benefit soccer across the city.
Did you know, a referee only has to be two years older than the play they are refereeing (and be at least 12 years old)?
Therefore, 10 year old games can have a 12/13 year old refereeing the game!
Many of you know Mr. David Reardon and his role within this ever growing program, but he works tirelessly connecting with existing and future referees. He is also heavily invested in the STAR program that we expect every team to complete. The STAR referee is a parent from your team that assists the referee by being the lines person for the game. They complete the training to ‘qualify’ them to not only be certified as a STAR and assist the referee, but to also be eligible to train other parents how to do it too. This means they don’t have to STAR every game if they have cover!
And as a last resort, they can help with Rec and Upper House games that have no referee, by acting as the referee. The game will count as an official game in this instance. Both teams should have a STAR and they can referee half of the game each, or one can referee the whole game. Your choice!
The main issue in the face of all of the good, from above:
Interactions and behaviors – Some behavior on the weekends from parents and coaches is creating an unsafe space for our youth referees. Youth referees find themselves in a tough space when they go against the wishes of an adult – think of even giving a goal kick when the coach is sure it was a corner and the fall out… even if the comment from the coach is ‘come on ref’.
The referees begin to question themselves, and why they are even on the field. Then they don’t come back. Of course, some can handle this, but many cannot. Attrition rates in youth referees is awful. Typically in San Francisco we lose referees after 1 season. It takes 8-10 weeks of games for them to never return. Some, as we have found already, take 1 week and never return.
Returning to the age of a referee – how many adults do you think would take this kind of behavior and come back? So, is it a wonder that youth referees also do not want to return?
We have two assignors working together, with David, right now to get as many referees on our games as possible.
We roundtable meetings for referees to voice concerns / seek support.
We have on field mentors and different levels of mentoring to ensure the referee has ongoing training and support.
Weekly communication and updates for all referees, as well as Field Marshalls that work with and support referees at the bigger complexes in SF – we let them know we are here and active with them and they are actually the main callers to the game day hotline.
We share this information with you to help you see what we do behind the scenes here at SFYS and the work that goes into getting you a referee. We do everything we can to make the best and most positive soccer experience for all involved, which includes referees.
So, for your game this weekend, how do you know if there is a referee assigned?
Then follow this image for the specifics.
Note the green circle which specifics the needs for your game number (found in your affinity schedule) and that if there is no referee, to notify your STAR they could be expected to referee.
Also note the red circle and to check the morning before you game – our assignors work hard all week and sometimes referee confirm late.
We are pushing for referees to be there too – please work with us, use your STAR in the worst case, but when you do have a referee, show them some respect.
If things are really egregious, don’t berate them, save it and submit a report right here.