Sunday, April 10, 2011

Looks like refereeing is not the only "boys club" in soccer

Early in February I ran a short series of posts commenting on the state of refereeing in the US as it related to women ... or the lack thereof. One such notable post can be found at: Neil Buethe Speaks on women referees at the professional level.

It would seem this is not a problem that only refereeing has in the US. Take a look at the Soccer America piece, 'Coaching still a boys club,' says Vardar's Miriam Hickey. In it Hickey briefly details why in her opinion that is true. I wonder if those same reasons translate to refereeing?

She makes another interesting observation as well. From the article:

SA: Why is American youth soccer so much more expensive than in other countries, such as the Netherlands?

MIRIAM HICKEY: Only the professional clubs and top amateur clubs have professional staff. Everybody else can do with volunteers, but the sport has been there for a 150 years. In my family everybody played. My uncles, my father, my grandfather. That’s how it is in every family. So you have knowledgeable people directing the sport and so you don’t spend a whole lot.

The fields are city fields, and you don’t have to pay for them. There’s only one association that leads all the different leagues. So you have a really good pyramid going from 4-year-olds to 60-year-olds. And, of course, it’s a smaller country.

This comment was telling for me and led me to a question. How rich is our soccer heritage here in the US? Most folks who want to get involved (bless them) generally have never played the game before. Makes me a little scared as I get ready to open another youth season this Saturday.

I channel those newer referees who have played their whole life, getting yelled at by parents who have never kicked a ball before. What's wrong with that picture?

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