It is downright tragic to see people has so much animosity over a game that they need to strike each other, a referee, player, coach, or spectator.
I can't even begin to imagine the barbarism involved in what happened in Brazil where (2) deaths resulted, one of which was not only gruesome, but also truly inhumane.
I also tossed out a warning for all to see in big red letters ... it read as follows:
IN SHORT, DO NOT EVER REFEREE AN UNAFFILIATED MATCH. THERE IS A HEAVY PRICE TO BE PAID IF THINGS GO WRONG.
That did leave a few questions unanswered however:
1. Was this referee registered?
2. What would have changed if he was?
3. If you can referee matches unregistered ... why should you?
While I have received information about the answer to #1, as I sit here that answer is not really material as the league itself is not registered as we saw from the link in the previous article.
Tell the truth ... how many of you checked to see if you "Sunday Leagues" were registered?
Regarding #2, what would have changed if the referee and league was affiliated with US Soccer would be the remedies afforded the referee in the form of additional insurance, and additional discipline that the league, players, and teams would have faced would they have been found to be in violation of US Soccer and MA Soccer bylaws. Also, all parties involved would be afforded appropriate procedure to determine any culpability. This serves to protect all involved.
This would be in addition to any remedy at law that could be undertaken. Unless otherwise agreed, such procedures from US Soccer are not intended as any type of binding arbitration procedure.
Now let me say that, just because a league, team, and a referee are registered does not mean this stuff does not happen. Quite the contrary. Assaults happen, and referees at all levels need to be ready for such an occurrence. That topic is outside where we are going today, but will be up in posts to follow.
So again, why register with US Soccer? It costs money, takes time, and aside from the additional insurance coverage, what do you get?
Well, it just so happens US Soccer outlines some of these benefits on their web site, here. Specifically for referees, there are several benefits listed which include (quoted directly from the site):
- Education through production and presentation of materials by US Soccer Referee Department
- Licensing and insuring of US Soccer registered referees
- Continuing education of referees
- Training and licensing of instructors, assessors and assignors
- Assignment and assessment for professional leagues and others by US Soccer
- Priority rights in game coverage goes to affiliated games
- Fair Play publication to all referees
- Up to date website for referee information
There are others that are listed on the page ... and some not, such as the insurance coverage we all receive notice of each year.
I have to honest though, this list is both confusing (what is a "priority right" anyway?), and incomplete.
You want to know what the real benefit of getting registered with US Soccer is?
A community who dedicate themselves to the craft of being the best they can when serving as referees, and supporting each other in the process.
Sounds simple huh?
It's not, but it is extraordinarily powerful. Imagine a very large diverse group focused on exactly the same thing, and helping each other get there. This includes folks from all over the world, not just in the US.
JAFO touched on the diversity of this group in "Making Connections" and it is clear to me the power of these connections while formed by The Game, goes far beyond it. As I have said here before, I have learned more about life through becoming a referee that I could have just living it.
I know, I know, it sounds silly, and a couple of people may be rolling their eyes and going "cheeeezzzzyyyyyy", but ask yourself again when someone comes out to watch your match for no other reason than to help you, and asks for nothing in return, or you walk into a referee tent at a tournament and see tens and tens of referees there for the same reason, or a player who you think was your nemesis smiles at you and quietly says "good job" after a tough match, or on your wedding day, or death of a family member, or even your own failing heath, reaches out to pay respect.
Refereeing is a gateway to some of the toughest character building a person can face, yet do so with a community of like minded people around them who would be willing to lay it all out there to have you succeed.
A community that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Why become a referee? Why indeed.