2006 ANNUAL HEAD REFEREE MESSAGE
During 2006 PWSRA held six meetings and made presentations at two PWSI Coaches meetings. Attendance at the meetings were near 50% of our membership which is very good. At our meetings we had two National Referees, Ben Jones and Doug Engstrom, and one National Assessor, Klaus Staefe, join us in making presentations to our referees. Long-time instructor and assessor, Harvey Finberg, Braddock Road Youth Soccer, not only led most of our training but also attended our meetings as well.
PWSRA sponsored four new referee courses in January, February and March, training 24 new Grade 9 referees and 81 new Grade 8 referees. Our training program is recognized as a leader in northern Virginia. Refs comes from miles around to certify with us. Less than half trained were local and refereed with us.
Departing from the normal certification model, we sponsored a recertification class in August and recertified 41 for the 2007 LOTG. Since the Laws changed June 1, these refs officiated in the Fall knowing all the Law changes. We also sponsored a recertification class in December, recertifying 25 additional referees. In these two classes we made space available for more than 150 referees to attend.
In addition to classroom training we also offered two on-field clinics for new referees which helped our new referees immensely.
OUTREACH TO COACHES
We made presentations at both the spring and fall PWSI Coaches meetings. At both we again offered to show the video "The Myths of the Game" to any interested team (players and parents). Again, not a single coach or team accepted this offer.
During the spring season we worked with the V.P of Ops, Kirby Thomas, on not rescheduling all rained-out games the following Sunday. We simply do not have enough referees to cover an entire washed out Saturday schedule on the following Sunday. By staggering the makeup games, we were able to achieve more than 99% coverage, only missing an assignment do to an intended turnback that wasn't clear. In the fall we had three mix ups with referees reading their schedules resulting in no-shows. However, the problems weren't nearly as bad as they could have been because in half the cases another referee stepped in and filled the games. We covered more than 99% of our fall games as well.
END OF YEAR MESSAGE
Looking back we tried to make 2006 the year that we taught players and coaches how to substitute. This wasn't always easy because many new or young referees are not yet confident in their knowledge of the Laws of the Game and in dealing with people -- especially adults. The majority of the refs assigned to work U08s are new refs yet this is where we must begin teaching. All too often our new refs let the game come to them when there were situations that demanded that the ref became involved. Like enforcing proper substitution rules.
One point that was made often by our older referees was that our new/younger refs were not enforcing proper substitution rules. Unfamiliar with the proper procedure and unwillingness to address adults were the two most likely causes for failure to enforce this.
While we are generally pleased with our progress as an association, we are ready to take the next step. We know that one Head Referee cannot be in more than one place at one time. If I am called upon to be at Tyrrell to mentor a ref in their first U14 match I can't be at Rippon for a new ref in their first U08s.
Therefore, we have proposed a detailed referee mentoring program to the PWSI Board of Directors to approve for 2007. The goal of the program is simple. To provide guidance and support to our new referees so that they gain the confidence necessary to manage these games. It is a modest program so not every new ref will be able to have a mentor work with them. But for those who do you will get valuable on-field insight from a mentor that is not available in a classroom situation. You will become more comfortable with proper procedure and in addressing adults.
We have also proposed a very modest pay increase for games at our oldest (SFL) levels. Even the SFL has told us that we "... are a bargain compared to several other clubs." We believe this modest increase will help us attract and keep experienced referees necessary to officiate the older ages. But for those who want a drastic increase we remind everyone that ultimately the kids have to pay for all the increases. In addition, most adults, and even some youth, who contacted us about referee pay listed it as a third or fourth reason to officiate with PWSRA. Knowing the club reads and acts on game reports, frequent instruction and up-to-date communication by the Head Referee, and assigning by using theArbiter were all listed as very important reasons beyond pay to officiate here.
Lastly, we proposed that PWSI fund some training opportunities for referees, most notably attendance at the youth Pride Academy. There is historical precedence for the Board support of training and indeed, the Board's support for all these proposals is necessary if PWSI is committed to player development, coach development, and referee development.
We are hopeful that all our proposals will be accepted. We look forward to an even better 2007!
Barry L Sherry
PWSRA/PWSI Head Referee