2004 ANNUAL HEAD REFEREE MESSAGE
During the 2004 season the PWSRA held four meetings and made presentations at two PWSI Coaches meetings. The meetings were better attended than in 2003 although not great. By utilizing frequent email communications we were able to get the word out in advance.
PWSRA sponsored three Grade-8 recertification classes in December 2004, and January/February 2005 plus sponsored two New-Referee courses. At our meetings we had two National Referees, Ben Jones and Doug Engstrom, join us. Very few associations can offer that level of experience.
OUTREACH TO COACHES
At both PWSI Coaches meeting an offer was made to provide a referee to show the video "The Myths of the Game" to any interested team (players and parents). No team took us up on this offer.
Despite using less referees in 2004 than were used in 2003 (according to payout records), we were able to achieve 98.9% game coverage. Believe it or not, we want to do better.
We were the first in the area to contract with the online assigning service, theArbiter.net (November 2003). We thought we would limit the online licenses to just a few referees because we could not fund the license fee and were embarrassed to ask the referees to do the same. However, using theArbiter became so popular that virtually everyone who saw it wanted to use it and said "let us pay for it." So we agreed on a shared cost which cost no referee more than $2 --- a small price to pay for online scheduling, game cancellation and rescheduling notices, and an email client.
VISION FOR 2005
Last year was a year that we targeted some referees for advancement. Two young ladies were discovered refereeing U9s -- the highest competitive level they had ever refereed. I had the pleasure of informing them that by targeted assignments that they would be refereeing U14s by the end of the year. Neither could imagine that. By the end of the year, each had achieved the goal, very successfully, of centering on a U14 match.
I would like to "target" more of our young referees for higher assignments. Therefore, if you are a young referee and want a target on your back -- contact me. If you have a goal you want to achieve please seek me or another senior referee out and let them know what you would like to achieve in 2005.
We have targeted a number of young referees to participate in the State Referee Program Academy and Day Camps. In fact, we have nominated EIGHT referees -- probably the most of any club or association in the state.
A number of our senior referees have stepped away from centers to allow our younger refs to step in. To you we thank you. And we'll expect more of that in 2005.
Overall, 2004 was a pretty stress-free year but not to the two or three referees who had an ugly confrontation with an adult, be it a coach or parent. To our junior referees (under 18) you must know that you can stop your match (powers of the referee) and seek help from an adult. The adult will preferably be another referee at the complex but can also be an adult coach. To our senior referees (18 and older) no game that we do is the World Cup. All can be stopped and if a young referee is in trouble you MUST stop what you are doing to render assistance. I know of at least once instance last season where this did happen and I thank the senior referee for stopping his match to render assistance.
We lose a lot of refs at the 16-18 year age and we must do a better job keeping them interested. Perhaps more challenges for them. Definitely less confrontations. Next year we want to keep those refs who are now 14 and 15.
We are proposing a number of changes to PWSI regarding the referee program. We hope to have a mentor program in place for 2005 which will improve the quality of our refereeing. Although no-shows have not been a major program, we were still affected by them and plan to address those financially. We are looking to fund attendance at the Academy and Day Camps and are looking for recognition from the club for our young referees.
The direction of the association recognizes that 70% of our referees are youth. This is not to say that there is not room for the young, or old, adult who wishes to advance. We would love nothing more than to target some up-and-coming adults for advancement to Grade 7 or 6. And if we have to recommend a course of more competitive matches outside our association, we will do that as well. We all know that we learn when we work with referees with more experience than we have. But we also learn when we teach so I say to each of you before you chase games all over Virginia to get better, recognize that you can improve here too by teaching some of our newer referees.
Re-certify and have a healthy and prosperous 2005.
Barry L Sherry
PWSI Head Referee