I will step off my soap box and explain some of the stats in my first post. I drove 20,904 miles roundtrip in 2012 doing a very conservative estimate of 150 games between USSF, college, and high school, of which the two latter certainly benefit the former in regard to speed of play and player management. All that driving took me to at least 50 venues, some out of state. Because of the price of gas and food on the road for this amount of travel, upgrades are not cheap. I certainly did not make $20,000 for my efforts and mileage! I logged 1,748 miles of activity for the year through my sprinting, running, jogging, and walking. Granted, not all of this was from soccer, but according to my fitness tracker, I traveled a distance greater than the Great Barrier Reef. In preparation for all these games and for the five fitness tests, I finally dropped that 20 pound flat tire around my waist. I also had surgery mid-year, which required getting back into shape post-op. My mid-thirties self “topped out” at 151 pounds and 13% body fat leading into surgery, by the way.
The upgrade process was not all physical, though. Preparing for, taking, and passing seven tests throughout the year was time-consuming. Advanced referees have to stay on top of new directives and federation position papers. Study is an ongoing process through periodically rereading the Laws of the Game, or rules of competition. All the fitness tests and laws/rules tests were incorporated into 17 days of clinics scattered throughout the year. As if all of that was not enough, I made the effort to attend 21 referee training sessions. Players and teams practice, yet referees almost exclusively just work games, often in isolated settings. I was fortunate to get involved with a former FIFA referee’s training program for referees and helped start a parallel program to serve an even larger area. Simply put, practicing being a referee made me a better referee. It seems simple, but training allowed my assessments to be successful. Did I say assessment“S”?
Next time: Matt walks us through his 21 assessments in 2012.