All About Being a Referee

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All About Being a Referee

Amanda Mourelatos, Editor in Chief

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I’ve been a soccer referee since I was fourteen years old. It was my first job and, since I’m also a soccer player, it benefited me in a few ways. I was getting money, I learned more about the sport I love, and it taught me responsibility and money management; but every job has its downfall. 

As a player, coach, or parent, referees are viewed as lifeless, bloodsucking, cruel creatures with the intent of ruining your team’s chance of victory, right? Well, I thought so too, until I became one. Going through the learning process of becoming a referee was gruelling, long, and challenging. It tested my memory skills and patience. After the outdoor and online training, I was certified to be hated by all soccer players, soccer coaches, and soccer moms. 

Some games are great, exciting, and easy to ref. Some games are slow, boring, and feel really long. Some games are hellish, keep getting worse, and full of new enemies. You never know what a day is like until you’re in it. Sometimes, I make an offsides call and the day is great. Other times, I make an offsides call, and the day is terrible. Sometimes, the coach shakes my hand and thanks me. Other times, the coach signs what he/she needs to sign, and walks off. Sometimes, the players thank me and give me a fist bump back. Other times, a player will skip me and another will punch my hand with rage. Most of the time, luckily, I have full support from my other two referees working with me. Despite having incredibly kind, helpful co-workers, almost everyone else sucks.

Not only is it tough to be respected and liked in this area, but I am a female and a teenager. In the current society we live in, women are much more respected than they once were, but there is still inequality among genders. So, I have that slight disadvantage. Then there’s the even bigger disadvantage: being a teenager which, in this day and age, isn’t necessarily the easiest thing. Teenagers are seen as careless, arrogant, inexperienced, biased, and sensitive. All of those qualities make to be a poor referee, so there’s another judgement that sets my bar lower. So right off the bat, all those people that judge me have ill-feelings towards me. Then I make a call that isn’t to their liking, and all their judgement makes sense. And bang, there’s parents screaming, coaches telling me to do my job right, and players cussing me out. Even without the disadvantages I have, referees still get treated that way.

Overall, I love the job, but the respect deserved just isn’t there. For me, and my fellow referees. After all, if you think about it, these types of games wouldn’t even be possible without referees. No scores, no rules enforced, no fouls considered, nothing. Just let that sink in. No one stops to think about that and appreciates referees for taking time out of their day to make the games possible. Let alone, referees are people, too. Yelling at people, cursing at them, and disrespecting them is frowned upon; so why is it okay to treat referees that way? People don’t cuss out their teachers, or co-workers, or strangers on the street (normally), right? I don’t understand how people can just mistreat people of higher status than them. Next time you attend, coach, or play in a game, think about your referees as respectable people.