In the mid-day sun this past Saturday, the Sooke Rebels soccer team played an intense game against the Bays United.
This game was attended by soccer referee mentor, Teresa Mitrou. From Victoria, Mitrou often dedicates her weekend to refereeing and mentoring. An avid soccer fan herself, she also has two boys who play.
She is a formal referee assessor, but on this Saturday she attended the game in the unofficial capacity as mentor. Mitrou was on the field to provide mentoring to the student referees (all between the ages of 13 and 15) who were moderating the game, giving feedback and support.
Mitrou reminds passionate parents to “be supportive of the players; say nothing to the referee.” That way, parents can nurture respectful players, and then everyone can get down to the business of playing.” In other words, parents can model good sportsmanship. As a referee, Mitrou has had some parents yell some startling things to her. Things that were, shall we say, not very nice.
Mitrou emphasizes how important it is to be supportive of the younger refs. These young referees should be congratulated after every game, not vented to. “If you rag on kid referees, they will stop and get jobs elsewhere,” she warns. It’s challenging work when there are 22 players to manage.
She would also like to remind otherwise-gentle parents, “The day will never come that I’m going to change my call because you’re yelling at me.” Just as we encourage kids to be good sports and take the losses in stride along with the wins, parents are encouraged to do the same.
Her summary was very positive: “All the kids are good-natured and playing properly.” Maybe it was because the kids were playing hard and having fun. Whatever the reason, it was a game well played!