Sooke has 15 new youth referees, who started refereeing games on December 14.
A referee clinic for small-sided games was held on Sunday, December 1 for any one age 12 and over.
“We had 15 Sookies there and 10 kids from other clubs in town attend,” wrote Sooke’s Laura Lockhart, in an email. “It was a full clinic and kids had to be wait listed so I am sure we will hold more clinics in the future. All the kids had to complete a test to pass.”
Now that the kids are trained, it’s time to reach out to the adults. Parents and interested parties, this is a general reminder to behave. It’s only a game, and these referees are still young, new and learning.
Five years ago, the Lower Island Soccer Association put out a notice regarding spectator conduct: There would be a zero tolerance when it comes to swearing and being abusive towards the officials, the referees.
Earlier this year, back in February, a conversation with referee mentor Teresa Mitrou indicated that not much had changed since then. (See “Modelling sportsmanship important for parents,” Sooke News Mirror, February 6, 2013.) Mitrou said she was often startled by the abusive behaviour modelled by adults.
The association also takes this seriously.
“Soccer is not attracting nor retaining officials,” says their memo. “Without them games cannot take place.”
If the abuse comes from a member in the audience, they will be asked to leave. Immediately. The game will not resume until they have departed.
If the abuse comes from a coach or a team member, the team is placed on a $500 bond along with a $200 fine. The game might also be forfeited. For a second offense, the team loses the first $500 bond and is then placed on a $1,000 bond. The third offense costs the bond and are possibly banned from further participation in the league.
New Sooke referees are Grace Bishop, Hagen Herald, Gavin Duncan, Zac Miller, Hunter Broadhurst, Alex Peters, Dawson Deweerd, Faith Knoles, Simon Herold, David Warnoff, Aiden Parkin, Jesse Wiggens, Riley Carter, Sonny van Netten, and Joey Seeburger.
“Please practice an extra measure of grace and patience,” reminds Dean McGeough, the Sooke head referee in an email to all coaches. He asks that they do not take up serious issues with the new referees but rather record the details and contact him directly. “The reason we don’t want coaches approaching the new referees is that the youth referees usually get intimidated, especially when it may be their first game, or first game of that age group, and they are already nervous about the game.”
Instead, suggests McGeough, it’s better to let him know, and then the incident in question can be used as a teachable moment.
Laura Lockhart reiterates this message.
“It’s important that parents and coaches realize that the refs are learning as they go. It’s hard, as a coach and a parent, to not get caught up in the heat of the moment … bad calls, judgement etc. [But the] Refs deserve respect. Plain and simple.”