News from the SRA - January, 2005

Perhaps the primary functions of the Massachusetts State Referee Committee (MSRC) are those of education and certification. As such, the winter months are the busiest ones for us. From December to March we expect to register over four thousand referees, the vast majority of those expected to register in our state in 2005. Assessors, instructors, and assignors are also being trained in the same time period as we bolster our staff across the board.

Referee Recertification

The recertification season is well underway and the feedback has been very positive. The 2005 program continues the evolution of the past few years and includes elements that have paid dividends for participants and staff: a revised refresher test, specific topics for consideration, multiple instructors facilitating discussions within groups. The discussions to date have been lively and productive.

The efforts of USSF Instructor Nigel Bright, State Director of Instruction Ed Rae and the entire instructional team have been tremendous. Advanced planning, timely communication, continuous adjustments for improving, and investment of significant time has produced a program of which our state should well be proud. The instructional staff has become stronger and more cohesive through the process. The referees and the games they serve will benefit for years to come as the educational team continues to raise its own expectations of their productivity.

Site coordinators and the volunteers they lead play a significant role at recertification clinics. This year referees have been greeted and directed to classrooms at each venue by volunteers who typically arrive early to set up, stay late to clean up, assist with registration, as well as participate in discussions during the educational sessions. Thanks to all that have and will contribute.

Extending recertification

State Director of Assessment Andy Weiss and instructors Milan Robbins, Peter Robinson, and Nigel Bright constructed and delivered two clinics to renew certification of over sixty referee assessors. These sessions utilized analysis from 2004 assessments and guided discussions to exchange ideas about improvements and expectations for 2005. With a growing pool of officials it becomes more important that the assessment team be coordinated in its efforts to provide constructive feedback to referees. This recertification clinic provided excellent opportunities for the staff to learn from each other for the betterment of all.

For the first time in several years, the MSRC hosted a recertification clinic for State Referees of grade 5 and 6. Referees who have retired from these grades were also invited. The session was fantastic! Lead Instructor Dennis Hogan worked with Rae, Robbins, and SYRA and USSF Instructor John Utter to implement a curriculum constructed by Nigel Bright. The participants worked diligently as they took a difficult refresher test, analyzed the test results, discussed game reporting, and dissected the topic of match management. As a staff we learned a lot and will look to offer a session in 2005 for State Referees again.

Referees Upgraded

It is not easy to climb the ladder of upgrade as a referee as it takes a significant commitment on the part of an individual. The upgrade requirements include game experience, written and physical testing, and on field assessment. Several referees have recently met those requirements including Ernesto Rodriguez of Arlington who because a State Referee for 2005. Several others were upgraded to grade seven: Levon Akoghlanian of Medfield, Paul Checca of Malden, Mark Fanger of Newton, Andrew Firmin of Quincy, Ari Goldschneider of Sharon, Nicholas Malatesta of Worcester, Mairin Robbins of Mendon, Jacob Simon of Marblehead, Eric Wharton of Hopkinton, and Robert Wilkinson of Wakefield. See the list of all upgraded officials.

US Soccer has recognized Dennis LaVersa of Hanson as a life members. A William Scofield award winner, Dennis has contributed (and continues to contribute) a tremendous amount to the referee community as a referee, instructor, assignor, assessor, and administrator. Congratulations to Dennis!

Jennifer Bennett of Boxford, Tom Supple of Kingston, and Rachel Woo of Auburndale were each re-appointed to the FIFA International Panel for 2005. We are fortunate to have such high caliber officials in our state and we congratulate them on their continued success.