Samantha Caplan Named Young Female Referee of the Year for 2006

By Joyce Furia

Samantha Caplan of Tewksbury has been named this year's Young Female Referee of the Year by the Massachusetts State Referee Committee. She had also been selected the Middlesex County Referee of the Year, making her an automatic candidate for the statewide honor.

"I had a very busy spring, first going to England with my school to take part in a play and then returning to the US and going to New York for a singing event. John Utter (SYRA for the MSRC) kept trying to get in touch with me. When he did, and told me, I screamed in his ear. I was ecstatic!"

A senior at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA, Caplan plans to attend George Washington University in the fall, majoring in Political Science.

Attending a boarding school does cut down on the time she has to referee, but she said her father helps keep her schedule for her. "My dad, he's amazing, he comes down, takes me to my games and then brings me back. He never complains about all the driving, he's been just great."

This spring, in addition to regular weekend games, she will take part in MTOC, State Cups, and later in the Regionals.

Ask most young referees why they start and the usual response is "for the money." Not Samantha Caplan.

"I was about eight or nine and a friend of mine was a referee. I used to trail after her, begging her to let me do her games. I was still playing then, and I was always impressed when the referee walked out onto the field. The ref had so much authority, so much knowledge of the game, and I loved the idea of that, as well as chance to run. At first, I'd do a few of her games and give her the money. Then I became a referee on my own. I've been doing it ever since. I love it."

While she expects to have a more limited schedule in the fall as she adjusts to the demands of college life, Samantha has no intention of giving up refereeing. In fact, she said, one of her goals is to referee at the World Cup.