9 Reasons You Should Become A Soccer Referee

9 Reasons You Should Become A Soccer Referee

It's a challenging job, but it will make you stronger in so many ways.


When I first decided to follow my father and sign up for a soccer referee training course, I was a shy, unconfident kid who knew little about the job, except that it involved blowing a whistle and running around a field.

I soon learned that being a soccer referee meant much more: it was the responsibility of running a soccer game and making sure it was safe, fun, fair, and running smoothly.

I was super nervous during my first few games, even though I was just an assistant referee for nine-year-old players. Slowly, over many seasons, I found my voice. I went from being too shy and nervous to blow the whistle to have the confidence to tell off a grown man.

Being a referee has done wonders for my confidence. Here are nine reasons you should consider signing up for a referee course yourself!

1. You can get paid to ref!

Broke college kids, you heard me right! The pay depends on your town and the age level of the players, but I can almost guarantee that you'll be paid more than your current minimum wage job.

2. You’ll learn how to make a split-second decision and own it.

When you're running down the field and you see a foul occur, you have only a few seconds to decide to call it or not. Your first few games, you WILL be nervous. You WILL wonder if it's really a foul or not. But you just have to make a decision and go with it.

3. You'll learn how to trust yourself. 

Even as a new referee, you'll probably have hours of training under your belt. You probably know how to identify a foul or offside correctly without much thought.

Sometimes, the correct call is a nuance in the laws, and even though you know you're right, everybody will be screaming that you're wrong. Sometimes, you will have to call fouls against the same team over and over because they keep committing them, but the coach will scream that you "have it out for their team."

Trust yourself and make the call!

4. You’ll understand why learning from your mistakes is so important.

You will make mistakes, and some of them will be so severe that they alter the course of the game (ie: incorrectly awarding a goal to a team, causing them to win). But what can you do after the game? Usually, not much. It's easy to feel upset or discouraged after any small or large blunder on the field, but you just have to analyze what you did wrong, figure out how you can do better next time, and let it go.

5. You will learn not to care when you have awkward moments in front of dozens of people.

I can't even remember all the awkward things I've done as a ref. I've accidentally dropped my whistle while everybody was waiting for me to start the game, tripped over myself while running along the sidelines and had my voice crack while talking to a senior ref. Everybody has their awkward moments, and just because you're supposed to be a leader doesn't mean you won't have them either.

6. You’ll realize that no matter what decision you make in life, someone will show dissent. Especially when it’s in the form of twenty or thirty people hurling insults at you from the sidelines while you run by them.

"Ref, what game are YOU watching?"

"Come on ref, don't be stupid! That's right I'm talking to you!"

"This referee team has no idea what they're doing!"

Ultimately, whatever the spectators think DOES. NOT. MATTER. You are the referee, and you are the most knowledgeable person on the field, and this is your game. Eventually you'll find that criticism doesn't even faze you as you continue the game.

This is a HUGE learning moment for you - because you learn to stand your ground while being shouted at by parents, players and coaches.

This is a very difficult skill and repeated practice at this will make you better in life - whether its a job interview, defending your Ph.D. thesis, or presenting next months sales projections to the executive team!

And, of course, practice will make you better.

7. You’ll learn how to keep your composure in difficult situations.

At the end of the game, you might be shaking hands with, making eye contact with, and saying "good game" to a person who absolutely hates your guts at that moment. And with time, you'll gain the confidence to do this.

8. You’ll gain a greater appreciation for the sport.

Soccer can be intense, thrilling, and emotional, even at the kids' level. You'll realize this from seeing the game at a unique angle.

9. You’ll learn to respect officials of all sports.

They have a hard job, they make mistakes, and they're human too!

Overall, being a soccer referee teaches you how to take criticism, and be a leader.

And yes, you can get paid. If you're sold, find a referee course near you!

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When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn't for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach's responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm-up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days. These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she's going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she's doing this. She's going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she's poured into this sport, and she's going to realize that it's worth it. She's going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she's always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She's going to be tired, and she's going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she's going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you're the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you're the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don't. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.


The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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13 Gifts That Any Sports Fanatic Is Sure To Love

These gifts are sure to be a hole in one.


Check out these 13 gifts that any sports lover in your life will absolutely love this holiday season.

1. NFL Barware Crate

This NFL Barware Crate from Man Crates is ideal for any football fan. It includes pint glasses with any NFL team's logo, bottle openers and a mix of bar nuts. The perfect mix of gifts for the perfect football Sunday.

2. NBA ugly Christmas sweater

If your sports fan is a fan of the NBA like me, they would LOVE this NBA ugly Christmas sweater. It's festive and shows off who you're rooting for this basketball season.

3. Knitted beer mitt

I'm from Wisconsin so, obviously, I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. Most of our football season is played in the winter, and Lambeau Field's nickname is "the frozen tundra," but that doesn't stop us fans from going to Green Bay and supporting our green and gold. And what's a football game without beer? This knitted beer mitt is ideal for any football fan that cheers their team out in the cold.

4. Golf mug

For the golf fan who is also a fan of coffee. With this coffee mug, you also get a mini golf ball and a putter that is actually a pen. During some downtime in the office, start a round of golf.

5. The Sports Bucket List book

This sports bucket list book written by Rob Fleder and Steven Hoffman is a great gift for a sports fan who likes to travel. The book includes 101 different and memorable places, games and matches around the world. Gift this book to your sports lover and help them complete their brand new bucket list!

6. MLB game used uniform wallet

This wallet is definitely something a baseball fan would cherish for a long time. This wallet includes interior dividers that are made from game-used MLB jerseys. You can choose from seven MLB teams.

7. Funny sports socks

One of the most practical ways to tell someone you're busy watching football. These socks are not only cozy but sport the, "Shhh, I'm watching football" saying to let everyone know that you shouldn't be bothered while your feet are up.

8. Vineyard Vines college shirt

Vineyard Vines is a brand that is known to be worn around college campuses. If your sports fan is currently enrolled at a university and loves supporting his colors, this shirt is the perfect fit for him this football season.

9. Unique cuff links

If your man is strictly business but loves strutting off the love for his NFL team, these subtle but super unique cufflinks are best gift he'll receive yet. They are not only classy, but the color inside is actually a piece from an NFL stadium seat!

10. Game used hockey puck bottle opener

For the hockey fanatic that also is a fanatic for brews. These hockey puck bottle openers are not only cool (hockey pun intended) but were once played as game pucks for an NHL game.

11. Sports mug with backboard 

This mug is fun for all ages and comes in other sports like football, basketball and more. For once you won't get yelled at for playing with your food.

12. Their favorite player's jersey

Every sports fanatic has a favorite player. A jersey is one of the easiest but one of the best gifts you can get someone. If they have one already, get them one from a different era or a different color!

13. Tickets to a sporting event

Another easy but perfect gift for a sports fan. Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event. Give them an experience they will never forget.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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