Refereeing a fun, rewarding experience
Space Coast United is seeking out new members of the community who would like to serve as referees.
“It’s really important that we continue to not only support referees but it’s really important that parents understand that we are at an all-time low for referees then we’re going to be really struggling as we move forward to continue to support soccer at the youth levels,” said Scotty Armstrong, SCU executive director of coaching.
The job has variable pay that depends upon both experience and availability, noted Daniel Sizinski, who has refereed since 2011, when he was 12 years old.
“My passion for the game drew me into officiating, and wanting to participate in the game from another viewpoint,” Sizinski said. “I was a young player and wanted to earn a couple bucks on the weekends. It is the perfect job for a high school or college student on long weekends but it teaches you responsibility….the amount of fun is unquantifiable, there are ups and downs like every job but if you put in the hard work and have a good attitude it’s the best job anyone young or old can have.
Kyle Gibbs has been refereeing since 2018 and also expressed his enthusiasm.
“I really enjoy it. It’s a great way to make extra money and keep fit,” Gibbs said. “There is also a camaraderie amongst the referees.”
Those who are interested in becoming a referee can sign up through flsrc.org/register/become-a-new-referee-step-by-step/.
“To be a referee you have to take an online course, you obviously have to pass the course and then you’re going to work with our referee coordinator or assigner,” Armstrong said. “At that point, you will be assigned games and some training hopefully that we can provide whether it be at our facility where the ref has signed up but you’ll be assigned games where you learn how to be a referee. You start off as a linesman or an assistant.”
Gibbs indicated he’s made an impressive amount of money in a short time in some instances.
“I typically work 8 games a weekend,” Gibbs said. “The pay varies based upon the age group. I’ve made $300-$400 some weekends.”
Armstrong also added that it can help those who are still playing the game as well.
“The transfer is very similar from being a player to a coach. When you’re a player you see the game from one perspective,” Armstrong said. “When you’re a coach, you then go and learn the game and how to teach it. With a referee, you now learn how to make sure that the game and the laws of the game are implemented so from that perspective, you still get to manage the process of the game of soccer. It keeps you engaged in it. It’s a great way to stay engaged in the game and work with it to make it better.”
Gibbs indicated that it does take some focus to be a referee, stating that it takes “Someone with mental toughness that is able to tune out the typical distractions that happen during a game.”
Sizinski concurred, noting that a potential referee must be “someone who is fit and is able to work under pressure and stress while maintaining professionalism and keeping the players safe.”
“Managing players and coaches is a big deal as well, if everyone feels they are safe and you are in control the game will go smoothly,” Sizinski added. “(A potential candidate should be) someone who understands the laws of the game and can implement them in a professional way.”