Youth soccer leaders do an excellent job of finding and training coaches and organizing leagues and tournaments. Too often, however, they ignore referees.
The man or woman in the middle is often the most overlooked person on or off the soccer field. Too few administrators recognize how vital a referee is to youth soccer.
Think what happens whenever the referee does not show. Neither love of the game nor money can entice anyone to help out. Yet when the officials do show, coaches and fans heap untold abuse on them all game long. Yearly, countless officials, mostly young ones, do not have the desire, drive, or inspiration to return to officiating.
Part of the problem is that too few youth soccer leaders recognize that a referee is more than simply a whistle-blower out to make life difficult for everyone.