Sunday, June 5, 2022 - Grand Park, Westfield, IN. For the first time in the history of the Memorial Cup, games officiated included referees that were recently certified under Indiana Soccer’s Small Sided Referees Program launched by the association in 2020 to help mitigate the shortage of officials and to create a referee training environment with fewer moving parts. The newly certified young officials did an excellent job of putting into practice the skills they learned during the state-wide Small Sided Referee Certification Program facilitated by Steve Franklin – Director of Coaching Education and George Perry – ISL Commissioner.
The newly certified referees alongside their seasoned Indiana State Referee Association (ISRA) counterparts compiled the 100 referees that officiated 248 Memorial Cup games. These referees helped deliver a memorable Memorial Cup experience to an estimated 4,500 spectators, 155 teams, and 1,860 players, over the two-day event.
Judging from the positive feedback from parents, coaches and players, the young referees did a phenomenal job officiating as center or assistant referees. Despite the size of the tournament, huge crowds and warm weather, the young officials stepped onto the pitch and managed games with integrity and plenty of confidence.
Special thanks to parents, coaches & players that demonstrated positive sideline etiquette towards officials. This welcoming gesture allowed the new referees to get their feet wet in a game-climate that without such etiquette, can present a variety of challenges. Parents & coaches commended the association for launching the Small-Sided Referee Certification program, a move that is already beginning to pay dividends as the game continues to grapple with a shrinking pool of officials.
The elevated levels of confidence, engagement, and commitment showcased by the young referees speaks volumes about the curriculum development, and delivery that the association delivered beginning April of 2022.
One young referee had the unique opportunity to officiate a game with his dad and it was such a beautiful thing to see father & son share a common passion for the great game of soccer. As you would imagine all the referees received plenty of support, mentoring and support thanks to the ISRA.
A well-deserved “Thank You” to all the stakeholders that made this small-sided initiative a success!