Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not all assessors are immune

I got from an unnamed but reliable source that 30% of all 2009 assessments were deemed uneatable. Any other year and that would be what I call a high number. However, given the events, I think that number is a bit lower then actual. Unless there is another 30% of all assessments failed.

I also found that being an assessor doesn't necessarily keep you in the "good ol boys club." If the story is true, then he took an honorable way out by stating, "He didn't want to stand in the way of an assessment." Can't help wondering given the dirty play I have seen, if he was given a nudge as to say, "Dude, don't embarrass yourself or waste anyone's time. Just take the emeritus."

A popular clinic in San Francisco is coming up. Wonder how many will show up in an emeritus state.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dropping like files

I've been looking around me as things have been going on the assessment department. So far I think I got the worst of it because it was a month or two later where a fellow referee told me he got wind that the assessors are being told to not necessarily flunk them, but to make the games not rateable. There is a good part of me that would wonder how they can get away with that, but I just was notified by another referee that he had not one, not two, but three, yes three "unratable games." I hope he didn't have to shell $50.00 a pop.

I'm not sure which is worse, being told you failed when they could not truly justify the failure. Or getting 3 unratable matches. They are making it tough so when I get to the clinic I may get a gist of how many referees get either downgraded or a 3rd word on their badge.

I also wonder how many assessors, who are active referees, get a walk because they are assessors? I know the previous year, one didn't, but the assessor didn't know this guy so the politics didn't set in. Instructors are not immune. I know that from one or two referees. Of course you have to watch for ones who are disgruntled Emeritus because of injury. I don't think anyone is safe from those type of assessors.

Then I wonder how many will drop out due to the above mentioned. I will not be surprised if quite a few.

From what I have seen, CNRA and USSF will do whatever the hell they want with little or no consequence. I think if enough of the "little people" speak up, we can get more control of who USSF serves...their members.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SFSFL in various trouble.

A couple sources have told me the SFSFL is not doing very well at the moment. Last year it lost a number of teams due to fee hikes. This year they seem to pay 150% more then a local youth league in the interest of fair opportunity to other groups and organizations.

For the last few years it seems the City of San Francisco has been making it hard on the league as they raise the costs to play on the fields. The sad part is they do very little to maintain the fields as players and referees get injured.

Their Premier division, CPSA, was playing at Boxer Stadium until a few years back when they moved to Kezar stadium. Unfortunately that was short lived and they moved to the neighboring Daly City to play at Jefferson high school to keep up with costs.

SFSFL of course contributes to their own problems by the collections of fees. You can view the latest checks and balances here. It really hard to run a league when teams can't or won't pay their fees.

The combination of the two may destroy the league that has been around longer then the Bay to Breakers. This will not only hurt the players, but it will also hurt plenty of referees who are trying to move up the ranks. This is the middle ground from youth to professional (CPSA is considered by USSF as a semi-professional league). If that bridge is burned then there is only one Amateur league that will take the referees, but will make it hard to move up due to the number of referees vs. number of games. If the ones who got thinned out already due to the USSF changes but has been contemplating on making a comeback would be more discouraged.

I know it's after Christmas but the quote fits, "Only a Miracle can save them now."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mandatory Training for Grade 8's

I received word that a certain district in Cal-North want to enforce the fact that all grade 8 referees (and up) need to have 5 hours in service training to keep up with the laws of the game. There is no definite statement on what happens if you choose not to go, but it is assumed you will not be assigned games or be put on a lower priority.

Personally I am fond of everyone sitting in at least one clinic to refresh on new law changes, procedures, directives and so forth. This was extremely lacking in my local club though not lacking in our district. I myself have attended at least one clinic a year which I usually can take something out to improve my game. Of course it is mandatory for me. There is of course a refresher exam. The requirements are copied here

While it is a USSF requirement, it is not an enforced in Cal North. Why? Because we are hurting for referees. We are always hurting and it shows every time you either see a game without 3 officials or you have officials in a game that is over their head.

I'm going to give you some rough statistics as I pulled them from 2006 stats. Roughly 95% of the referees in Cal North are grade 8. The rest are grade 7 and up and emeritus. There are a lot of grade 8's out there who put out the bare minimum (that's not saying much) effort. Start to enforce this requirement will run more referees out of the program. USSF is already doing a bang up job of that with last year's increase of fees. I even know of a former Grade 5 referee who says he cannot pay the fees (Hello USSF, we're in a bad economy here) so he won't even go Emeritus. Why? The fees are the same. Yes he saves 50 bucks in assessment fees, but there is the princable behind it. Grade 8's are paying 40 bucks. A couple of years ago it was 25. With a good handful of Grade 8's being youth, you think they can afford 40 bucks? I noticed a sharper decline in referees 2 years experience and up due to this.

In summary, I would make it a requirement, but if they do not show for the clinic, instead of dropping them out completely, just give them a lower priority in assignment. I know of a certain league that has an annual clinic and if you don't show, this is what happens.

This gets too hardassed in the requirements we will be going back in time to the days where it was either solo or two man because there are not enough referees.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A little disappointment

Last year around this time I was getting my outdoor season together for indoor soccer. I was hoping to do the same this year. However, as I am finding out the hard way, nothing always stays the same.

The turn downs were not so bad because I managed to get replacemnts for the first 4 turnbacks. Unfortunatly I have had 4 more turn backs and found out my last turn back was not only going to play for me but play on another team. This was without appology on the mother's part. She was also a good goalkeeper whom I molded for a year on and off.

The reason: So she and her big sister (10 months apart) could play together. Understandable. I may not even have a team so it is rather moot at this point. What gets me is a couple weeks back I was talking to the coach I was working with last year. He was hoping to recruit both sets of sisters even though on half should be playing under 10s and the other under 12s. One set of parents stuck with me. The other didn't.
While the logic is good, I still feel betrayed by at least two people. The parent and the ex co-coach. We may have been working together next season but this changes things.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Awards well deserved?

I sat through my local club's AGM. It was the first time I ever did this. May be the last time I ever do this. Some of the awards were, lets say political.

Let's start with the referees.

Adult Rookie of the Year: Okay there was not many candidates out there to choose from considering how many of them sat in the classroom, but I will say, he did earn this one. He got out there and worked the trenches more then any referee and from what I have heard and what I have seen; he did well at it.

Adult Referee of the Year: This really should be an ironman award. He did a lot of games. Probably more then any adult. My problem with this award was while he was active, he was not great. This is a guy who wants to wear the most current socks, even if it doesn't uniform with his assistants. He also doesn't seem to want to listen to constructive criticism to help him improve so he keeps making the same mistakes. One grave mistake he did was letting a game play without the goals being staked. I would hate to be him if the goal fell on an unsuspecting goalkeeper. But when told about it, he was not phased. Give him an ironman award, but in my humble opinion, he doesn't deserve Referee of the Year.

Youth Rookie Referee: The male, he did well mechanically. I was actually pleased with his presence. However, he isn't what I would consider neat. I really have a problem with the white head band.

The female: I know the name but not enough to determine if good or bad so I will let that be.

Youth referee of the year: I really couldn't pick one if it were up to me; male or female. Either their appearance sucked or their work rate did. In many cases, both. My wife would have liked a certain young lady to get it because she does work hard...but on the line. Would like to see her in the middle.

The coaches:

I'm going to start with the most prestigius award in my opinion. This one is after a volunteer who passes away recently and was well regarded by many. When the award was being presented, the presenter was on the verge of tears if that doesn't give you an idea.
The recipient: A very good guy who has done a lot of little things to make them big enough to merit notice. From coaching two teams (which is debatable if he'll do that again, only he knows for sure), serving a committee which may or may not been a waste of time. It was informative for me on his and other member perspective, even if the information was not favorable. He's really good about keeping a positive attitude around the kids, even when his team is getting stomped on by the stacked team. He earned it and I loved his acceptance speech.
One could say it was political because he was up against a stacked team who taunted him with a phony crutch incident, but he was a sport about it and didn't let it get to him like his parents did. Actually he was a bit concerned for the player's well being.

Which brings me to the next award: That went to the father of the player on crutches. Personally I don't think he deserved it. I don't deserve it either, but this guy had to be in on the crutches incident (though he wasn't present at the game because of his U10 Girls). He basically got a stacked team which has been admitted by two of the committee members. I felt the award should have went to the one who won the division, not the cup. He and his team as a whole showed class in the last game my team played him from pregame to post game. Don't have a bad thing to say about him.

But as a final jab, I'm happy to finish the season knowing that my team was the only team he never beat.

Now the Premier coach award in my opinion went to the right guy. For someone looking at him from the exterior point would probably be afraid to approach him. However since I have gotten to know him from my referee class I have know him to be a really great guy. That isn't what got the award. His team took first. His female counterpart took first too. Why didn't she get the award even though she got one last year. Well she's nice the pitch. On the pitch she starts out nice and when things don't go her way, she tends to be not nice. She's not a total bitch, but I remember cautioning a player who committed a tactical foul, injuring herself in the process. I waited until she was standing and leaving before I showed the card. She gave a very sarcastic "Wow!" where I wanted to say, "Ummm did you miss that part in the referee class?" Anyway I have refereed the male coach a couple times now and I never had to worry about his behavior.

The posts may be a bit stale as this is the dead time for soccer, unless you count High School.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Do local soccer leagues really care about appearances?

I ask myself that question a lot. Problem is I never get answered except for what I see in front of me.

A little under 2 years ago, I was asked to head the mentoring of referees. To make them better. I saw it as a challenge as I knew I had a lot of work to do. The first year, I saw vast improvement on dress and appearance. I saw referees, not all, but most referees be on time and dressed appropriately.

Problem is you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink. I lead a bunch of horses, young and old, but they insist on doing what they want, not what is right.

The beginning year two, we didn't even have a clinic and the one local clinic which would have really benefited more then what I brought to the table I will gamble maybe one or two were there. Even with the new material that I had possessed, there was no interest in getting a room. We had a referee name only. Where was he throughout the season? It got so bad on his part that other board members were stepping in to do his job. Pretty sad and not a legacy I would want to leave behind.

What happened during his absence? Very few referees dressed appropriately. If that was the worse issue, it could be cleaned up. However, referees, particularly in the youth, were not putting in the effort. Bad calls happen. It's a fact of the game. However if you are say watching two of the three goals happen and the referee is on the other side of the half-way line, not even running, it's a problem.

Now I am being asked to join a referee committee. From the sounds of things they want to eliminate the referee coordinator position and have others post on the board. I'm not certain how that is going to improve things, but it does beat hammering your own hand, realizing it hurts, but hammering it again, not learning the first lesson.

Here's hoping.