Earlier this season I wrote about good umpires and bad umpires and I wondered how anyone could put themselves out on the field without a thorough knowledge of the rules. Here’s what I said: ” How can you go on the field knowing that there might be things that come up that you don’t understand – when it’s your job to understand them?”
Fast forward to last week. I am now doing high school soccer and I bet there are at least 2 soccer refs out there wondering how I could put myself out there without knowing the rules! I am exeggarating, of course. I do have a basic foundation in the rules – I reffed travel soccer briefly a few years ago. But I haven’t done it in years, and don’t follow the sport at all, so am pretty raw. And, right away, they put me on fast paced, JV boys. I’ve done 2 games and am clearly behind the action. Fortunately I will work a lot of games and I’m confident that I’ll get there. And I am taking the high school cadet class starting in a few weeks. But, for now, I feel totally naked out there and I don’t like it.
Check this out: In my second game I made a call and was unsure about the proper restart. My partner, a 5 year varsity rep, came over to help and got it worng. It became clear in our post-game that he did not know the rule. Really nice guy, and probably a very good ref. And I absolutely do not think that knowing the rules makes you a good official – in fact it’s the easiest part of being good. But soccer only has like 13 rules for pete’s sake…know them all!