Sports Talk

More officials needed

Posted 7/9/24

If you have been involved in athletics, whether it be the youngest level all the way through the college level here in Powell and around the state, you’ll notice a consistent message being sent …

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Sports Talk

More officials needed


If you have been involved in athletics, whether it be the youngest level all the way through the college level here in Powell and around the state, you’ll notice a consistent message being sent across: There is a need for more officials regardless of sport.

I have been officiating soccer since I was 12 years old, having officiated skill levels all the way from U8 all the way through junior college soccer contests.

Since I first got into officiating, I have consistently noticed across every sport that younger officials do not last long into the sport due to getting consistent abuse from various parties.

I’m sure if you talk to any athletic director you will find that it is difficult to find consistent officials regardless of sport, either due to younger former athletes not being interested in officiating due to verbal abuse, or older parents reaching the age where they have to hang it up and can’t help any more.

This has led to small numbers of officials across the board, and to games across Wyoming, especially in soccer, using a dual officiating system this year.

Typically in those matches you would require a minimum of three officials, with four being the most ideal, but this year led to a number of either dual system games or even in the rare case a cancellation at the junior varsity level over the past couple of years, which just isn’t good for developing young athletes in any sport.

I absolutely do love officiating. It is a good side source of income and allows me to stay in shape and help young athletes compete.

However, I absolutely hate officiating as well due to the amount of verbal abuse that is thrown at me and the other officials in soccer.

Most of us take time out of our own schedules to make long drives in order to officiate a game, just to get yelled at by players, coaches and especially fans.

Do I make mistakes? Absolutely.

Have I learned from my mistakes? Also yes.

There has definitely been a need for officials across the country and across the board. I have noticed some additional abuse that goes towards officials in other sports while standing on the sideline of the countless contests I have been to as a reporter across the past nearly three years.

I understand the need for parents to want the best for their kids and for them to succeed in the sport, but I plead with parents to at least pick up a rule book or learn the sport before yelling at an official.

I know each official, speaking from my experience in soccer, just wants the best for the kids and wants the competition to be the best it can be.

Is each sport different to officiate? Definitely.

Do officials deserve abuse or to be yelled at after every single call? Absolutely not.

One call isn’t going to change the outcome of an entire game, especially in some that last for such a long time — most coaches will tell you that.

I encourage each person to at least understand where officials are coming from. They’re just simple people from around the area who are taking time out of their busy schedules to help officiate a contest for 2-3 hours.

This isn’t our full time job, we are not training 24/7 to be an official.

There are easy ways to understand where we are coming from, and I encourage everyone to at least inquire about officiating in the area, whether it be football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, baseball, wrestling or even being a starter in track or cross country races.

I know that the Wyoming High School Activities Association has taken small measures year in and year out to try and help retain officials, such as increasing pay or paying for the end of year camp/course that brings each official together to learn through different scenarios that happened during the season.

I encourage everybody to think about what they are yelling at officials the next time they are at a game. It’s not an easy job, and it doesn’t make it any easier the more pressure that is placed on each call.