PICTURE DAY 10/16/2021


Erin Anderson Photography will be taking pictures again this year.

Erin Anderson Photography



Yell at the ref!...

Yell "Thank you", without them, there is no game. 

“No thank you, I don’t need your help” says Referee Carmichael to a player on the field that is trying to explain why a foul he just called should not be called at an Austin preseason tournament this year in August.  I thought to myself, “wow, that is a great way to handle players and even parents.”  I was the assistant referee, and it was a hot day.  It was my fourth game that day, three in a row and I was questioning my life choices that lead me to be out in the heat for two days in a row.  I always tell people jokingly that I only referee so that I get to wear the cool-looking socks.  Then I remembered the real reason, there is a massive referee shortage, and no referees means no games.  Elgin enjoys the benefit of the efforts of Referee Assignor extraordinaire, Matt Lawhon.  Because of Matt’s efforts, we largely do not see the referee shortage impact our Elgin Youth Soccer Association teams very much because Matt has been mentoring and getting new referees in Elgin for several years.  In fact, we have so many that we have to lend them out to other organizations like Bastrop, Lee County, WDDOA, and other facilities.  There are times we are short-handed in Elgin, but we have not had to cancel a game yet due to it.  So why is there a referee shortage?  Plain and simply put, there are jerk spectators. 

I like to think I am preaching to the choir in Elgin about jerk spectators, but there have been issues with some Elgin parents and no matter how “bad” the referee may be in an away game, there is never an excuse to abuse the referee.  So, what can you do?  Here is one idea that I have used myself.  If a coach or a parent feels that a game is being called too dangerously, unfairly, or not calling it "both ways", then take out your phone and start video recording.  This may make the referee think about the calls they make a little more.  It may also make you decide you should behave better since it records what you or your fellow spectators are saying also.  If it is bad enough, then you can send the video to the EYSA board and we can pass that along through the proper channels along with the game number and date.  Another solution is that the coach can ask the referee what the call was.  Be sure to do so in an appropriate matter.  If a referee can not tell you what the call was, then they should not be refereeing.  That is a standard that I let the teams know on occasion before I referee a game.  A team captain can also ask about a call, again, in the appropriate manner.  The team captains are responsible for the actions of their teammates on the field.  They have responsibilities more than just saying heads or tails and picking side or ball at the beginning of the game.  There are other responsibilities as a spectator and coach that I will get to later.

If you do not think there are issues, then here are a few examples recently.  One of our very capable youth referees finished her game and was at the store with her parents when she went to the restroom facilities, an away parent that had harassed her on the sidelines of the game decided that in the women’s restroom at HEB would be a good place for her to show her true colors of being misogynistic and racist.  I wondered about that person and how would she feel if that happened to her daughter on the field and then away from the field?  I am not happy about it and wanted to report it, but our referee is tougher than me in that respect and wanted to put that behind her showing a great degree of maturity that I am not sure I would have had if I were in her shoes.  This is a prime example of why we have a referee shortage.  Not all youth referees would come back the next weekend like her and still be refereeing.

Another incident was after a game where one of our former division 1 players that is now in college had centered a game, very well I might add as I was the assistant referee.  The game was one we were handling for Lee County and the away team had lost.  A very tall and big man from the away team walked across the field with the other parents as our center referee was going to get the game card signed by the coach and this man started to tell the center referee how bad of a job he did.  I was just behind this, and I started in “No, not doing that, you need to leave, just go.  You can still be kicked out of the game.”  As the team manager was signing the game card, I let her know that she needed to have that parent leave as we could still kick them out of the game and write it up.  The team manager understood.  This man still managed to glare at us as he left when we were finishing up at the referee shed, putting away flags and preparing to leave.  Do you think this is the way to act towards a referee that is eighteen years old?

Now, out of the hundreds of games this year, these are only two incidents and there have been a few others, so that is the good news.  Most referees are not harassed, but it only takes one jerk, but at the same time, if you are a spectator or a coach, you can say something to that jerk.  This is the spectator responsibility that I referenced earlier.  I have seen coaches make comments to parents that start to get upset about something that the call was good, or that was a clean slide tackle, or keep their mouth shut if they don’t understand the rules.  That is what needs to happen.  The fellow spectators and the coach LET the bad behavior happen by not saying anything to the jerk.  This can be stopped before it gets out of hand.  Now a new perspective.  Can you imagine someone coming to your place of work and questioning everything you do and yelling at you every chance they get?  I would hope not.


Can referees manage a game in a way that makes it easier?   Yes, that is part of what mentoring is.  We work with youth and other referees to let them know how to communicate in a way that makes every call obvious as to what or why it was called.  Examples of this communication include communicating on the field with “play on”, “play, play, play”, “advantage” or something similar when there is a foul but the team that was fouled keeps the ball.   Many referees learn to communicate “no foul” for shoulder-to-shoulder contact that is not charging.  They also learn to say “not intentional” or “not handling” for situations where there is a ball that contacts an arm or hand, and the ball is not directed or is incidental contact that is not intentional.  This leads to players, parents, and coaches knowing what is going on.  Knowing the calls helps diffuse confusion and subsequently leads to diffuse anger.  The best referee for making calls could still cause some confusion if they are not communicating well where the players, coaches, and spectators can hear them.  To this end, our Ref assignor extraordinaire, Matt Lawhon, has taken on training to become a referee assessor.  He will soon be able to officially help referees get better at what they do.

While this may seem discouraging to some that may want to referee, we support our referees and endeavor to have a board member present at every game that we can.  We do not put referees on games that we do not think can handle the game or crowd.  The youth referees have the power to card coaches and control the game as appropriate including requesting coaches to remove spectators.  As a youth, if you want to have a job that pays good, has weekend hours that you pick, and will look good on a resume or college application, then this is the job for you.

So next time you are at a youth soccer game and want to yell at the referee yell “thank you” to the referee after the game because there would be no game without them.

James Sides

President EYSA

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PLEASE NOTE: If lightning is seen or thunder is heard and it is close than 10 miles, everyone MUST clear the fields and go into their cars (not by them) for 30 minutes from last lightning strike or thunder.  THIS IS REQUIRED OF EVERYONE and you can have practices revoked for not complying with this REQUIREMENT.  This is for the safety of everyone involved and this is the policy.