For the past three falls I have helped a local recreational soccer league, the Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club, by volunteering as a youth referee. The Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club is an entirely volunteer run organization committed to bringing recreational soccer games to all ages of children. The coaches, referees, and administrators are all dedicated volunteers who work hard doing everything from acquiring equipment and uniforms to getting permits for the field. My help mainly consists of refereeing soccer matches for children under fourteen. I am usually co-refing with one or two other refs who are experienced adults. I’ve learned a lot from my experience as a ref. As a soccer player, I now have a lot more sympathy for the refs position. It is incredibly difficult to follow the ball’s play while monitoring the rest of the pitch and the actions of twenty two children. On occasion players, coaches and/or parents disagree with a call and are vocal in their opinion. It is a job that requires a lot of concentration, faith in your own judgment and physical exertion. That said, it is incredibly rewarding. My understanding of the rules of soccer have deepened, I am now aware of nuances that I only learned as a ref. The fellow refs advice and camaraderie has been wonderful. Best of all, I have been able to follow these younger kids’ progress through the years and help them enjoy and learn about a wonderful game.
As a younger child I enjoyed many years of playing in the Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club and they were instrumental in introducing and nourishing my love for the game. As a volunteer, I am able to use these skills to repay some of what that they have given me by helping to provide the same service to a new generation of children. If you are interested in helping the Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club visit their web site at: http://www.manhattankickers.com.