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TOPIC: First CR game - This weekend

First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42713

Hi All,

This past weekend I was an AR for 9 games (a mix of u-19 and u-18). My Fellow AR's and CR's said I'm too quick to put up the off side flag and I blew two direction calls (one was a foul which I called but pointed in the wrong direction). The only feedback I got from a coach (which was game 9 of the weekend) was "that was the worse referring I ever saw out of all three of you". I think the comments were mostly directed towards the CR for the coach at the end said "Your AR's called more than you did". But it still shook me up on my skill set and confidence as being new to this side of the game.

I know I'm new. I have had my cert for less than a month now.

This weekend the same assigner gave me 5 games which I'm AR(ing) all but one. The game where I'm going to be CR is u-17 Girls. This is a showcase event.

1) think I should ask to be put back on AR?
2) if no to #1, suggestions (such as asking for a coach meeting and letting them know I'm new from get the go?)

Thanks!
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42715

You should change your user name to your full name before you are asked by the admins.

And you should not do that U-17 game before you have more experience at a lower age level.
Having your first CR stint be a big event is even a worse idea. I don't know what your assignor is thinking.
Popping your flag early is common for your experience... you'll get better at it. Don't worry about it... just think about it.
Getting direction wrong is something that happens to me all the time and I've got years of experience.... especially the first 5 mins of the second half. Don't fret about it. If you do make a mistake... FIX IT immediately with the CR before the next restart. It's better to be embarrassed than be wrong.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42716

Wow, U18-19 for a new ref??? What is the assignor thinking?? And a showcase U17 as your first CR? I frankly think you should turn it down. I started reffing 10 years ago as an adult. Even so, my first assignments were on the order of U10-12 rec and maybe a comp level as AR. Over that first season I was worked up to CR on U14 rec. It was over a year before I started getting CRs for comp level, and only a year later started doing a few ARs on premier level play. I don't think I did a premier level U17 CR game until I had about 100 games under my belt. I credit my assignor for helping me develop my skills over time with reasonable assignments.

Sounds to me like you are being pushed too far too fast.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42719

My $0.02, for what it's worth, is don't share your inexperience with coaches before the match. They'll figure it out soon enough.

Keep in mind, many coaches don't yell at you because they think you made a bad call... they yell at you to get in your head and take ownership (thinking you might start calling things in their favor, rather than catch another earful of nonsense). It's a strategy.

As for offside calls, always keep up with play, but follow these three guidelines: wait and see; wait and see; wait and see.

As for directions, what's the hurry? Always make eye contact with the referee. Also, even at the most competitive levels, the players will often let you know who has the ball. Many defenders would rather get in position for a quick restart, rather than bluff you on a throw or a corner kick. Finally, when (NOT IF) you screw up, make the correction and own it. On a side note, whether it's 5 minutes into the game, or 5 minutes into the second half, I almost always say "dang, I forgot you switched sides at halftime" - it usually breaks the tension and gets a chuckle.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42720

#1, congrats on the big assignment! If you're nervous, there's NOTHING wrong with saying to your assignor "I feel like I'm not ready, and would be more comfortable with just doing the line for now". There's no shame in knowing your limitations and only you know where that line is. My first middle was on my third day of refereeing and I was excited to get going. It wasn't perfect, but everyone's learning process is different.

#2, in refereeing or in life, one of my favorite phrases is "act like you've been there before". Don't worry about what the coach thinks. Be professional, be kind, and ref your game. I've done tournament finals, college matches, and adult leagues where sometimes the coach thanks you, and sometimes the coach says he hopes you get hit by a car. All you can do is learn and grow.

Lastly, don't worry about the signaling wrong way. Yes, it's a mistake, and you should work to fix those, but I guarantee every referee on here has done it. For me, I usually just chuckle, quickly fix it, everybody has a quick laugh, and off we go.

Good luck with your games!
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42721

thats all for the feedback thus far. good responses.

I had a chance to talk with a few people in my local area to see how things are typically done and they are as well mixed. I look forward to hearing other feedback and X games under belt before being the CR for the first time.

the overall response I'm getting is "it's up to you", "don't tell the coaches", "communicate with your team", and "do the best you can".
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42723

You don't say how old you are or how long you have been around the game (not asking you to just setting up this story). I was in my 40's when I first refereed, and had been around the game a lot, payed and as a parent of a high level player so I thought I wouldn't have any problem refereeing. I did a few lines, a few very young age group centers and asked the local assignor for some higher level games. He gave me a classic 1 U16 boys match and it was an absolute disaster. In a nutshell I was no where near ready - no where near.

There is a reason USSF has a minimum game count before upgrading and even though I though I was ready, I was not. Do take center assignments, but for your first one don't take a showcase, or U17. While they should behave, and showcases can be a ton of fun, they have paid a lot of money, likely traveled a long way, and it just isn't the time for you to train and learn - not the time for your first center ever.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42732

Steve Greene wrote:
You don't say how old you are or how long you have been around the game (not asking you to just setting up this story). I was in my 40's when I first refereed, and had been around the game a lot, payed and as a parent of a high level player so I thought I wouldn't have any problem refereeing. I did a few lines, a few very young age group centers and asked the local assignor for some higher level games. He gave me a classic 1 U16 boys match and it was an absolute disaster. In a nutshell I was no where near ready - no where near.

There is a reason USSF has a minimum game count before upgrading and even though I though I was ready, I was not. Do take center assignments, but for your first one don't take a showcase, or U17. While they should behave, and showcases can be a ton of fun, they have paid a lot of money, likely traveled a long way, and it just isn't the time for you to train and learn - not the time for your first center ever.

I'm 33.
Played my entire life until 18. been off the field since last weekend.

thanks for the response!
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42734

So my comments: I had 100 games under my belt before I was doing that level. I then was given several games as an AR (in "friendlies" during the offseason) before being given the reins to CR that level. This is a trial by fire for you, and I certainly would never expect to see this where I referee (but we are a hotbed of soccer with lots of referees). I now have around 300 games, and so far have yet to center any "highest-level" matches above U-16. I've had a number of top state teams' matches in the 13-15 age, several college showcases for U16-U18 girls, and had some AR's for up to U18 highest-level and college club. But CR at those higher levels is still waiting...my assignor says I'm ready for more of this, but there's no hurry since there are generally more experienced referees also available for those centers--instead I am getting matched up with them to learn.

My advice would be to not take such high-level games so early--it is less about conditioning, and more about "field intelligence" and "game management". You can learn much of the movement and motion even with U11 and U12 matches (where if you are an adult in good shape you are guaranteed to be the fastest on the field). With U-15 and up, even if you are really fast you aren't fast enough to "cover" your mistakes if you are out of position as a CR. It is better to learn motion on those younger fields with shorter legs, then you can do the "minor adjustments" to account for larger fields and faster players.

Another note, particularly if you do go through with centering this level of players: DO NOT OVER-PURSUE! And, you pretty much HAVE to trust your AR's to help you with some calls (since the only way you will be close enough to see everything is if you are over-pursuing).

As a new AR, my biggest sin was popping a flag too fast. Some good advice I got from a senior referee was "Every call you make can be two seconds slower than you are making it--the right call two seconds later is better than an immediate call which is incorrect." For a time, I literally would think "One thousand one, one thousand TWO" in order to NOT pop the flag early. Just be patient and take a little time.

As far as direction--we all goof up time to time on that, particularly at the beginning of each half (as an AR, I call this "second-half dyslexia"). Slowing down your call helps this. Also, look to your center--he may often be ready to make the call himself. And when you do it, laugh and "own it" as others have stated above.

As others have noted, act like you're in charge. If you are tentative and uncertain of yourself, coaches and players will "smell" it. Frankly, the worst thing is when the players realize it. Be firm, be calm, and be confident. And don't worry about coaches telling you that you're the worst--we've all gotten that, so we can't all be "the worst". It's on a rare occasion that I take commentary from coaches seriously (and when I do, it is obvious that the coach is desiring a conversation rather than wanting to tear me up).

Good luck, whatever you do.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42735

And one more thing--if you do center DO NOT tell the coach you are new--that's not just the smell of blood, that is blood in the water.

When I hit my first "ceiling" as a center (a U15 boys match between two Top 5 teams in the state), I then spent the next few weeks or month NOT doing center on any matches at that level--I simply offered the spot to my fellow referees (who were happy to do that--more exciting and extra money). No shame in that--in fact my assignor appreciated that and made sure to assign me with a few referees who would do that--he continued assigning me the center and told me "start doing them when you feel you're ready."

Try and find a mentor--find some referees that you admire and think do well, and see if they'll help you. I started in my 40's as a new referee, and have made a lot of friends and have found that most of the more senior referees are really happy to give advice and feedback--after all, if you suck as a referee and are on their crew, they will be miserable. It is in everybody's best interest to help all of us get better--show them you want to improve, and you'll have a number of wiling professors. All the best.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42737

I'm sorry but a brand new 1 month old referee has no business doing u17 centers. Shouldn't even be doing U17 lines. Should be starting much lower age where play is slower and your brain can process what is going on.

This is a recipe for burn-out and discouragement. My advice (and there are people far smarter and more experienced here than me, so take it for what it's worth) is to tell your assignor that you want lower level games to start with to build some experience. Do more ARs to start and watch and learn from the experienced referees. And then start doing centers at younger age groups.

Best of luck - if you do these games, as noted fake it till you make it. Be confident in action even if you're not sure and don't beat yourself up too much afterwards -you WILL make mistakes and you will learn from them.
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42743

So...How did your weekend games go? Did you take the U17 center?
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First CR game - This weekend 1 year 1 month ago #42745

Kevin Rayl wrote:
So...How did your weekend games go? Did you take the U17 center?


Its this weekend.

I sent an email to the referee assigner asking for input as well.
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