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News - Details

Combating the Decline in Referees


Spring 2022 Iowa Soccer Referee Foundation Program Update

In the weeks before the Spring 2022 season got underway, Iowa Soccer Referee & Sportsmanship Director Hidajet Tica launched a pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining young referees: the Iowa Soccer Referee Foundation Development Program.  Four member clubs participated in the first run: Winterset, Iowa Falls, Glenwood, Des Moines Soccer Club.

Pictured are sisters Mijara and Ayrissa Robinson from Des Moines Soccer Club.  They participated all season in phase one of the program, doing 7U-8U games.  The Robinson’s successfully developed over the course of the spring, “graduating” to the 9U/10U age group at season’s end.  According to their club mentor Steve Wilke Shapiro, they progressed enough and are ready to work as Assistant Referees on 9U-10U crews with the goal after that to get in the middle of 11U/12U games.

On May 21, the Robinsons worked multiple matches with additional referee mentors onsite observing and providing feedback: Bonnie Larson, Lou Agocs, Doug Jotzke, and Tica.  According to Tica, several parents stopped him throughout the day to compliment the Robinson’s performances at the 9U/10U games – the first time they had done that age group.  “The future could be bright for both Mijara and Ayrissa!” added Tica.  Step one: Mission Accomplished!

This Iowa Soccer referee development initiative will be offered again prior to the Fall 2022 season; contact Hidajet with your club’s interest (