pleased to meet you!
Learn more about those working across the state fulfilling a critical role in games: referees and assistant referees!
I first started officiating when I was 11 with my local AYSO program in Cedar Rapids and got my US Soccer badge a year later.
For the first two years of my journey, I mostly worked AYSO games. With AYSO I have mentored new referees, upgraded my license, and will work towards being an instructor soon.
I have officiated many ISL and CDL games, as well as ECNL, the Iowa Indoor Championship, and Presidents & State Cup the past two years.
I am an IGHSAU & IAHSSA official and worked several middle school games this year. In total I am around 400 games. I am becoming more comfortable as a center, especially at high levels up to my own age. When I was only 13, I was comfortable as an AR at games up to 19u. This coming November I am going to ref at the WAGS tournament in DC. I have been very thankful to have Jim Albertson come to some of my games and help mentor me.
I am currently going into my junior year at Marion High School. Not only do I officiate, but I play and coach as well.
Through my podcast Keep the Game Beautiful I have talked to many referees including Terry Vaughn, Christina Uncle, Tori Penso, Margaret Domka, Corey Rockwell, and more.
I am a 27-year-old from Burlington. I have been refereeing for 15 years and playing for 20 years. Besides refereeing, I enjoy hiking in any season and yes that includes those -20-degree winters we have in Iowa. Fitness is a passion that I enjoy, and it helps in the referee aspect too. Biking, lifting, running, and swimming are all part of my regimen. I have also coached soccer at the club level and at the collegiate level as a goalkeeper coach. Having played, coached, and refereed, I can say without a doubt that I will always enjoy this game. A little more in depth about me in my career so far below.
I started refereeing at age 12 just to make some money for more expensive pairs of cleats. As I got older, I never realized what the side of refereeing had to offer. I did only recreational games or small tournaments in my area while I continued my playing career through club and high school. I continued to keep my referee certs up and around the time frame of the end of my high school years in 2012, I got asked if I wanted to do State Cup. I had no idea what that was at the time but was excited to try something new. Within my first years of state cup, I met wonderful mentors and referee coaches such as Shane Smith, Phil Sinnwell, Phil Watson, and Bonnie Larson just to name a few. These coaches/mentors showed me that there was more to the game that what I saw in my area and more to learn every game. I will always say that it was the guidance that I was given by my mentors over the years that allowed to reach where I am at now and for me to get better in the coming years. It was this learning that allowed me to represent Iowa on Regional level by going to USYS Youth Regionals for 6 years and USYS Presidents Cup regionals for 2 years and at USASA Adult Regionals. The time I went to my 1st Regionals in Wisconsin, I got to meet not only other referees from Iowa that I am now lifelong friends with but other referees from the Midwest that I will always be friends with. I learned so much about different play styles and referee styles as well as feedback from referee coaches from different states each time that I represented Iowa at the regional events. I am happy to say this year at USYS Presidents Cup 2021 in Ohio, I was selected to represent along with others from the Midwest Region to go to National Presidents Cup in Des Moines, Iowa. This was an exciting chance to learn and absorb from some of the top referee coaches and meet some great referees from all over the US. I learned so much that I hope I pass on to other Iowa referees. Having an opportunity to referee teams from all over the US and see players, coaches, referees, and spectators so passionate for the game, it made me want to work hard and do well. I was selected to be an AR on the U14F final, and it was a great way to wrap up an amazing event. I hope I can work hard and represent Iowa once again on the National stage at an event.
These are just a few of the instances of my career as a referee. I also been able to referee NISOA Collegiate games such as NAIA games, D1, D2, D3, and JUCO games. I have also been able to referee Adult Amateur games such as USPL, NPSL, and MPWL. I have been able to referee both boys and girls high school postseason and State Tournaments for the past few years. I have been able to do various Midwest Leagues from meeting all these wonderful people over the years.
I also US soccer referee coach since 2017 in my area to give back and hopefully one of them will have these opportunities to do even more and make Iowa proud. All of these started with saying yes to an unknown (in my mind) tournament and absorbing everything about it and knowing that I wanted to do more of it. So, if you ever see a 6'7' person at a tournament walking around watching games and talking with the referees, come say hi and maybe I can learn something from you and meet someone new.
I started refereeing when I was 12 years old because I wanted to make some extra money and buy things I wanted. I worked games for my local club in Winterset Iowa and was fortunate to work games in the Des Moines metro area. I was invited to my first Regionals in 2016, since then I have been able to represent Iowa at seven regional events and two national events. In 2018, I was selected to represent Iowa and the Midwest Region at the National Presidents Cup event in Indiana. In 2021, I was selected to represent Iowa and the Midwest Region at the USYS National event in Florida. I am currently working USL 2, NPSL, UPSL, College, and Youth soccer matches. I have been a regional referee for three years. The best part about refereeing is the friendships that you can build with other people, not only from your state, but other states and nations.
My name is Esad Omanovic. I was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1993 and moved to the United States in 2001. I am Regional Referee from central Iowa. I played and graduated from Grand View University with degrees in Biochemistry and Biology in 2018. I took my first referee course in 2017 and have been refereeing ever since then. This quickly grew from a hobby to a passion due to my love for the game. I first started out on the coaching side of things and then became a referee not much later. I quickly realized that I enjoyed being a Referee much more than a coach and transitioned over to being only a Referee.
I started off working youth level matches and quickly moved to more competitive matches such as State Cup and Regional tournaments like the Midwest Presidents Cup and Midwest Regionals. In 2018 I attended my first regional events, both Presidents Cup and Youth Regionals. I was selected to attend the 2018 USYS National Presidents Cup to represent Iowa and the Midwest Region where I ended up Refereeing the U15 Boys final. In 2019, I was selected to attend the 2019 USYS National Championship Series and was selected as a Top 5 Returner for the following event.
This past year I attended the 2021 USYS Midwest Regionals and then USYS National Championship Series in Sarasota as a Top 5 returner. This was a humbling and amazing experience. Being able to reconnect with friends and meet many new ones as well as continuing to learn and improve my skills as a Referee. I was humbled and honored to be the recipient of the 2021 Terry Vaughn Referee of the Year award at the Midwest Regionals in St. Louis and the 2021 Most Outstanding Referee Award at the National Championship Series in Sarasota, Fl. This year I was blessed to be selected to Referee the U19/20’s Boys Final at Regionals and U18 Boys Final at Nationals.
In 2019, I Refereed the 2nd Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. I currently referee in a several semi-professional leagues such as the NPSL, UPSL and USL2. This past year I was invited into the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) developmental tier known as PRO2. With this opportunity I have been fortunate to referee in the second and third division professional leagues like the USL Championship, USL League 1, and NISA. I also referee collegiate soccer including JUCO, NAIA, and several NCAA conferences.
Some advice I have for all our referees is to find a mentor that you can work with to continue to improve your game. All my mentors have been fundamental in my development and success both on and off the field. Continue to be eager to learn, strive to improve every game that you do, and, most importantly, enjoy the beautiful moments that this sport creates. Some of my closest friends and favorite moments have come from refereeing.
My name is Spencer Harris and I am a 24 year old referee in West Des Moines.
I have been a referee since I was 12 years old and have made many memories along the way.
Some of my accomplishments are working at the Iowa State Cup and Iowa Presidents Cup.
My next accomplishments so far is going to Midwest Regionals, and officiating High School and Collegiate soccer matches.
Officiating can be challenging sometimes, but it’s also rewarding as well. I have made many lifelong friends while officiating and always enjoy working with different crews.
The best way to learn and improve as a referee is to be open minded, learn from your mistakes, and try games out of your comfort zone.
I first started working as a referee in the summer of 2014, first working mostly rec games that year. I later started calling club games and tournaments starting in 2015. In 2017 I was invited to referee State Cup Tournament games where I have subsequently been invited back every year. I started calling my first college games in 2017 and continue to do today. I was invited to my first Iowa Girls High School State Tournament in 2018. In 2019 I was invited back to center a 2-A semifinals and AR the 2-A finals. I was part of first all-female crew to call an Iowa Girls High School State Tournament game in 2020 and an all-Female crew on a Boys Iowa High School State Tournament game in 2021. This year I recently centered my first D2 game at Upper Iowa and I am scheduled to call as center a JUCO women's regional final.
Hello! My name is Alec Clark and I am looking forward to serving the Iowa Soccer community as State Director of Instruction (SDI) beginning January 1. I reside in Burlington, IA with my wife Ashly and our three children – Brooklyn (10), Theodore (6), and Matthew (1 month). My day job is as Assistant Principal at Burlington High School.
I have been involved with soccer for 14 years as a player, coach, and an official. I am a referee, instructor, and assignor licensed with US Soccer and a coach for Iowa Soccer. In my role as SDI-IA, I will work to ensure that new grassroots and recertifying referees are provided the best instruction possible so that we can continue to develop quality officials across our state.
I look forward to working with all of you so please feel free to e-Mail me at email@example.com or call/text me at 563-210-2827.
Dallon Christensen is the new State Director of Mentoring (SDM) serving on the Iowa Referee Committee (IRC). Dallon has had two stints officiating, and both times received helpful feedback through his mentors. He currently officiates at the US Soccer, high school, and collegiate levels and has worked three high school state tournaments. His son, Garrett, plays for the 2008 Iowa Rush Boys Select team and became certified as a Grassroots Referee the week after his 13th birthday in July 2021.
Dallon's professional and refereeing careers involve significant work with youth and educators. As the Director of Business Services for the Ankeny Community School District, Dallon helps teachers and administrators educate students in Iowa's sixth-largest school district. He is looking forward to sharing his officiating experience with our young and new referees to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience for the next generation of Iowa's soccer officials.
My name is Hidajet Tica and I am originally from a small town in Bosnia. Also, I am a proud son, brother, husband, and father of two beautiful girls.
In life, there are many experiences that could qualify as life changing. Every new experience was, at one time or another, the first experience. For good or bad, each instance changed the course that my life has taken. But the most transformative experience was the passing of my daughter Jasmina.
The moment my little peanut left this world, I realized two things nearly simultaneously. First, you don't know how much you miss someone until it's gone. Second, my life after this moment would never be the same.
Since 2019 I have been working at Iowa Soccer as Manager of Referee Services. What a thrill has been so far. Part of my job is to work very closely with the Iowa Referee Committee in managing a variety of things. Most importantly and the one that hits home hard is a task of dealing with the Referee shortage in our State.
I wish that I had a magic wand or some easy formula to apply and solve our problems. But we don’t have such a thing. It’s not for lack of trying but this issue will have to be dealt with sooner or later before we have even bigger problems.
Prior to my employment here, I became a soccer referee in 2000 and by 2006 I became National Referee. From 2008 to 2010 I was a member of the MLS list of officials at the time and was part of the original group who started the PRO group. In 2013 I became National Assessor and I believe they call them with a different title now.
Besides US Soccer I managed to master it and became NISOA National Referee, with that title I had a privilege to travel the country and work in many different conferences. Just to name a few: Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Big East, Pack 12, Big West, Summit, Horizon, Missouri Valley.
Also, I had the privilege to officiate NCAA Final Four two different times for Men’s Division 2.
Besides my family, soccer has been my lifeline for a huge part of my life. My best take that I have if I put away all the things that I had a chance to do is meeting new people across our beautiful USA. The friendships that I had a chance to create is without a doubt my prized possession after all.
In the end I would like to say huge thanks for the people along the way who were there for me to make me a better referee, and a better yet better person.