The game of soccer centrally revolves around the 22 players on the field. However, referees are arguably the three other most crucial individuals involved with the game. And at Schwan’s USA CUP their responsibilities are not taken lightly.
Just like players, refs practice and work hard at what they do, but they deal with more criticism and blame than the average job would acquire. In recognition of the outstanding work the group of about 350 refs puts in at USA CUP, awards are given annually to the most outstanding referees at the referee banquet, usually held on Friday evening.
Referee Program Coordinator Kelli Goodrich said the banquet and awards are an important aspect to the tournament for the refs.
“All the refs that have been here for a while really look forward to it every single year,” Goodrich said. “When the assessors are watching them you can tell they are working even harder to impress them. They all want to be assigned good games for championship Saturday.”
Impressing the staff and assessors is common at USA CUP and for one ref in particular. Fang Yan, one of 16 refs from China, is a FIFA-level referee and is hoping to be selected for next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Goodrich said Fang is a versatile ref, but since she is hoping to be selected for the World Cup she is sticking to the assistant referee role.
“She refereed a couple U19 boys’ games and she did awesome,” Goodrich said. “Now she just wants to do the AR position for games, because that is what she would be at the World Cup. This is a great opportunity for her to be assessed and perfect her skills.”
Two award winners are determined by the referee tournament staff, but the rest of the awards are nominations from their peers.
Although the awards are not revealed until the banquet, the refs can’t help being curious about the front runners Goodrich said.
“The talk around the tournament and throughout the week is about who is getting nominated,” Goodrich said. “They all want to know the inside scoop.”
The awards will recognize both male and female, international and American, and youth and adult referees. The awards banquet will be held at the National Sports Center in the Grand Hall of the Schwan’s Center.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 referee awards:
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Tag(s): July 18, 2014