The greatest issue is the verbal abuse that parents and coaches subject referees to

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Updated: May 12, 2014
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“The greatest issue is the verbal abuse that parents and coaches subject referees to. The most difficult age group this season at SLYSA are U9 girls games. Think about that. A referee will be screamed at and bullied by adult parents and coaches for a perceived mistake. At a U9 Girls game!” Said Shane Butler the Director of officiating for the SLYSA league when he sat down with Ole Olson to talk about refereeing for SLYSA.org.

Listen to the whole interview here

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Shane Butler is a Festus native who has achieved success on an international level as a referee. The Director of Officiating for SLYSA is the President of the Eastern Missouri Soccer Referee Association and a Panel Member (qualified to work) FIFA Futsal internationally. He’s headed to Europe this Summer as part of his responsibilities with FIFA but in the meantime.

Shane got his start at SLYSA 23 years ago as a 16 year old High School player (St Pius X) and worked his way up the ranks. With the help of key mentors, he reached the top grade within USSF, becoming a National referee as well as achieving FIFA certification. Now, when he’s not working national collegiate games or FIFA Futsal matches, you can find him at SLYSA and other pitches in the region, working games and mentoring the young men and women that are pursuing the same path he took.

Missouri has approximately 2000 referees, with 685 of them in the St Louis region. They’ll work 500 games a WEEK across the three leagues and various Club tournaments that we have any given weekend. That number is down 300 from it’s most recent peak of 985 referees in the St Louis area (EMSRA members). That is a major issue the community needs to be aware of and prepared to address if we are to maintain the high standards of the game here.

Being a referee can be a great part time job for a High School or College student with flexible schedule and good pay. There is a downside however and it’s the element that must be addressed.

The Missouri Referee Development Program (MRDP) offers introductory training classes for referees as Leagues throughout the state, a 16 hour program that certifies the new referee as a Grade 8 level that allows them to work any Youth game anywhere in the state.

The problem is that while 60 people on average will attend a weekend training program, only 5 will continue as a referee three years later. What happens?

The greatest issue is the verbal abuse that parents and coaches subject referees to. The most difficult age group this season at SLYSA are U9 Girls games. Think about that. A referee will be screamed at and bullied by adult parents and coaches for a perceived mistake. At a U9 Girls game!! A behavior that they would react strongly to if their child was subjected to it. Its something that can only be changed with training and peer pressure, letting offenders know that it is not something you want your child to see from a parent or coach.

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