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"If you've never been chased..."

Discussion in 'Referee' started by aek chicago, Apr 4, 2012.

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  1. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Sep 17, 2004
    No.

    The reason there are seven Chicago MLS refs is because Chicago has good games. The USSF office isn't in So Cal, yet that area produces quite a few MLS refs also. Simple formula, the better the games the more likely it is to produce a good ref(s).


    These matches teach a future MLS/FIFA ref EXACTLY what he needs to develop...how to make split second decisions under intense pressure. Refs at this level are intelligent enough to realize the differences between levels and adjust accordingly.....no MLS/FIFA ref in his right mind refs the two matches the same way, and vice versa.

    With respect to the WHITE badge, nonsense. I've worked with THREE FIFA badges...one had a red card swiped from his hand and chased around the field, another started a near riot with an inadvertant whistle which cost an eventual losing team a goal in a one goal game, and the third had a player spit right in his face resulting in a battery charge. Amateur players could care less what the badge says, or what color it is. Its THEIR game, not the FIFA badges game.
     


  2. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    I wasn't talking about grade 5's and 6's....I was talking about 8's and 7's that have been identified as having promise, and invariably, the ones that have been selected have the "LOOK"....even if they're severely lacking in other areas. From the get go, the powers to be are looking for a certain "look", lets not BS each other. My question is, at THIS stage, why not pick the guy with the few extra pounds who knows the game and can manage it instead of the mannequin who you hope will someday learn how to blow the whistle and manage the game/players?
     
  3. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    I feel for you, but if you want to do the good games which challenge you and prepare you for the next level, you have to go where the games are...and outside of full professional games, that's the amatuer ethnic leagues.

    LOTS of guys here in Chicago with ability that will NEVER get an MLS opportunity. More than just a few.

    This is another issue Tamberino touched on...basically stating that politics DO play a role. Thanks for stating the blatantly obvious Paul...LOL! Funny thing, after having been peripherally involved in the process for a few years its become painfully apparent to me that when you're on the wrong side of the fence its "politics" and when you're on the right side of the fence its "merit".....I don't think Tambo was playing the politics card when he was leapfrogging over others to the MLS.

    Not sure about that one either. I know of at least ONE guy who has been a class A jerk, yet still made it. IMO, it's more about stroking the right people and having the good fortune of not being hung out to dry when the crap hits the fan, so to speak.
     
  4. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    There's a continuum here, as well...and top level ethnic league soccer is, or should be, somewhere between the A League (2nd Division) and PDL (3rd Division).

    What SHOULDN'T happen is a DIRECT (or almost DIRECT) path between youth and professional soccer.

    Or am I mistaken?
     


  5. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Not to nitpick here, but I don't think there's a referee alive today that's as fit as the professional players he/she officiates. IMO, in order to ref at the pro level, you don't have to keep up with players but rather with the play. Subtle distinction, but one that's vitally important.

    Otherwise, our pro ref pool would necessarily be limited to those roughly in the same age bracket as the players, and we know that can't possibly be the case. A ref at the age of roughly 22-30 or so hasn't seen/experienced enough top level games to ref pro players. That's the catch 22 of pro refereeing....by the time you're ready to do pro games, your body has physically slowed down.
     
  6. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Sep 17, 2004
    Good question.

    IMO, these matches CAN create bad habits, but if you're doing these high level mens amateur matches, chances are you're intelligent and sophisticated enough referee wise to realize the "special needs" of these contests and not have them detrimentally affect your performance in other venues/levels.

    In other words, I think its easier to ref "by the book" if you've been in situations where you've had to bend, twist, contort that damn book a million different ways than it is vice versa.

    IMO, top flight amateur matches are a necessary "proving ground"...where you "make your (referee) bones", for lack of a better term. Once you've done them, the transition back to reffing more by the book (pro level) is easier than the transition one has to make, for example, from the sterile youth level to the wild west known as mens amateur.
     
  7. whistleblowerusa

    whistleblowerusa BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    I think it is quite the opposite. I think that most officials working these amateur get into bad habits by being too loose with the Laws. It's not always about giving players what they want but teaching them what is expected. The "no blood no foul" way of thinking can't work at the pro level and not being able to switch gears is a career killer. To be a good referee, officials must be able flip-flop back and forth easily by recognizing what they have in that particular game that day. This doesn't mean doing things by the book at any level all the time or being too "creative" on the other side. A top referee understands how to blend these things at all levels.

    Yes, working those tough amateur leagues will give a referee the experience he will never get at the pro level but he must know how to adjust that experience without being a book referee.
     
  8. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    IF all these referees were doing was working these mens amateur matches. BUT, that's NOT the case.

    Just last summer, there were four current MLS refs working the Chicago amateur circuit. There were at least a handful of others that also were concurrently working A-League, PDL matches and MISL matches. In short, to ref a significant major division amateur match here, you basically had to have reffed at some professional level or another. NONE of these refs had any difficulty shifting gears. (And this doesn't take into consideration at least three former/retired MLS refs who were working these games as well).

    I agree that SOLELY doing these games can lead to some bad habits but that's NOT what's happening with the upper level refs around here.

    I also think you can agree with me that mens amateur is a necessary proving ground in a refs pro progression and that these matches are more difficult than anything they'll encounter at the youth level.
     
  9. Hattrix

    Hattrix Member

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    "aek chicago has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space."

    Had a question regarding local officiating issues, but I couldn't send it through private channels. Hence the sky writing...
     
  10. iron81

    iron81 Member+

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    Ask it here, I'd sure like to know the answer.

    I would have been thrilled if my ref career topped out at a Grade 6 working those Chicago ethnic games, but it sounds like one has to be a Grade 5 to work those games.
     
  11. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    I'm not sure what your question is but I'll take a stab at "answering"...NO, you don't have to be a grade 5 to do a mens ethnic league game here in Chicago. There are plenty of 6's doing middles...and even some 7's and 8's in the lower divisions. Heck, I did some major division middles as an 8 (along with another ref), but they were bottom tier teams in rather insignificant games.

    What I said is that in order to do a SIGNIFICANT ethnic league match, you probably need to have reffed at some pro level or another. By significant I mean top level teams in the MAJOR DIVISIONS, state cup, open cup, etc.....

    Virtually every good game I see in the major division, there's a state 5 or national badge doing it.
     
  12. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Send it now...I cleared my inbox.
     
  13. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    The point that I was trying to make was that relative fitness levels (between players and referees) is the reason that USSF/MLS/PRO can't cut the guy with fitness problems (i.e. extra 10 or 15 pounds) some slack. It's tough enough as it is, without giving away another couple of steps.

    You said that the extra weight should be okay at the grade 8 and 7 level. If you want to progress beyond that point, however, you still have to keep up and you still have to pass the physical fitness test at the State Referee level. USSF is not identifying potential pro referees when they are grade 8 or 7. Too big a pool for those who make the decisions to actually see them. Get to be a State Referee, then we'll talk.
     
  14. Alberto

    Alberto Member+

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    I won't pretend to speak for other referees. I can only speak of my experience, but these ethnic leagues like the Garden State, North Jersey and the Metropolitan Soccer Leagues are what I referee. I can assure you that no blood no foul does not happen. If it did the match would erode to chaos. As players get older they are smarter and not as willing to accept a wild challenge. As is sometimes heard on the pitch. Hey we have to go to work tomorrow.
     
  15. nsa

    nsa Member+

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    I concur. In the end the players want a fair game. That may change from match to match and it is our job to convince the players that what we are doing is fair and right.

    My entry level instructor was a FIFA referee. In my first year as a referee Massachusetts had four of the seven FIFA referees in the US. Surviving in the ethnic and mill leagues of New Bedford, Fall River, Lowell, Lawrence, Ludlow, and Springfield gave these gentlemen the necessary training.


    I will occasionally remind players of that to settle them down. One Veteran's (O-58) match a player yelled back, "No I don't". :)
     
  16. whistleblowerusa

    whistleblowerusa BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    Yes but the point I was making that was ignored was that those officials working and using these games to learn week to week expecting to be able to move right into MLS or a FIFA badge will not be able to do so unless they can adapt and switch gears. The expectations are far different and the make up of players of MLS is way different than any ethnic league. Your approach cannot be the same.

    You mention the 4 FIFA officials in Mass at the time of your entry level. They were all from other nations and not born in the US. That's a huge advantage to understanding the attitude and style of ethnic leagues over one born in the US and not having grown up in that culture.
     
  17. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Nobody claimed that ethnic amateur league games should serve as the "next step" into the MLS...but they SHOULD be a necessary proving ground...and THEY are far superior training tools and barometers of a referees worth than youth level match(es).

    For whatever its worth, Kennedy, Salazar, Okulaja, Vasoli, Boria, Manikowski and Balciunas are ALL products of the Chicago ethnic leagues, as are a couple of their predecessors like Al Klenaitis, Rich Grady and Jose Gesundheit (to a much lesser extent), to name a few. NONE of the above had ANY difficulty whatsoever "switching gears". In fact, Vasoli moved to Chicago primarily to get these better games and Boria switched his registration from Indiana to Illinois for a similar reason.

    As for your assertion about understanding the ethnic league style and "culture", two points: 1) How is that ANY different than the MULTI CULTURAL MLS or FIFA? and 2) I would venture to say a LARGE percentage of US referees nonetheless have some sort of ethnic tie/background, even if born in the US.
     
  18. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Not so much at the top tier levels. Most of these guys have played at the D1, D2 or D3 level in some country or another. I'm not talking about your run of the mill "lets get a few buddies together and make a team" ethnic league level. I'm talking about the top level players and teams. The psychology and make up is virtually the same as that of MLS players.
     
  19. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    I bet aek can name a whole bunch of refs who washed out of those leagues as well.
     
  20. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    Not sure what "washed out" means. If you mean that's the highest level attained...ABSOLUTELY, like any other league(s). There are only xxxx amount of MLS/FIFA spots available. As a result, every other ref in the US has "washed out" in some league/level or another. Nonetheless, I'd rather "wash out" in a league/level filled with former/current pro players than in a league filled with pimple faced 16 year olds and suburban soccer moms.

    Resf just don't start out in these leagues. They come from somewhere else and many of them are subsequently headed somewhere else. Its simply a "proving ground" and, IMO, necessary step along the US ref continuum. And this isn't coming from just me...its basically what Tamberino stated and the whole premise of this thread. Why the bitter resentment/sarcasm, I don't know. There are plenty of these leagues around the country. If you have pro ref aspirations, find one and work it. Tamberino sure did. Its no different than travelling to a PDL or A League game. You do what you have to do.
     
  21. NCFire

    NCFire Member

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    When I was in Chicago, the starting 11 of a few of the top tier teams had substantial overlap with the end of the Fire's bench a few weeks/months before. Add in that a non-trivial number of the guys on the field are getting paid contingent upon performance/results, the make-up and incentives for the players, while not the same, aren't too dissimilar.

    I've heard a few times of NC-level refs being brought/going to Chicago from other regions to do these games as part of the old evaluation process.
     
  22. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    The starting 11 of the two top amateur level teams I'm refereeing on Tuesday have players who have played in the MLS, A League, PDL, MISL and in various first and second divisions around the world. And most, if not all of them, are getting paid in one form or another. There's absolutely NOTHING "amateur" about this level. Every single player from last years MISL Chicago Riot plays in these leagues.
     
  23. oldreferee

    oldreferee Member

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    Huh? I think most people are agreeing with you. From what I infer from your writing, this is very hot button for you outside this forum. But I don't see anyone here tearing your opinion down. About the only disagreement seems to be that not every city's top amateur divisions look like Chicago's.

    I'll admit, I've never been chased. But that's cuz I refused to run. :p
    I have had my life threatened (once) and been challenged to fights on multiple occassions. All of those things happened in the local adult leagues. So, yes, they are WAY more "difficult" than any U19 club game in that sense. (Alberto's point about "intimidation" is absolutely true in my experience.) But that doesn't mean the soccer is more sophisticated or skilled. Around here, it just isn't.

    Around here, the ladder for guys who want the highest levels of soccer is more like DA, PDL and other lower-level pro teams. College fits in there too, somewhere. I know it's not federation. But it is higher speed/skill/tactics level than any amateur teams you will see in Tampa.

    To put a personal point on it, I can handle all but the highest division of local amateur. But I am nowhere near good enough for DA, PDL....
     
  24. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    I was referring to rufusabc's post. And this topic isn't any more hot button for me than any other...I'm simply stating what TAMBERINO (not I) said.

    I'm not sure about the amateur scene in tampa but I HAVE played in ethnic leagues in Chicago and NY, and they're both about the same level. I've heard that the ethnic leagues in SoCal and Texas are abut the same level as well. I've also seen some VERY good amateur teams from places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Maryland, Boston, Philadelphia etc...so I assume that the leagues in those parts as equally as good.

    In my estimation, top level (only) ethnic league soccer is better than DA or PDL...probably a notch below ALeague. I think there is more skill and technique ACROSS THE BOARD in DA and PDL than in your run of the mill ethnic league, but the TOP TIER ethnic league teams are a notch above DA or PDL.

    In any event, my focus was more on the leagues and uncontrolled enviroments one encounters in amateur play rather than the relative skill level.
     
  25. whistleblowerusa

    whistleblowerusa BigSoccer Yellow Card

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    Nice to brag about some of the guys from Chicago and the games available there. Chicago isn't the only place to work these type of games and producing FIFA or MLS officials is not so tied into working those games as just gaining experience.

    What you seem to missing and wanting to argue about is the difference of the make up if these teams and MLS. Most if not all ethnic clubs are made up of the same ethnic background not a mix of cultural and playing styles as in MLS. And the other point I made is that many officials may gain experience in these local teams but become too familiar and too used to officiating those games that when that are given a chance to work pro matches they fail at it because they cannot change gears. I'm not speaking of those who have made it as you have exampled.

    I assess these guys all of the time and even those working high level pro matches just don't get it.
     
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