referee with long hair

Discussion in 'Referee' started by Barciur, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Barciur

    Barciur Member

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    So anybody here has long hair? How do you deal with it? Ponytail or a subtle headband? Or do you think a referee simply cannot have long hair?


  2. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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  3. Slaskwroclaw18

    Slaskwroclaw18 Member

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    I think it's a legit question. Even though we should not be judged by our appearance we are. I always wonder about that along with facial hair. You don't see to many beards up in the pros.
    soccersubjectively repped this.
  4. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member

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    I actually worked with a guy at region 2 championships once that had long hair tied back in a pony tail. Penso mentored the game and basically laid it out there that long hair was not acceptable after a certain point in your career. I kind of agree. Facial hair I think would be acceptable as long as it is properly "managed".


  5. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    We shouldn't be judged by our appearance?

    I know that's not what you mean, but start thinking how truly different things like uniform presentation and physique are from other attributes.

    But as to the original question, I'm with Rufusbac. Of course someone can referee with long hair. As to how it's managed... well, wouldn't that be best answered by someone with long hair? If the original poster has long hair, I'd imagine he already has some experience managing it during athletic activities. If he doesn't, I guess I don't understand the point of the thread. Maybe we should ask andymoss to weigh in...
    aaronriley repped this.
  6. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    This falls completely in the "possible urban legend" category, but... I was once told that beards were banned for FIFA referees, with some sort of exception carved out for the Muslim world (but still not allowed at FIFA tournaments).

    As I say, it's probably an urban legend. But, then again, there are somewhere around 800 FIFA referees in the world each year. Name me the last time you saw one with a beard. Even the last few Saudi refs who have made the World Cup have been beardless.
  7. aaronriley

    aaronriley Member

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    I know Alexandru dan Tudor of Romania had facial hair at one point. Only one I can think of but its not "banned" I would guess.
  8. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member

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    Doesn't Jurisivic have facial hair? I do hear what you are saying though. Honestly if you watch enough FIFA refs you get the impression that they want you bald as well.
    dadman repped this.
  9. MassachusettsRef

    MassachusettsRef Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, that disproves the legend pretty quickly! Thank you. Had never seen Tudor, but that certainly proves it's not banned in any formal way.

    Not a full beard, though. But the Tudor example from aaronriley proves that it doesn't really matter.
    dadman repped this.
  10. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    So, do you want to be a professional referee (fairly long shot) or do you want long hair? Is that the question?

    What's the length of the AR's hair in England? You know, the female one?
  11. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

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    Unfortunately for those of us who can actually grow hair at the end of the day hair length is part of what people use when making judgements on one's professionalism. Hair length can be a distraction for people who are observing you, and it can be a distraction to yourself. One you can easily manage, the other requires a bit of balancing between your own identity and what the current professional "image" is of a referee or whatever profession you may use to offset the costs of your refereeing.

    We can contol our hair being a distraction to ourselves. I think that to the extent you have a ponytail, then use whatever means is available to ensure that it is not a distraction to your ability to do your job on the field. My hair is not ponytail length, but on those days when it is necessary (its windy or raining or my hair is just too long), I use a thin headband to keep my bangs out of my eyes.

    As for the views of others, long hair (especially pony tails) can be a focal point for those who want to be critical of your job - whether it is refereeing or giving a presentation at work in some buttoned down or white collar professional setting). For those who are just trying to assess you or observe you or mentor you, it can be a distraction, and if it is their first and possibly only time seeing you - it may be an unfortunate distraction that takes away from the whole of your game.

    At the end of the day we each have our own identity and the challenge each of us faces as a referee is adapting our identity to the collective. From a hair perspective, that requires breaking through all of the noise as to what the actual visual image of a professional referee is and how we fit our identity into this collective image.

    But what is that collective image - Collina? Webb? Geiger? Marrufo? Jurisevic? Should we all have guns and pecs like Chico? What about height? Or weight - those MLS uniforms this past year were not to flattering for some of the referees! But back to hair ---

    One of the supposed rationales for having shorter hair is that you don't want to stick out - that you should not want to be drawing attention to yourself and that longer hair - especially a pony tail would do that. The answer we are told is to wear our hair short and closely cropped - so much so that I suspect that there are some assessors and referees who think that the only acceptable haircut would be high and tight. Yet Collina stuck out because he was completely bald! Short on the sides and spiked on top is ok (Jurisevic and Marrufo)? Widow's peak like Geiger or nearly bald like Webb - these guys get a step up the referee ladder just because genetically they are predisposed to lose their hair?

    I have had more matches assessed or observed over my life than I care to count and over this time I have had flat tops (That's Mr. Ice Man to you), I have had short hair ($12 clipper cuts are great) and more recently, I have had longer hair because as my wife says if you still have it then you should flaunt it.

    To me it gets back to your own identity - if you are comfortable and confident in your skin, you will do your best on the field. For those that want to be critical of you, they will always find something, so don't sweat them and comments about your hair, but rather constantly strive to improve your game - others will notice even when they don't. And as for your hair, it is part of your identity and your own image. I don't know where you are in life - so maybe that ponytail is part of your non-soccer identity and you will have to decide how best to balance that.

    Personally, I think that assessors who bitch the most about hair are the one's who have trouble growing it.
    dadman and Barciur repped this.
  12. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

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    herb silva.jpg By the way, anyone catch the old photo of Herb Silva on USASA's Facebook page?
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  13. Barciur

    Barciur Member

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    First of all I apologize for a really poor OP. I wasn't sure how to put it, so I was hoping a couple of people would weigh in and that's exactly what happened. BS didn't dissappoint me. :)

    Anyway, some great posts here. My question now is:
    Why does that really have to be the case?

    I guess at the point where I am at in my 'career' it doesn't really matter - I'm 19 and only entering my 2nd year asa grade 8. It's a long time before I can even begin to think about higher level of refereeing - and my wants might change and I might want short hair or whatever - in 6 months, 2 years, who knows. So while I personally have longish and am growing long hair at the moment, it's not really a personal question just pertaining to me - I wanted to get some input from others and their opinions on the subject in general.

    As for the female AR's in England - I know I've seen ponytails, but if a guy had a ponytail it would probably not be 'acceptable.' Is it just because of social standards? Is that likely to change or - just like the football world in general - it's likely to remain very conservative?

    Baka_Shinpan touched on a lot of great points. I think what I am currently most concerned with is that people will automatically be more critical of me because of that. I've already refereed with a hat on on a very cold day and I've heard comments like "that hat is getting into your eyes and you can't see anything ref" etc.
    dadman repped this.
  14. Yale

    Yale Member

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    My hair has gone down past my shoulders for 12 or 13 years—I think I stopped cutting it short around the time I graduated high school. I'd let it grow longer, but it just doesn't get any longer than it already is. I almost always wear it tied back into a ponytail—so much so that nearly everyone I know thinks it's strange enough to comment on if I don't wear one on occasion (most often, they had simply forgotten that I have long hair :)).

    My hair has never caused me any problems in any way that I'm aware of. I just brush it back into a ponytail in the morning, and don't really think about it much until night. Sometimes if my hair gets a bit unruly, I'll redo the ponytail just to smooth it out, but other than that I don't really even notice it most of the time. I don't think my hair has made anyone take me less seriously, either in my career or as a referee—but then again I work in entertainment, so it's pretty "hip", at 6' tall and 270 lbs. I cut a fairly imposing figure regardless!

    That said, I maintain no illusions about ever wanting to be a professional referee, so I don't really care that much if anyone thinks less of me because of it. I do youth games on the weekends because I enjoy doing it, and my region is happy to have me regardless of my appearance (that is, they're glad to have anyone who is willing to ref!). Again, I don't think my hair has hampered either my technical ability or my game management abilities in any way. Have people made comments on the sidelines about it? Who knows. Probably. I've been an AR enough times to know that idiots will comment on anything just to be snarky when they think we're not listening. As long as they keep it to themselves I really don't care. Anyway, if you're a big guy like me—or you just act big on the field—I doubt you'll have much of a problem.
    dadman repped this.
  15. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

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    @barcuir -

    Will a ponytail ever be acceptable at a high level on a guy - doubtful - just goes with the nature of presenting a "professional" image. But as Yale noted, in some professions a ponytail is hip and part of the image!

    You are 19 so you are still trying to figure out college or work and what your future career path may be. Ultimately I think that will have a bigger influence on your hair style.

    Professionally, I can specifically recall encountering two men with pony tails during work - I have encountered others, but I remember these two because the first guy gave a presentation that was bad and because it was bad, I fixated on his pony tail and how my company had this guy with a pony tail representing us. The other was a meeting where the guy with the pony tail and Birkenstocks was throwing up roadblocks to several of the agenda items we had. Again, he was blocking us and I fixated on the hippy with the ponytail who was working against us.

    On the flip side, I have worked with several guys in my profession - usually more science or technical guys who do field work - ie, not in an office all the time who have ponytails and other than sitting here scratching my head tonight would not have even though anything of it.

    So the point is if someone is not satisfied with your actions or results in soccer or in work, then the ponytail becomes a focal point for their frustrations or scorn. Since it is perceived as unprofessional in many settings it becomes something tangible that people can criticize about you.

    So if you are hearing crap from coaches or parents, then the ponytail is going to be something they fixate on - same with a hat or pants.

    Good referees and assessors (and players and coaches) are going to judge you by the way you manage the game and make the right calls. At your stage, as long as you are having fun and enjoying the game, that is all that matters. Try to constantly improve and learn with each and every opportunity and the game will reward you with new challenges and opportunities. If you get those opportunities, then you have to judge whether it is time for a haircut.

    A college age ref I know came home for the summer with long hair an a crazy beard - just a good care free college look. Is that fine for local games where your mentors and assignors know you - sure, but if you then get given an opportunity to go referee at state cup or at a regional tournament where higher ups may see you, then that carefree look can be a distraction and a mark against you by the higher-ups who are looking for good young referees to advance to the higher levels - such as the Penso comment referenced above. This guy recognized that and cleaned it up a bit before heading out because he wanted to make a good first impression on the regional guys.
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  16. Referee_Irl

    Referee_Irl Member

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    On a sidenote -

    What about dyed multi coloured hair? Last year I dyed my hair for charity for a month & continued to referee mens games!
    Pink, Red & Yellow
  17. MOREFFIN

    MOREFFIN Member

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    I'm 46 and I have had a variety of beards and mustaches since my 20s. I have always had short hair (and now thinning!) Officiating is just like any other career with public exposure. The higher you get, the less likely you are to see facial hair and the more likely to see well groomed hair. It's not that you never see it at the top levels (management or officiating or coaching), it's just not common. Is it written somewhere? Not likely but typically implied as you come up through the ranks.

    I've recently shaved all facial hair as the level of USSF and college games I'm receiving continue to rise. I'll never see an Academy or higher game but I do want to present the best image possible.

    Will you find a CEO with a beard or long hair? Sure. Will you find a truck driver who shaves everyday and has well groomed hair? Absolutely.

    Fact is that it's a societal expectation.

    You have to do what it right for you but you have to understand it's a perception thing and be prepared to accept that.
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  18. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    How I normally look is to the left.

    How I look at the end of a winter's growing period:

    [​IMG]

    I've done indoor wearing my "coat" and attending last years RTS with it (I was training for a spring marathon and it can be chilly at 5:00am), but I've never referee'd outdoors like this and certainly wouldn't on any high level match.

    Like it or not, appearances and first impressions matter.

    And like it or not, life ain't fair. If you want to look outside what society considers normal, understand it may work against you.

    If an assignor has to choose between two referees who are exactly the same grade, experience, fitness, age, etc., but one looks "better on telly" than the other, then Study Do-right is gonna get the gig.

    Don't like this? Change. Get skinnier, fitter, cut your hair, shave, don't get full sleeve tattoos (or cover 'em up), work on looking taller (my current task). Or don't.

    Prus did matches a few years ago looking if he'd just come back from a couple of months in the woods in darkest Poland, BUT he had the history and pedigree to be able to pull this off.

    PS - Collina contracted a severe form of allopecia.
  19. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

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    What really sucks is having to clean up the winter coat due to soccer when you have a ski trip the following week. For me, makes for cold ears and a cold face.
  20. Errol V

    Errol V Member+

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    I was a "long hair" as a young man. When I needed to look professional (at work, for instance) I would wear a ponytail. If I had hair today, I would have long hair, and I would treat it just the same. Both for purposes of appearance and so that it didn't get in the way, I would wear a ponytail when refereeing.
  21. FLRef

    FLRef Member

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    Guy in my association has a Kyle Beckerman-type 'do going on. Haven't done a game with him, but I bet it's pretty interesting!
    refontherun repped this.
  22. techguy9707

    techguy9707 Member

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    I know I am merely a Referee Administrator for my little league but... We had two games yesterday and the second was officiated by a woman with a pony sticking out her ball cap, a guy with his hair in a pony tail (with three pony bands) and a guy with a "professionals" hair cut. I guess looking back, the other game had a bald guy with a beanie, another with a cap, and third with a sunglasses and a brimmed hat that has sun sensitivity issues.

    Did I think any different about the first two relative to the others? No, I was glad to see them ready to referee on a cold, grey day.

    If I were a state level administrator, I might see things differently; but for youth league soccer, play on.
    dadman repped this.
  23. nonya

    nonya Member

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    If as an assessor you are noticing and making note of the hair style of the referee and not what he/she is actually doing, then either that person is a really good referee, the game is a bad one, or more likely you have no idea what you are doing. I don't remember anything in my assessor courses that I took that mentioned anything about hairstyle.
  24. aphelorah

    aphelorah Member

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    That may be true, but assessors should also be honest about how a referee's hairstyle can inhibit their career, if the referee has such aspirations. Basically, having long hair is going to put a "glass ceiling" on your career, because the perception will be a negative one. Early in my career I had long-ish hair (not long enough to tie back into a pony tail, but still longer than normal). I had a national referee approach me at a tournament after a match and comment that from a distance, he thought I moved pretty well for a girl (I'm a guy). The message was received, and I keep my hair much shorter these days.
    dadman repped this.
  25. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    What year is this? My advice...wear your hair the way you want to.

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