The Westport Chapter of Soccer Officials currently has a roster of 36 members, including long time referee Steve Stahl, in back. With between 14 to 18 games in a single day, the organization is seeking new members to help provide proper coverage at both varsity and modified games.
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
continued Monty said that the chapter is always actively recruiting for new members to join their ranks, even looking at members of local teams that are seniors.
“We have sent notices out to schools and put it out there with the coaches, trying to plant the seed with some of these players,” Monty said. “We are looking at kids that are staying local for college and I will work around their schedule, but we are just not getting a response. I can‘t help but think that, as a college student or young adult back in the area, you could not use $1,500 over six weeks.”
Monty said that the attitude players see towards the officials from the sidelines may be to blamed for their lack of wanting to stay with the gamer locally through officiating.
“You have to have thick skin at times, especially when you are doing the big games,” Monty said. “Kids do not want to go out there and face what they have seen coming from the parents and fans in the stands. “
Monty also said that he was surprised by where the officials come from.
“You see a lot of youth soccer and interest in the sport in the Lake Placid region, but only one of our officials is from there,” he said. “The base of our officials come from Westport and Willsboro. You would think that there would be more from some of these others towns because you get mileage to go along with the pay for each game.”
Monty said that while he is focused on bringing new soccer officials into the fold, he realized that this is not a unique situation.
“All of the other sports are experiencing the same thing,” he said. “I know that the population has decreased and a lot of kids move on after high school, but there are people out there who love the game, and that is what you need to have. I love the game and I always appreciate seeing great plays from these kids, no matter who they play for.”
Those interested in learning more about becoming a referee in the Westport Chapter of Soccer Officials or elsewhere in the North Country, call Monty at 962-4737.