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Question Number: 27783

Fitness 9/19/2013

RE: Competitive College

Al Sinopoli of Friendswood, Texas USA asks...

I was recently told by a local adult league assignor that according to some new US Soccer directive, that my plans to upgrade to grade 5 (from my current grade 6) would not receive much support due to my age (47). The statement was worded as if there was some doctrine that 'administrators' were to discourage upgrades to 5 unless they are potential National Candidates (i.e - younger).

Please note I already meet all the game count, fitness, and test requirements. The only items to tackle are the assessments.

I understand the reality that I will only go so far, but I have worked hard. Is there truth in this being a directive (assessment or otherwise) by US Soccer or within State Associations? Should I not be motivated to achieve the next level, simply because the level above that is not in 'the cards'? If you have any official insight I'd appreciate it, because this comment is upsetting.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Al
Throughout the world there are efforts underway to encourage younger good referees so the top of the refereeing pyramid has sufficient numbers and that the age profile is lowered in that process.
One of the challenges facing all associations is that when the focus in on older candidates for promotion the 'churn' is greater and quicker. Also to hone the skills of young referees many associations have academy systems and the focus is on the development of these younger referees with games at higher levels.
Now having said all that the only true test is to actually attempt to upgrade. There will always be a demand for higher grade referees and if the criteria are met then why not?
In our association getting younger referees suitable for progression is a challenge and the focus is on candidates that can progress to national levels which is the same as USSF. So while that might be the intent the reality can be somewhat different. Having enough referees at the relevant grades to cover games is the most important consideration.
My advice is to go for it with enthusiasm. The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

As long as USSF does not set an age restriction for Grade 5, ask for your assessments and go for it. I've always found age limits stupid. Does anyone really think Collina didn't have another good 5 years left? Instead the game was deprived of one of the all time greats because of FIFA's arbitrary mandatory retirement age.
At 47 you are probably at your peak, so have fun and get the Grade you deserve

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