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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 28177

Other 2/13/2014

RE: USSF Grade 8 Under 13

Brian H of Seattle, Washington USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28052

Hello again,

I am now the proud holder of a USSF referee badge, and have already worked as an AR for a couple of games. I'll have my first center assignment in a couple of weeks in a youth league that's especially set up for development of referees and younger players.

My question has to do with the new requirements for Grade 7 that were rolled out for badge year 2014. According to my State Referee Committee's website, the fitness test and practical evaluation are no longer required, there is no more game experience or previous grade experience requirement, and adult game experience is 'preferred' (and classroom priority given to referees with such experience) but not a firm requirement. I meet the age requirement by a considerable margin, so it appears that all I would have to do is take the Grade 7 course and pass the written test to make Grade 7. Given how little experience I currently have at Grade 8, would it be wise to go for Grade 7 just as something to have in the back pocket, knowing full well that I would likely not be officiating at the highest level that that grade entitles me to for some time?

Thanks again!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
Talk to your assignor. While you can probably meet the technical requirements it is always best to gain experience.
Too early a step up can damage confidence when things go wrong and it can also damage your standing in the longer term even if your capability improves with experience.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

I think you should talk to your local assignor about your desire to upgrade and ask what you should do. I think they will tell you that an immediate try at Grade 7 would be making a mistake (unless you are a former professional player or coach).

Grade 7 is for those who already can center adult and U19 matches. They require a different skill set and a great deal of experience in managing angry adults under stress. It is not the place to learn the art of refereeing.

First, you will not learn as much now from the Grade 7 clinic as you will after you have more experience as a referee. The clinic is focussed on the adult match and will assume that you know from your experience as a Grade 8 referee (youth competitive matches) mechanics, positioning, and procedures. Someone who just passed the grade 8 clinic and is starting to do matches will have questions that the clinic is not designed to answer. Those answers will be at your association meetings, and at a grade 8 recertification clinic.

Second, your badge increases the expectations of the referees who don't know you. They will be very happy to help someone who is new and wants to get better. They may be angry at someone who makes errors that are typical of a Grade 8, but not of a Grade 7. If there is a Professional or Advanced referee program in your area, join it. You will find potential mentors who can answer your questions and help you progress.

Third, your assignor knows what the State Referee Committee wants for Grade 7, and can help you meet your goal by giving you assignments that will challenge you, but not so high that you will feel like a failure. (No one's first match should be a BU16 competitive game.) Many states are trying to adjust to the new grade requirements, and their new power to adjust the rules for 2015. So, your assignor may know what your state really requires when it says that actual experience at adult matches is "preferred."

I hope, in a couple years, refereeing will become a passion and you will come back and ask whether you should go for Grade 6.

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