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James Sowa

Chicago IL USA

First AskTheRef.com Appearance:

First Year Licensed:2003
License Level:USSF 6

Association:
Additional Associations:

I officially started refereeing in 2003 as a way to make pocket change. I had actually been serving as a club line for my brother for two years prior to actually certifying. For some reason I liked it and was very eager to get out on the pitch. I refereed all through high school and off an on through college. I had a series of mentors throughout my early years which helped me to stick with the game and helped me work through some tough situations.

When I graduated college, I put refereeing aside for about a year to start work. The job demands did not allow me a reliable time to devote to the whistle. Once I settled into my new position, the demands changed I was able to step back on the pitch. This was in 2012 and when I really decided to push my limits.

I worked close to 200 games that year, including my upgrade to a USSF 7 and my first men's games. I followed that up last year by working close to 360 games. I also took my first big leaps towards a state referee.

I feel like 2014 has been my breakthrough year. I completed my upgrade to USSF 6 and have been tasked with several challenging appointments. I was able to travel to several out of state tournaments and a pair of Development Academy events. I was also able to start giving back to the game through the State association and through local mentoring.

My goals going forward are to take the whistle as far as it will go but to also support up and coming referees in the State and locally. I have met some great people through refereeing and would like to open those opportunities to the next set of referees.

Favorite Quote

Some paraphrases from two college assignors: "Soccer is a simple game. Call the fouls. No coach has ever complained at the end that too many fouls were called." "Get the critical decisions correct. Those in the attacking and defensive thirds. Those


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