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Mark Sprenger (Marko), AskTheRef.com Creator

Folsom California USA

First AskTheRef.com Appearance:10/1/1999

First Year Licensed:Summer 1998
License Level:Grade 8

Association:US Soccer
Additional Associations:CYSA, OVYSL

In 1998 I was licensed as a grade 8 referee. I quickly realized that three kids playing soccer, a referee certification and a few hours going over the Laws of the game did not equate to a well qualified match official. What it did equate to was several moment of public humiliation never mind the abuse from the sidelines. (This was 8 year olds by the way) Like many referees I found myself wondering if the abuse and humiliation were worth it. I decided that I loved doing it and no matter what they through at me I was going find out what the answers were so I could maintain a confident presence out there.

What I found was that it is difficult to find someone who could answer my questions regarding application of the Laws in a given situation. In fact I learned very quickly that I was among the few who knew the letter of the law. I needed to know the when and the how of it all if I was going to do my job well.

Having a technical background and an aversion to public humiliation I created AskTheRef.com for folks, like myself, who would love a channel to get quick answers to their 'Stupid' questions. I suppose I could have called it AskAStupidQuestion.com but as we all know...

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION


After all, for referees asking a 'stupid' questions can create many hours of interesting, humorous, heated and meaningful debate. The outcome will be a better understanding for everyone.

I took the better part of a summer to create the first version of AskTheRef.com. I invited local and international referees to assist on the site. To my surprise many high level referees were interested in helping mentor young referees using this medium. That was the start of AskTheref.com and has grown into a community of thousands of referees, coaches and fans. Isn't the Internet amazing?

As for me I have been unable to referee for several years but I still love to read through the posts. Soccer has been a big part of my family for a long time. My father moved here from Brazil where soccer was as much a part of their lives as food. We continued the tradition and all of my kids play soccer. They are awesome to watch. When I am not on the field I continue to invent and launch new products for a very innovative company in Folsom California.

Hobbies and General Interest

I love sports of all kinds - soccer especially!

Favorite Quote

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

James


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Offside Question?

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This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.