Referee Mentoring Program

District 2 and some leagues have now been engaged in a mentoring program for a few years. Clinics, training sessions and one-on-one mentoring have been very successful in providing a sort of big brother/sister network for our officials.

An integral part of the program is the mentors. Accordingly, should you have an interest in becoming a mentor and learning more about the program, please contact Ron Marfil

The mentoring program has two primary goals. The first is retention. We are working to provide support and encouragement to keep our referees—particularly our newer referees—in the program. The second goal is growth. We want to help identify those officials capable of upgrading in the referee ranks and provide help in doing so.

The program is being fostered through and with various leagues in the district. Those leagues wishing to start a mentor program can contact Ron Marfil He in turn will conduct an informational and training session for potential mentors on "whys and hows" of this program.

Mentor Program Notes, Fall 2008

So I thought I would send out a little update on mentoring. This is my second note in a few weeks and normally I don't write to you that much, but a lot is happening.

For instance, Tony Rodriguez (Orchard Valley Youth Soccer League in the southern part of the Santa Clara County) wrote the following.

Thanks for sending the below email and for the Referee and Assistant Referee Mentor worksheets. Here is what Orchard Valley is doing regarding mentoring:
We Identified mentors for the 2008 soccer season. We went from 4 to 6 mentors.

Tom Tilmant (Almaden) decided to mentor/protect only his younger games for now, to help teach and protect his solo centers being used in USSF best practices games where a 1-person crew is used.

We did a mentor meeting and 16 volunteers showed up to help, including very seasoned high ranking refs. Indication is they will expand this going forward. They are paying their mentors.

Tibor, the new coord/assignor in Sunnyvale, arranged for me to address his board this week to start a program there. We address boards to see if they will agree to do some basic things.

  1. Make sure all games have coaches one side, parents the other.
  2. Empower assigned mentors as 4th officials if needed to help control bench area/support officials if needed.
  3. Agree to publicize program to league.

Allen Madanipour has already had a number of matches mentored and more have been requested. He has also written and told me he has three more mentors wanting to join his group on top of the eight that attended our mentor training meeting a few weeks ago. De Anza is assigning their mentors via Arbiter and paying them.

There is a plan in place to address Santa Cruz clubs later this month about starting a program. Will update you on that next time.

Mentor Program Notes, Summer 2008

Referee mentoring is alive and well. A number of leagues are going strong with various mentor programs including Almaden, North Valley, DeAnza and Burlingame. Others such as West Valley, Soth San Jose and Santa Cruz are restarting their efforts.

All it takes is a scan of the local referee assigning web sites and subscriptions to a few leagues to note the continuing shortage of referees. We "graduate" about 800 new referees a year, but the survival rate into year two seems to be less than endangered sea turtles.

Retention and growth of referees is a key to our survival as a sport. If we continue to let this go, we will have no referees for games, leagues will be paying over a hundred dollars a game to compete for the tiny pool we have, etc.

Per our District Director of Assessment, assessments are down, and upgrades are down. Where are the senior referees goiong to come from to work those older competitive games?

On the overall mentor front, we in our district have been contacted by associations in Southern California and Indiana recently to ask for help and direction in starting a program in their area. They found us via web surfing and the mention in the site.

If there are any league ref coordinators out there that want to start or restart a program, please contact me and maybe I can help with some ideas, an information and training meeting or ??? Ron Marfil 408-379-9773,

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