We are getting ready to dive into the 2016 registration cycle continuing the growth that we started last year. For the first time since moving to online registration, we actuallyincreased our numbers in 2015! We are just under 2,000 referees which is an increase of 150 referees over last year. I expect to see this number grow again in 2016. One of the Board's goals was to hit 2,000 referees by 2017, so we are on our way. We need to actively recruit and this is where you can assist by talking with your friends.
Earlier this year we welcomed a new State Youth Referee Administrator, Todd Sergi, who has taken on the job at full speed. I want to thank Murray Boess, the outgoing SYRA, for all that he has done for the ASRA program. Recently, we tried a new approach by having assessors at the fields mentoring during the lead up to President’s Cup and State Cup. This worked very well as the referees for finals and semis were selected based on their performance prior to these events. It also helped us mentor referees at all levels and give the Board a “road map” for where we need to focus our efforts to assist all referees reach their desired potential. We will continue this approach in all of the major tournaments coming up during the fall and spring. An additional benefit was that teams had well-rested officials for the semis and finals which led to a better overall result and was much appreciated by AYSA.
Fitness tests are ongoing and we have had a good turnout so far. Paul Nothman has taken on the role of fitness coordinator and will schedule a few more tests in the fall. The assignor program is under scrutiny this year as USSF has implemented new requirements with more to come. I will be looking very closely at our program this year and appreciate the feedback I have gotten from you referees about assigning in general.
Be sure to congratulate Ben Davis for being selected as the Arizona Young Referee of the Year and as the Region IV Youth Referee of the Year! This is a great honor for Ben as well as for Arizona. The competition was very close with the nominees all having attained outstanding young careers. Ben nevertheless was able to shine and is a standout among standouts. With that said, are you the next referee of the year?
Arizona was very well represented at both Regionals and President’s Cup this summer. We will continue to prepare referees for these programs; hopefully, you can be one of the referees representing Arizona next year.
The feedback regarding online training has been positive for Grade 8 and 9 referees. We will have some online training for Grade 6 and 7 this year, but will continue with clinic sessions as well to utilize video clips, presentations and video tests. Also, new this year for Grade 8 and 9 referees, video sessions will be made available online for continuing education at no additional cost. I challenge you to take some of these sessions to see how you do. Look for recertification clinics for Grade 8 and 9 to go online in August as soon as USSF gets the final required material to us.
Please welcome Wendell Babb as our new State Director of Instruction and Sarah Tekulve as our new State Registrar. I want to thank Bryce Seeman for the 30 years he served as SDI and look forward to his continuing help in his new role as Executive Director. I also want to thank Jane Fallon for all that she has done as Registrar and for all the other roles she has played behind the scenes. Jane, you will be missed.
Lastly, keep an eye on our website, azref.com, for announcements. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Many people are out there who think they have the answers, but have steered many of you the wrong way. Don't be afraid to speak with any of the Board members to get clarification. Thank you to the Board for helping to move the program forward in a new direction.
Again, thanks for what you do! Help us make your referee program in Arizona a huge success.