This question has long plagued me... Why don't Grassroots refs get more training?
Year after year, we throw new, young and old refs to the wolves as if they were pawns in a chess game. We treat them as if they are expendable. We drop them into the deep end and hope that they swim. More often than not, they drown and never come back.
More than 80% of referees do not make it to their 4th year before hanging up the whistle. Any experienced ref would tell you that it takes at least 3-5 years to begin to feel confident and in control on the pitch.
How much money and time is US Soccer, Georgia Soccer (My home state association) or a local club investing in these new refs to ensure their success on the pitch? Not much from what I can tell and that should be concerning for all of us. I have been reffing for 7+ years. In my first 5 years, I don't think I received a single recorded observation or assessment.
The result is a bad experience for the new refs, the players and coaches they ref and the parents that watch (and often yell from the sidelines). These bad experiences become a distraction from the game and often become a source for negativity and frustration for everyone.
There seems to be ample opportunities for training and development as ref's begin to ascend the ranks towards Regional and PRO levels in the US, but what about Grassroots? Why are we only focused on the top 1% of the refs and not the 99% of other refs and the games being played across the country?
I don't have the answer and I certainly know how to fund it. I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.