Just last week the South Jersey Soccer League presented its annual "Sportsmanship Awards" for coaches. The program is for coaches in the Under 8, Under 9 and Under 10 age brackets. The purpose of the program is to recognize and reward a coach in each conference for exhibiting sportsmanship on and off the field. The recipient of the award is to exhibit the following:
Coaches in each conference vote for one of their peers and cannot vote for themselves. Congratulations to the following for earning this years distinction as South Jersey Soccer League's SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD winners:
- A positive attitude
- Being a role model
- Abiding by the rules
Under 8: Nour Obiessy - Highland, Art Cowan - Cape Express, and Steve Pirollo - Highland.
Under 9: Jim Donnelly - Mt. Laurel, Brian Beatty - Cherry Hill, David Lamb - Princeton, Jeff Lowinger - Maple Shade, Joe Oveliette - Highland, Jim Dugan - Haddonfield, Gregg Toci - Haddonfield, Victor Guerra - Deptford, Paul Cray - Maple Shade, Lynne Denny - Delran, and Rich Jennings - EPAA.
Under 10: Barry Gleissner - Cohansey, Mark Bryan - Medford, Reynolds Dowd - Mainland, Mike Horlacher - Washington Twp., Brian Law - Berlin Township, Scott Cooper - Westmont, Pat Connelly - Haddon Heights, Paul Wallowich - West Deptford, Maugerite Walker - Pemberton, Mike Hartey - Runnemede, and Mickey Powers - Millville.
Members of the South Jersey Soccer Officials Association will be conducting both USSF and High School referee classes. The deadline for registering is 3-10-03 for USSF and 3-17-03 for High School. Please contact Walt Klein via E-mail at GKlein1423@aol.com. There is a nominal fee for each class. Good luck and welcome to our refereeing ranks.
Chuck Fleischer, State Emeritus Referee, tells the story of his most interesting game experiences. An Under 6 coed game played on a ground in North Carolina in '77 is typical of beginning soccer careers. Some players picked flowers that grew near the pitch, others stood next to a fence and watched pigs, and still others stopped to watch the airplanes landing at the airport on the other side of the fence. Really a high-pressure match. Youth are still youth and should enjoy the simple pleasures of life even during a game situation.
Victor Matheson, USSF National Referee, tells of the time that he officiated a youth match. The ball struck and killed a low flying bird. What's the restart for this?
Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter and columnist, recently did an article about the amount of yellow and red cards issued to players from New Jersey High Schools this past season. The NJSIAA is alarmed about the high number of players and coaches who were disqualified during the boys' soccer season. This article generated quite a few readers' responses. Here are a few followed by my personal comments:
"Some ideas to improve high school boys' soccer - of course they will never happen:"
It is my opinion that the responsibility lies within the coaching ranks. Coaches, many, blame the ref for their losses. In an eighty minute game that is a lot of blaming to put on a neutral party. In my 18 years of high school soccer I have only issued 3 red cards. One for a player violently attacking another player, one for a player threatening my safety, and one to a coach for abusive language to me.
- Let the players play on real size fields. Most play on fields that are too small. This leads to physical play. Every field should be 70 yards wide.
Comment: Not every school has the physical capacity to make their fields any bigger. Most all school, public schools have fields that are ample. There are a few exceptions. The game is to be played on what is available. Not much that can be done here.
- Having only two ref's means players can be murdered in the middle of the field. Have a three-man system. That's what colleges, clubs and the rest of the world have.
Comment: First we must ask why the two-man system is used-there are not enough referees available to man a three-man system. "Murder in the middle of the field?" A reputable two-man system will prevent this through good positioning and game Control.
- There are too many high school coaches who lack the ability to teach the game.
Comment: This is very true at the less talented school programs. It also might have to do with the lack of talented players at some schools. Teaching the game is more than strategy. Rules or as we prefer, the Laws of the Game, are not taught. Simple things such as the kind of kick that is awarded after a foul are still not known by the players and some coaches. Why are players asking the ref for the answer?
When are high school coaches going to focus their team on the game itself? I'd like to see the mouth piece/teeth guard made mandatory, less chance of excessive talking to officials.
Have you ever noticed the better performing high schools have the better coaches? This is not accidental. These people know the game, know how to work with their players and know how to coach.
QUESTION: Why do High Schools use a totally separate set of laws to govern their game. Are not FIFA's laws good enough? What do you think? Let me know.