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NJYS State Cups Provide Development Opportunity for Grassroots Referees

Written by Mercedes Fraistat

New Jersey Youth Soccer recently crowned 24 champions in its 11U-14U National Championship Series, Presidents Cup and Commissioners Cup competitions. The state's most prestigious tournaments called for New Jersey's up-and-coming officials to take charge.

The 41 specially selected referees took part in a unique development opportunity consisting of educational seminars and on-field observations from a pool of 10 referee coach-mentors. A total of 59 referees attended one or more of the clinics offered and received on-field mentoring during the Semifinal and Final weekends of the NJYS State Cups.

A highlight for referees in attendance included instruction from New Jersey native Mark Geiger, a two-time FIFA Men's World Cup referee and NJYS Hall of Fame inductee, and Logan Brown, an active assistant referee within Major League Soccer.

NJ State Youth Referee Administrator, Dan Paolini, spoke to the importance of Geiger's attendance for grassroots referee development.

"Mark's instruction was an intangible benefit that demonstrates the need for everyone to give back to the game," Paolini said. "The referees in the room gained knowledge, but they were also inspired."

Geiger said that as a New Jersey referee, "those environments, like NJYS State Cups, play a critical role in referee development."

The NJ State Referee Committee (NJSRC) provides education, training, and development for soccer officials through the US Soccer Federation Referee Program. Additionally, the NJSRC identifies referees for state tournaments such as the NJYS State Cups.

For information on the NJ State Referee Committee or becoming a referee, please visit njrefs.com.