By: Todd Abraham, NISOA Sr. Director of Instruction
As part of NISOA’s strategic planning process, the Board has developed a set of imperatives and areas of focus for the organization moving forward. Please see the December newsletter for more details on this effort. As part of the planning exercise, a key 2018 / 2019 priority is to assess all of our training efforts to ensure they are fully aligned with the needs of the membership and the goals of NISOA. Our training is meant to ensure that NISOA members have the tools, capabilities, awareness and situational understanding to officiate at the collegiate level in a consistent and superior manner. When assessing our efforts against that goal, the Elizabethtown introductory course did not fully meet our needs. Originally established to recruit and train new members when NISOA was in its infancy, the soccer landscape has changed making this effort better done by local chapters who can best judge the proficiency of local candidates based on the high level recreational and interscholastic soccer all of our new members do before joining NISOA. Consequently, the 2019 NISOA Referee Training Camp has been cancelled.
The Elizabethtown Training Camp has been an important piece of NISOA’s education over the past 20 years and we are grateful for the partnership with the College. We also understand that many current NISOA members began their college officiating career at the Referee Training Camp. However, with our more focused educational efforts, we must move on from this event to more localized, streamlined and targeted programs. The evaluation from residential camps to local one-day sessions is happening across the spectrum of training. With more personal and soccer related demands on all of our official’s time, it is necessary to tailor our programs to better meet the member’s needs. We have initiated more frequent “learning opportunities” through video clips (with correct interpretation) to ensure consistency and alignment. We are holding a National Summit in February focused not only on rules training, but also on the management of the game while giving membership a chance for social interactions and discussions with the Executive Board. On-line and virtual training has been implemented with the harassment training used this year and will continue to be a major part of our educational efforts moving ahead. With all that said, NISOA’s national clinicians are still available to help with (and conduct) local training sessions in partnership with the chapter leadership. We will continue to evaluate the Referee Training Camp’s role within the NISOA Instructional Program on an annual basis.
I am excited by the direction the training efforts are taking following the strategic plan and assessment of our membership and stakeholder’s needs and appreciate your feedback and perspective.