Hello, I am Gary Huber President of NISOA. I wanted to reach out to all of our NISOA family. With the COVID-19 Pandemic still an active threat to our health and economy, the entire NISOA Board of Directors hopes you and your family are in a good place.
Since March, the NISOA Board of Directors have met on a bimonthly basis to discuss how the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting the NISOA community and its potential impact on the 2020 Soccer Season. We implemented a number of initiatives, both short term and long term, to help our membership financially and to advance learning opportunities. In this note, I want to share these efforts with our members.
The Foundation Fund Sponsored Stimulus Event is nearing it completion with extreme success. Membership from across the country have participated in the “earn and learn” program. To date, over $8,750 has been awarded to 70 winners. Joining Tori each week on NISOA’s YouTube Live broadcast have been special guest analysts such as Howard Webb, Mark Geiger, Jeremy Hanson, and Robert Sibiga. These analysts have provided top-class education by breaking down the most missed clips for our membership. Recordings of each session can be found on NISOA’s YouTube Channel. Full weekly analysis/answer key of each clip can be found on NISOA’s web site. Special thanks to Neverends Productions, NISOA’s Official Educational Broadcast Partner, for their efforts in producing the weekly live events for our membership.
In light of the changing status of restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing and the need to commit to venues in advance, NISOA has decided to suspend all in person National Clinics for the upcoming summer. We know some states are starting to ease up on restrictions by allowing small group gatherings, but we must make these decisions with the best interest of our membership’s safety in mind on a National Level now. Groups of 10 or less will not be an effective nor financially responsible way to provide our membership with a preeminent educational program experience during this rule change year. Additionally, the safety and wellbeing of our instructional staff are an important consideration and travel over the summer may be problematic.
Speaking of the rule changes, NISOA is collaborating with the NCAA and our partners to provide an in-depth, comprehensive chunked presentation approach in order for our membership to be fully prepared to take the field this fall. Once finished we will work together to determine the best course of action for ensuring that all members, including but not limited to; Referees, Assessors, Assignors, and Local Chapter Leadership will all have access to this critical education prior to the start of the season.
NISOA is finalizing a calendar for the Summer Educational Series. It will be published in the next few days starting in June and continuing on most weekends thru August 1st. There will be many options to attend online this year especially with the vast new rule changes.
Although there are numerous rumors swirling from reduced schedule to the cancellation of the entire season, the NISOA Senior Leadership is diligently working hard to ensure no matter when the season begins, our membership will be fully prepared to take the field. However, ultimately it is your responsibility as a professional to make sure you are physically fit and mentally prepared (rules knowledge) for the upcoming season.
The Executive Board of Directors, with the entire NISOA Family in mind, are looking into a possible rebate/credit of dues for 2021 should we experience a shortened or cancelled season. As plans for the fall season become clearer and more defined, we will continue to keep our membership updated and informed of these developments. All members can expect their 2020 Badges, Preseason Guide, Comparison Study, and new rules Books to be delivered no later than the beginning of August.
Next I’d like to address our recommendations for chapters. In most areas, due to social distancing, in-person meetings will be challenging. NISOA policy indicates all members must attend a minimum of 3 meetings per year. This year, we have decided to make an exception to this requirement. We encourage chapters to adhere to CDC, State, and local rules to oversee your meeting policies. Attending online rules and instruction will count toward this minimum meeting requirement.
In regard to the Physical Fitness Testing, vast social distancing requirements in different parts of the country will make it extremely challenging to administer the test on a consistent basis. Therefore, we encourage all referees to train on their own and be physically fit for the upcoming season. Chapters are allowed to monitor as they see fit. To help membership with their fitness levels, NISOA will be providing referee specific workouts to its members starting on May 31, 2020. Each Sunday until the start of the season, NISOA will be releasing 3 workouts per week on NISOA.com. These workouts were created with the social distancing guidelines in place throughout the country. Membership is strongly encouraged to participate in this program to ensure their fitness levels are at peak performance for the start of the season.
The National Referee Program will be informing all National Referees and Candidates the requirements and how you may fulfill your requirements in this pandemic year as soon as we finalize those requirements.
Senior Director of Evaluations, George Noujaim, has appointed Amanda Ross to his program as the new Director of Assessments. We are very proud of Ms. Ross’ accomplishments at both the collegiate and international level and look forward to her providing extraordinary value to our Assessment Program.
Given the fluidity of the current situation, we can only prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Be careful and respectful of others space, follow your local guidelines, and study the new rules online and stay fit. More to follow.
Gary W Huber