The definitions for the words in the title of this article are as follows:
- Respect – honor or esteem
- Honor – high regard or respect
- Grateful- thankful.
The first two, respect and honor directly relate to each other while the last supports the first two. This article will focus on how these words should be part of the intercollegiate soccer officials’ vocabulary.
Intercollegiate soccer officials should have respect for the game, players, coaches, school administrators and fellow officials.
The players have worked very hard throughout their careers to reach this level. Officials should enter all games respecting players and their individual skills. Officials need to act professionally when dealing with players and strive to earn the respect they deserve. Top officials at the intercollegiate level have developed communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal, that earns the respect of the players.
Officials must respect all intercollegiate assignments and enter the games with the perspective that all games are important for the players that are participating. Officials must never feel the assignments are not important and only attempt to “go through the motions” rather than working at the 100% level for these games. All assignments cannot be at the Division I level or with one of the top ranked teams. The many other teams participating at the intercollegiate level deserve the same respect. Assignors have a very difficult task of covering all games with the officials the assignors feel are the best available. This often times occurs on short notice when game times or sites are changed. Officials need to honor the commitment of all assignments and not “shop around” for better games.
Coaches at the higher levels of intercollegiate soccer have worked hard to develop their coaching skills and rise to this level of coaching. Most coaches attend coaching schools, clinics, read coaching journals, and constantly seek ways to improve the coaching methods. Officials should demonstrate a respect for all coaches. At times, coaches may lose their composure during the heat of the moment. Officials must remain calm and professional and determine what is the best method to respond to these incidents. This could vary from ignoring the comments, making a quick comment to the coach as the game progresses, stopping the game and speaking to the coach, or a caution or ejection. All scenarios must be dealt with as an individual action and officials must not react to coaches based on a past incident in another game or the perceived reputation of the coaches. Officials must also remember that some comments by coaches are pure gamesmanship to motivate the teams or attempt to gain a call in their favor later in games. Top officials know how to approach coaches and ensure the game flows while still showing respect for the coaches and their positions.
NISOA members should respect all other officials at all times. Officials should not comment to coaches about the skills of other officials when they are part of the officiating team. Also, officials observing games should not comment to others about the officials and their decisions during games. All officials should be committed to being professional at all times and strive to assist others whenever possible.
All members of NISOA must honor their commitment to the local chapters and the national organization. Chapters have meeting requirements, which normally include instructional clinics, and all members should attend. There is always something new to learn and attendance at clinics is a good way to accomplish this. NISOA members must also honor what the organization represents. Any negative comments made in public about the organization has a negative impact on 5,500 members.
Officials should consider honoring the chapter or NISOA in general by becoming involved at the local, regional or national level. Seasoned officials should consider becoming assessors, mentors, clinicians, officers in the chapter or any other position that would allow them to give back for all that was achieved.
The third and final definition is gratitude. Officials should take time, in their own way, to appreciate the ability they have for have to physically perform at the intercollegiate level. Officials should also be thankful for the mental awareness that they possess to make very hard decisions in a matter of seconds during the course of play.
Officials should also be grateful to those individuals who conducted training programs, clinics, camps, etc. that the officials attended and learned more about officiating techniques, mechanics, and rules interpretations. Many officials have mentors who have helped advance their careers. Thanking a mentor for sacrificing time to attend games, give feedback, respond to questions and more should be in the forefront of the officials’ mind.
Most importantly officials must be thankful to their families for the sacrifices made so that the officials could travel to games, be away from home for tournaments, attend training camps, etc. NISOA always has had and will continue to have the philosophy of FAMILY FIRST. Officials must take time to show family members that they are grateful for allowing them to be a member of NISOA and officiate intercollegiate soccer.