Thank you to our wonderful Heartland Referee family for another great fall season! I have been priveleged to work or watch games all over the United States, and there are very few leagues with the overall high quality of referees that we enjoy at Heartland. The Heartland league maintains an incredible diversity of play, ranging from U9 rec to their sponsored tournaments, which draw some of the best U18/19 teams in the nation. Referees, like players, need seasoning and years of ever increasing challenge to reach their potential. Heartland gives young referees the games they need to grow.
Referees at the higher levels often use the phrase, "For the Love of the Game". We know that achieving success as a referee requires great personal sacrifice, tenacity, and humility. It takes plenty of guts, with no expectation of glory. Our young referees continually amaze me with their courage. They stand in the middle of 40+ parents and 20+ players and make the call, even when over half those adults are probably yelling at them. No game fee could ever cover it, and it is the kind of character that they can't develop by sacking groceries or selling t-shirts.
This season Heartland has supported our referees' commitment to personal excellence by providing funding for a Referee Mentoring program, and for monthly Referee Training opportunities. The league has also worked with referees to help address referee abuse issues by allowing referees to "red card" coaches, and by strengthening the sanctions for coaches who are ejected from games.
Referee development is critical to league development. If referees leave during their first or second year, they can never become the strong, confident referee needed for high level U16-U19 games. Heartland's efforts to address referee abuse by parents and coaches will result in better referee retention, which will mean that every year coaches and parents will see more referees with experience, poise, and confidence.
A tremendous THANK YOU to the Heartland office staff, especially Bridgette Samuelson, for their support of all our referees as we strive to become better individual referees and more consistent overall. Sincere thank you to Gordon Crape as well, our fantastic Referee Assignor, who gets us all to the games that need us, and the games we need.
REFEREE HONORS for the FALL 2013 SEASON:
New Referee of Season (1st Year) - Carson Brown
Referee of the Season - Ricardo Gutierrez
Referee Volunteer of the Season - Devin Blazek (for his consistent dedication to helping our youngest referees through both the mentoring and training programs, giving back to our youth community while working many long hours as an advanced referee in adult, collegiate, and amateur competitions)
For the Love of the Game -
Kansas Referee Committee Youth Rep
Assessor, Instructor, Referee