Both Jacob and Megan have spent a lot of time this spring calling soccer games. Jacob did it last year and found out that it was a pretty sweet job. Megan joined him this year and together they make a pretty good team.
It began back in February with training. Both Jacob and Megan had to attend a couple workshops, view some online training materials, and pass a test. Jacob is at the age where he can be the center referee, while Megan’s first year will be as an assistant referee (AR).
The center referee is the one out on the pitch with the players, in the middle of all the action. The AR patrols a sideline of one half of the pitch. The AR’s main job is to call out-of-bounds and watch for offside violations.
It’s a great job for teenagers, and they have a pretty flexible system which allows the kids to set their availability and location preferences, and then commit to the work. A coordinator assigns the referees for the match, and Jacob and Megan were able to pair up for a lot of them too, which saves on the driving back and forth.
Some assignments get paid cash-in-hand straight from the coaches. Others are paid through direct deposit. But, either way, the referees make pretty good money. As center, Jacob earned about $20-30 per game. An AR assignment pays usually about half of that. But, that’s not bad considering the games are less than an hour long.
But, it’s not all roses. Parents yell at the refs, a lot. Megan and Jacob both had games where they made bad calls and got yelled at. Some coaches are intimidating and angry.
One night last week Manina and I drove to pick up Jacob from a game. We were a little early and when we arrived it looked some parents and coaches were yelling at Jake. Manina went into “momma-bear-mode” and was about to go ballistic on some parents. But after assessing the situation, it looked like Jacob had things under control. When he blew the whistle three times to signal the end of the game a parent took a few steps toward Jacob. Then he extended his hand, shook Jacob’s hand and told him that he did a fantastic job and that Jacob had called a great game.
The spring season is about over, but both Jacob and Megan will be back out on the pitch in the fall. It’s good work if you can get it.