With number of soccer referees down, coaches calling on communities to help

Wisconsin high school soccer has a problem of numbers. It’s not a lack of athletes–it’s a lack of referees.

Some area games this season have been delayed because not enough officials were there, and one had to be called in from another event. WIAA Office Manager of Officials Joan Gralla told News 8 Sports throughout the state there is a ref shortage in all sports, and they’re working with ADs and commissioners on recruiting more officials.

All local coaches we talked to confirmed a shortage, and they’re trying to join the recruiting effort, as well.

“We’re trying to get our younger players to ref at the U-8 and U-9 levels during the summer so that they have that experience,” Holmen head coach Guy Turner said. “We also know that it’s very difficult to be that man or woman with the whistle or the flag because of the way parents and coaches alike. We have a vested interest in the outcome of the game, and sometimes that gets clouded.”

“We see the same officials all the time right now, and they’re taxed, too,” Logan head coach Tom Kammer said. “They need a night off here or there and they have difficulty getting that.”

Gralla said the WIAA’s focus now is trying to combat the trend of referees quitting after two or three years.

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