There's A Nationwide Shortage Of Youth Sports Referees, And It Could Get Worse!

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Youth Sports Officials play vital roles in youth athletic programs around the country and their contributions significantly impact the quality of the experiences young athletes have. Sure, it’s a challenging job, but one that – when handled correctly – is enormously enriching and satisfying. A sports official is more commonly known as the umpire or referee at a sporting event. Other sporting officials are adjudicators, scorers and linesmen. A sports official needs the ability to make instantaneous decisions, resolve conflicts, and be able to handle stress and pressure well. Depending of the sport, they may also need a high level of fitness to keep up with the game.

Men and women are needed to officiate in all sports and at every level. In most cases, officiating positions are voluntary or low paid. However, at the elite level, there is limited availability for those skilled and ambitious enough to create a career out of sport officiating.

Officials come from a wide range of areas, from ex-competitors, parents, teachers and even fans just interested in that sport, all with one thing in common - a passion for officiating. You can start by studying the rules of the sport and attending clinics, followed by officiating at the local level. From there you may advance into high school and college sports, and with luck, skill and perseverance, you may make it to the pros!