As a soccer fan and coach, I really enjoy reading the few referee blogs out there. They give you a great perspective on the state of the amateur game and if coaches and parents are really doing some of the things we’ve heard about. (they are) But what I find most useful is their analysis and introspection on matches they’ve called – it really gives you an idea of how the refs react to blown calls, fast paced or physical matches, nut case coaches and parents, etc.

Up until now, the two I’ve read the most are The RefBlog and Whistling in the Wind. The good news is now there is a third I’m adding to my must read list. A referee here in North Carolina has just started writing about his experiences, primarily in the youth leagues, though he is working to get assessed to center adult amateur matches. Soccer Referee is a fun read. His first post sold me:

I referee’d a soccer tournament this weekend, as I’m sure many other Referees did, and I just want to say that I’m reasonably sure that the intelligence factor in any group of people goes down as they get closer to a soccer field. I mean no disrespect, but there is a definite change in people’s behavior as they watch their loved one play soccer. I’m certain that in other places, these parents are model parents, worthy of the love and devotion their children give them. On the soccer field? Well, that’s why they’re called fanatics.

Case in point: I had the ‘luxury’ of being a center referee (while I enjoy it immensely, it is a tough position), and a coach (and some of the parents!) quite enthusiastically informed me that there was a ‘handball’ (!) inside of the Penalty Area. He was jumping up and down, and shouting, and generally being quite annoying about it until I turned to him and uttered very simply: "He’s the Goalkeeper."