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2022 OSMD Challenge: Step Up or Shhh...

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

2022 Referee Challenge

Columbus Soccer Moms and Dads is presenting the Step Up or Shhh… Challenge.

The challenge has two pathways. 1. Step up and become a referee -OR- 2. Shhh…. and let the referees do their jobs (even if they aren’t doing it well).

Step Up

We are asking every family to have at least one referee in the family. That can be moms, dads or players. The more we can educate families about the laws of the game and have them experience the game from the official’s point of view the better we can make the game together.

Individuals who are interested in becoming referees can do so for less than $100 (start to finish, uniforms and everything) and recover those funds and great experience in one day of officiating.

Two Courses are coming up over the next 30 days: Register Here Includes Flags, Book and Whistle

Dublin: Sunday January 16th

Hilliard: Sunday, January 30th

These sessions include an online portion to be completed before your in person class.

Take the referee challenge! Anyone born in 2008 or earlier can become a referee.

In 2021 we shared with you information about the referee shortage and things have only gotten worse. The biggest complaint I hear about referees is that they just aren’t good. Whether it's true or not, if you think you can do better DO IT, we need you!

Ken McMahon referee trainer, referee assignor, referee, coach, league director, tournament director and local US Club Soccer guy has committed his efforts to not only improving our referee pool by personally educating new referees but by also providing all of the tools and resources we need to be successful including support groups, mentorships and experience appropriate game assignments.


The other option is to just stop behaving negatively toward referees. According to OSA, “Negative parent, coach and even player behavior towards referees is the leading cause for the massive shortage nationwide”. The Ohio Soccer Association has been pushing their Respect the Ref campaign to turn this poor culture of disrespect around and to change sideline behavior in Ohio.

Based on data reviewed by Ken McMahahon and his team 30-35% of referees “historically do NOT renew the following year for a variety of reasons – parent and coach abuse being the leading two reasons.” This means 30-35% of active referees are new referees meaning if you have 3 officials on your field its likely one of them is in their first year of officiating. If we continue to chase away these referees with bad parent and coach behavior we will never build a robust referee pool, we won’t have good referees (or any referees) to choose from and new referees will be put into situations that are over their heads and become more likely to quit rather than learn, build skills and become the referees we need them to be.


Last year my soccer mom resolution was to referee more games. My goal was to officiate one game for every game that I watched my kids play. My goal this year is to referee 3 games per game my kids play.

I had 4 kids that played in 2021 but it wasn’t that difficult to referee a game-to-game ratio. My little two played on the same team that was coach officiated (lol, I know that's kind of cheating) but I officiated each of those games. My husband coached my middle son, so I only saw a handful of his games and my older son is getting older and they aren’t playing as many games.

I want to encourage everyone to be open minded about referees in 2022. Recognize we have a shortage and this is youth soccer after all. A win or a loss here in Central Ohio isn’t going to be the determining factor on your child’s college prospects or really much of anything. What will have an impact is the example you show on the sideline and that you showed and supported them.

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