Just got back from the Annual General Meeting for the state association. It was good to meet the people from around New Mexico that put so much time and energy into making soccer better. We identified a lot of areas for growth and I can see that there is a lot of work to be done. Here are my initial thoughts:
*Local leagues each face unique challenges. Some having issues with not having enough adult referees, others have extreme financial hurdles and others need help getting referees registered.
*No matter what the location we simply need more development. Referees must invest a lot of time in order to get better.
*We need to work on better communication throughout the state. The focus needs to be on helping each other get better, not dwell on differences.
*I'll be traveling a lot and hopefully get out to some of the areas that haven't had that attention before.
*Retention is key to having a strong base of referees. If we lose someone in their first year we've wasted an investment of time and money. The longer referees stay the more experience they have to help them deal with a variety of situations.
*Parents and coaches need to step up and help us deal with the serious threat of referee abuse. That's the only way we can keep people around.
Nothing like a good round table to focus our efforts. There is a lot of work to be done but I hope this will be a step in the right direction. We'll continue to build on our Game of the Week and other initiatives to ensure you guys are supported after we certify you.