The Westport Chapter of Soccer Officials currently has a roster of 36 members, including long time referee Steve Stahl, in back. With between 14 to 18 games in a single day, the organization is seeking new members to help provide proper coverage at both varsity and modified games.
Photo by Keith Lobdell.
Westport The Westport Chapter of Soccer Officials is coping with a double edged sword.
On the one side, numbers have been decreasing over the past few years for officials, from a high of around 50 to a current roster of 36.
On the other, several of those 36 officials are entering the final years of service for the organization.
“I have been doing this for 32 years now,” chapter director Jim Monty said. “Pete Jacques is our most tenured member and we have several that have been doing this for a lot of years. Pete and I are at the point where are grandkids are starting to come into the modified system, and we want to watch them play. A lot of the older generation of refs will be gone in the next two years.”
The organization of officials cover schools including Willsboro, Keene, Elizabethtown-Lewis, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Westport, Moriah, Crown Point, Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake, Mienrva-Newcomb, Indian Lake/Long Lake, Wells and Johnsburg.
If each team were playing against each other, a total of 28 referees would be required to cover 14 games - seven modified and seven varsity.
However, in the worse case scenario where a total of nine modified and nine varsity games could be played in the chapter, all 36 members would be needed.
“We have had situations where we have had to cover a modified game with just one referee,” Monty said. “We will never do that for a varsity game, but it is becoming more common on the modified level.”
Monty said that the numbers were not the reason for a pair of games lacking officials Sept. 10, when the Lake Placid - Seton and Westport - Elizabethtown-Lewis games had to be postponed because no officials showed up.
“That was an oversight on my part, and I have to take the blame on that one,” Monty said. “We have a new scheduling system and those games were left blank. The schedule is posted 10 days in advance, but no one noticed it.”