The 2019-2020 Arizona Federal Credit Union Arizona Advanced Leagues kicked off on August 28, with games played in Phoenix and Tucson September 6 – 8. Pima County Junior Soccer League (PCJSL) began play the weekend of September 6, and the Open League kicks off on September 14. As many other leagues around Arizona also begin their seasons, the Arizona Soccer Association wanted to share with everyone some points of emphasis that the ASA has been working on with Clubs, teams, coaches, and referees.
ASA takes pride in the fact that all coaches, team managers, and referees complete a background check and complete the federally mandated SafeSport training. With that, we have directed referees to check that any person in the technical area during a game has an appropriate coach pass issued by ASA. If a team does not have a person with the appropriate credential, they are ejected the game is suspended. Whether you are with ASA, Club leadership, team leadership, or parents we all must work together to ensure only properly cleared individuals are working with our youth. Additionally, ASA has taken into consideration recommendations about environmental conditions, heat/cold weather guidelines, and/or hydration policies by speaking to clubs and while scheduling Arizona Advanced League games.
Foul, Abusive or Racial Language
On any given weekend and at any given game the amount of inappropriate language heard is unacceptable. Unfortunately, this type of inappropriate language is coming from coaches, players, and parents. As a community, we must work together and take accountability not only for our words by expressing to each other that this type of behavior will not be accepted. As directed in Law 12 (FIFA Laws of the Game) we have asked referees to send-off (Red Card) all players and coaches who “use offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”. It is incumbent upon everyone to provide a positive environment for our players, coaches, parents, fans, and referees to participate. We must be far more respectful to one another.
On any given weekend ASA gets a number of complaints about referees. ASA is partnering with the State Youth Referee Administrator (SYRA) and State Director Instruction (SDI) by piloting a Referee Development Program. To date over 200 referees have registered for this program which will provide monthly classroom and on-field training to referees of all levels. In the development of soccer ASA recognizes player and coach development can’t occur unless we work to develop referees as well. The development of referees is not only about correctly applying the laws of the game, but it is also about supporting referees as they take on the task of trying to keep all players safe while there are two teams worth of coaches and parents who tend to have a different opinions, perspective, and prejudice from the referee. The Referee Development Program will focus on:
- Presence and Communication
- Match Management
- Foul Recognition
- Laws of the Game
The first session was hosted in August as Scottsdale Sports Complex where over 50 referees attended and were briefed on the law changes for the upcoming season. The next session will be September 18 at Rose Mofford where Banner Health will provide education on concussions followed by a field session led by the SYRA and SDI. If you are interested in becoming a referee you can find information by going to the ASA website and clicking on Referees.
ASA is excited about the upcoming season and working together with the soccer community in creating a positive soccer experience for everyone.