Shortage in Referees continue to impact sports

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 5:29 PM CDT
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"I am missing the high school soccer season right now," said Fabian Lobera, State Director of Instruction on the Wyoming State Referee Committee. "I am walking around the house right now just blowing my whistle and carding my Labrador for unsporting dog like behavior."

The shortage of referees is in many different sports across the country.

"So and it is not unique to Wyoming, it is not unique to soccer specifically, it's across all sports, so it is wrestling, it's football it's basketball, I talked to my peers in these sports and across the country and there is just not enough officials, and it has been difficult to retain them," said Lobera.

Referees are a need as they play a huge role in the operation of organized sports.

"We are losing numbers every year and with that if there are no refs, there is no organized sport and so I don't want to be a harbinger of doom but obviously if we continue to lose numbers, at the pace we are losing them, then it is going to be hard to hold some of the games that we currently hold and so that is a little bit of a concern," said Lobera.

And although there are no sporting events happening right now, the National Federation of State High School Associations is holding free officiating classes online through July 1st for when sports are back in action.

"For some of our officials, especially our younger ones, they can make a couple hundred dollars or a few hundred dollars over the course of the weekend, that is not bad pay when you are 15 years-old," said Lobera. "The skills sets you get from it are great, and a lot of our older officials who might be putting themselves through college, we have officials who travel the country who have reffed professional level matches this is a career path."