High school referees waiting, some withdrawing, as possible season nears

Posted on August 19, 2020 in Contributor, Newspaper.

Referee image

Photo by The Citizens Voice

By Matt Bufano

Being a high school referee is challenging under normal circumstances.

It could be simultaneously rewarding and thankless, as the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association — the state’s governing body for such activities — warns online applicants that the job demands cognitive and physical sharpness.

“The job is not for the faint of heart,” the PIAA says.

Throw in a global pandemic, an uncertain timeline and unknown health risks and the job becomes that much more stressful.

“The officials are doing everything that they can to get this going to the best of their abilities,” Lake-Lehman athletic director Jeff Shook said, “just like every school, parent and coach is doing their best to get these kids able to play.”

However, Shook, the secretary and treasurer for Wyoming Valley Conference soccer, said the pool from which the WVC takes soccer referees has lost two individuals who withdrew from the season because of COVID-19 concerns.

It’s not a shocking development, nor one that drew any criticism, because among other things the average age of a WVC soccer official is upper-50s, Shook said.

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