Monday, April 12, 2010

Q&A: Jordan Rich

[Editor's Note: Jordan Rich, an alum of the Westbrook Soccer League and Westbrook High School ('06), was named Soccer Maine's "2010 Male Young Referee of the Year" at the organization's annual awards dinner in March. Below, Rich briefly talks about his officiating experiences and his aspirations as a referee.]

How long have you been officiating?
I have been officiating for about 8 years.

Why did you start officiating?
I started refereeing going into my freshmen year in high school. I got started when my high school coaches made an announcement during pre-season that they were looking for referees to ref local rec league games. There was a referee certification class coming up, and they said they would pay for it. I figured it couldn't hurt to take the class, so I did. I started out by refereeing the Westbrook rec league 9-13-year-olds at $20 a game for 2 or 3 games on a Sunday. I had no expectations and, at first, no desire to move up. I just thought it was a good way to make a few extra dollars on the weekend.

What are your refereeing aspirations?
This is something I am very invested in, as I reffed about 400 games last year alone. Right now I need to pass one more assessment to get my grade 6 in USSF/FIFA. Grades 6 and 5 are considered a "state badge." I would at least like to get my grade 5 and possibly my Grade 4 or 3, which are considered a "national badge." Getting your national badge is very difficult (only one referee from Maine has ever obtained a national badge), so right now I am just focusing on one step at a time.

What stands out as a memorable moment in your officiating career?
Last year I had many memorable moments. I was lucky enough to attend the Disney Soccer Showcase in Florida, which was a lot of fun. I also had my experience [as the head referee] in a Premier Development League (PDL) game. That was exciting, as it was the highest-level game I've officiated. I did have to give a penalty kick in the second half which lead to a 1-1 tie. I was fortunate enough to get out with minimal complaints and no cards, so I was happy.

Would you like to add anything?
For those younger players out there considering officiating, it is a great way to get involved and stay involved with the game of soccer while making money. It can be very good money. I can make $400-$500 a weekend refereeing. Not many college kids have a job that pays that well while they get to watch a sport they love. Another perk is I get to travel. Many tournaments will pay for your travel, food, and lodging. Just last year I had paid trips to Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and almost every New England state. I highly encourage high school and college age players to give it try. I would be happy to assist and talk with anyone interested in getting started.

For more information about becoming a soccer referee--including the dates of upcoming certification and re-certification classes--click here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: WSL Alum Shares South African Experiences (February 5, 2010)
Related: WSL Alums Playing College Ball (January 20, 2010)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An In-Depth Look at Region I: Wealth

An In-Depth Look at Region I: Wealth

According to the the authors of Soccernomics, a region's population, wealth, and soccer-playing experience are the three most important criteria to consider when judging the state of soccer in that region.

Today, I've posted the wealth for each state that makes up Region I, which is the U.S. Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) region to which Maine's soccer teams belong. Gross State Product (GSP) refers to the total value of goods and services bought and sold within a state's borders in one year, and GSP per capita refers to the value of goods and services bought and sold per person within a state's borders in one year.

According to the statistical analysis of the authors of Soccernomics, journalist Simon Kuper and economist Stefan Szymanski, a country whose wealth is twice that of its opponent has a 1/10 goal advantage over its opponent. Or, to put it another way, a country whose wealth is twice that of its opponent would have a one goal headstart in one every ten games against that opponent. Presumably, that advantage would increase if the states' population ratio is greater than 2:1.

Now, I'm not entirely sure if such an advantage should be discounted or magnified on the state level here in the United States (the authors' research focused on the results of international matches played between 1980 and 2001), but it is nevertheless interesting to say how Maine matches up against the states in its immediate competitive sphere.

(Editor's Note: Click on the chart below to enlarge it.)

The median Gross State Product (GSP) per capita of the 13 Region I states is $38,800. To put that number into some international context, the Netherlands is the only country who qualified for the 2010 World Cup that has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita higher than Region I's median wealth. The range for the other World Cup-qualifying countries is $38,500 (Australia) to $1,700 (Ivory Coast).

- John C.L. Morgan