Local referees Johnson and Clark go national

November 11, 2006|by DAVE LONG

You're sitting at a soccer game and witness a kicked ball burst in the wind which then causes the ball to behave more like a Frisbee. The "ball" sails haphazardly into the net.

Was it a legal score?

If you're at a Hagerstown Area Youth Soccer League game, you can feel comfortable that the correct call will be made.

HAYSL improved the quality of its referee staff and league when Warren Johnson and David Clark passed their AYSO National Referee certification this past summer, a level that fewer than 2 percent of American Youth Soccer Organization referees nationwide have achieved.

Neither Clark nor Johnson has ever officially played soccer, but both recognized that, like any other youth sport, there is a need for volunteers, especially for referees. Both became involved in AYSO because they felt its philosophies make it one of the best youth programs in the country.


After many games featuring obscure situations, both decided to pursue the rigorous AYSO National Referee program, which is the organization's highest level of referee status.

"We attended a three-day training on July 10, 11 and 12 in Libertyville, Ill.," Johnson said. "The exam was on the third day. The AYSO National games started on the 13th and concluded on the 17th. We had the opportunity to referee in those games and to be assessed during the matches, which is part of the needed qualifications."

"National games are almost always held out west, usually in California or Hawaii," Clark said. "Taking place in Chicago was about as close to us as they would get, so we took advantage of this and went out there."

Johnson and Clark also are actively involved in recruiting and training new referees at HAYSL.

They also are certified to referee high school games. Clark was on the team which officiated the first game of any kind at North Hagerstown's new Mike Callas Stadium.

And the flat ball that entered the net? No goal. Play is restarted by dropping the replacement ball at the place where the ball became defective.

HAYSL will hold registration for the spring 2007 season on Nov. 18 and Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Haven Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, and Jan. 20 at Funkstown Fire Hall.

For information on HAYSL, call 240-52SCORE, or visit its Web site at

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