HSF Mentor | 4[R]Youth Referees

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Administrators contend...verbal abuse is partially to blame for a dwindling referee pool in youth and high school sports. The fallout is crippling officiating bodies mired in a deeply cutthroat sports culture, one that often holds amateur referees to a professional standard.
— NICK EILERSON, The Washington Post
Hawaii Futsal (FA Maui) (left) and the Australian Futsal Association (right) at the Austronesian Futsal Cup 17 in Pāhoa, Hawaiʻi Island (2017).

Hawaii Futsal (FA Maui) (left) and the Australian Futsal Association (right) at the Austronesian Futsal Cup 17 in Pāhoa, Hawaiʻi Island (2017).

Referees are often viewed as opponents, rather than officials and partners in youth development.  This “cutthroat” culture is largely responsible for the diminished referee pool across the U.S.—the “Aloha State” being no exception. We at the Hawaii Soccer Federation (HSF) seek to replace the prevalent “win-at-all-cost” mentality with a more responsible one—where individual youth development is prioritized before overall team results; where winning (and losing) with integrity is key.

In 2017, HSF created MENTOR—Hawaiʻi’s first youth soccer referee mentoring program dedicated 4[R]Youth: To (1) Repair; (2) Replenish; (3) Raise; and (4) Retain our youth referees.

As coaches, parents, and adults, we know that once a year training—during the annual certification or recertification process—is not enough; and nothing can adeptly prepare our youth for the verbal abuse during competition. This often leads to complacency or inaction in making calls during games, driven by fear of ‘getting yelled at’. That is not good for the game; that is why our young referees quit; and that is why HSF stepped in.
— VERNON KAPUAʻALA, President/CEO, Hawaii Soccer Federation

MENTOR provides our young referees with year-round training—on and off the field—by partnering youth referees with veteran officials—building confidence, cultivating a growth mindset, and increasing our chances in keeping our youth officials in the game.

In December 2018 and in January 2019, HSF will be hosting three (3) MENTOR sessions on Maui. Joining HSF’s MENTOR Staff is Maui native, Randall Yamaoka—now a Grade 6 USSF Referee and Grade S4 Japan Football Association Referee—who officiated in the Senior World Cup in Thailand in 2017.

Kicking off the Maui Futsal Winter 19 season will be HSF Vice President and Hawaii Futsal’s Referee Instructor, Adam Kenagy. According to Kapuaʻala, “Adam was pivotal in building Hawaii Futsal. His focus on player safety and technical development has gone unwaivered. He’s trained and guided the neighbor islands’ futsal referees since 2010. Futsal would not be where it is in Hawaiʻi today without Adam upholding the integrity of the game.”