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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

CIF must address referee paycuts for the athletes’ safety

College students have recently been officiating soccer matches, as referees boycott games over pay dispute.
Photo by Stephanie Cheng
A soccer referee checks the remaining time in the first half at the varsity boys soccer game against Ruben S. on Dec. 4

High school soccer teams across Southern California are struggling to find referees for their games because of a boycott organized by California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) officials because of a pay dispute. This has led to college students and other non-CIF associated referees being hired to referee high school games. CIF-SS needs to do more to protect high school soccer players during this boycott. 

The boycott began at the beginning of November, the start of the CIF-SS winter high school soccer season. Soccer referees requested a raise prior to the season start and were denied by CIF-SS who stated they did not have the budget and were unable to increase pay for only one sport.

Referees are extremely important in soccer, especially since soccer is a contact sport, and can have a huge impact on both the outcome of the game and the safety of players. Referees are required to make spur-of-the-moment decisions like awarding penalty kicks or handing out yellow or red cards which can lead to a player’s ejection. These types of decisions are based on the National Federation of State High School (NFHS) rulebook, which CIF-SS follows, and referees who are unfamiliar with these rules struggle to make correct decisions.

Another important role of referees is controlling the game and ensuring that players, coaches and fans don’t get extremely aggressive or unmanageable. It takes an experienced, confident referee to be able to do this and make calls even if players, coaches or parents will be upset.  

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As a varsity girls soccer team captain who has played club soccer for over 10 years, I deeply appreciate the college-aged referees who do their best, however, their best may not always be good enough, especially when the safety of student athletes is on the line. Failing to enforce the strict rules laid out by the NFHS rulebook is dangerous. 

Recently, one of our games ended early because the opposing team players were committing fouls like pulling hair and arguing with our team and referees on the field. This situation was the product of referees allowing fouls throughout the game to go unpunished, building tension between the teams. 

CIF-SS has to do something about the current referee situation. These types of incidents shouldn’t continue to happen. The purpose of CIF-SS is to ensure that players not only have fun during games but that they also remain safe. CIF-SS is not currently serving their purpose as an organization and must make a change or risk losing the trust of the students they are meant to serve. 

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About the Contributor
Marissa Alejo
Marissa Alejo, Copy and coverage editor-in-chief
Hi my name is Marissa Alejo, I'm a senior and I'm the Copy and Coverage editor-in-chief for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint I am on the girls soccer team and also play club soccer. In my free time I love watching sports and reading.
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    DAN JOHNSTONDec 9, 2023 at 9:43 am

    Well stated. Please share to a larger audience.