A look back at the Summer Summit

Recordings from Classroom Sessions:

Partnering with the NISOA chapter in North Texas, NISOA was proud to stage the in-person referee summit at Richland College in Dallas, TX. While our Women’s Referee Summit in December was NISOA’s first official in-person event since 2019, the Summer Summit was our first official pre-season clinic since 2018 with over 150 in attendance.

With such a large group, NISOA aimed to provide a full experience with field sessions, classroom sessions, an MLS game to watch together, and a Q&A session with an MLS referee crew (which happened to be packed with NISOA members).

Our keynote speaker for the event is a household name when it comes to refereeing, Mr. Joe Fletcher from Canada. Joe gave a full day of his time, starting at 8 AM and wrapping up after 11 PM, to engage with the attendees and lead parts of each section. “Being exposed to and coached by the best of the best in the referee field at the clinic was inspiring to me. It was a unique opportunity that I really enjoyed,” said attendee Rachel Antrikin.

The day started off early in the morning on the Richland College soccer fields where multiple stations were ongoing. The Texas heat arrived early, but this did not deter the attendees from being highly engaged in each station of the field sessions. Two of the sessions focused on technical skills such as referee and AR communication, areas of responsibility around the penalty area, and awareness on corner kicks and free kicks near the goal. A third session focused on running techniques and was run by two other special guests. One is another household name in refereeing, having called the NCAA final two years ago, Christina Unkel, along with her partner from “The Deadlift Effect” and Scorch Fitness, Liz Lowe. Multiple attendees stated the DLE instruction was the most impactful of the day to help polish running techniques. One attendee commented, “I learned how to run again and the trainers were so good!”

What was also great about the field sessions was that we looked like one solid team, and that could not have been done without Official Sports, who provided high-quality, NISOA logo T-shirts for all attendees. Also, this was the first time many attendees were able to meet two World Cup referees in person and interact with Joe Fletcher and Corey Rockwell. The two hours of field sessions flew by, and despite the heat, many commented that they wished they had more time on the field as being able to put into practice on the field was a unique experience NISOA was able to provide (we will definitely consider this for next year!).

It was then time for lunch, and our group enjoyed a lunch from Schlotzky’s. NISOA would like to give a special thank you to Schlotzky’s as not only were the attendees well fed, Schlotzky’s provided food at a significant discount to allow us to stay in our budget and provide everyone with a full meal.

Once everyone was showered and well fed, it was time to move to the classroom. Corey Rockwell introduced Ryan Cigich from the NCAA. Ryan went over the new rules and was able to provide insight into why the new rules were put into place and why some rules were revised. He was also able to take multiple questions from the group to help resolve any doubts regarding the rules. Ryan also debuted at the NISOA clinic the NCAA Points of Emphasis for the 2022 season:

  • Elimination of rough play

  • VB1 & VB2 differentiation and consistency

  • Enforcing SPA and fouls that break up attacking play

  • Team Area behavior

Daniel Radford had a highly engaging presentation regarding the use of video review in college soccer. Video review is only going to grow more and more each year, and Daniel gave great insight for referees who may “go to the monitor” for the first time in their careers. He also showed multiple clips as to when and why a referee utilized video review in the college game. “Daniel Radford was very good,” wrote one attendee, and we at NISOA could not agree more and we hope to showcase him more in future educational sessions.

Finally, it was time for our keynote speaker, Joe Fletcher. Corey introduced Joe, noting that he is one of the few people in the world who has been to two World Cups, which drew a heavy round of applause that he took the time to be with NISOA. Joe’s presentation was 100% video based and spoke on numerous topics, including referee techniques on the line and AR involvement in a series of situations. “Being able to learn practical advice from top officials like Joe Fletcher and Corey Rockwell made this clinic a must attend event. I can’t wait to use these tools in my very next match!” said attendee Caleb P.

The day ended with Summit attendees receiving a special invitation to the FC Dallas vs. Vancouver game in Frisco that night. The referee crew was led by NISOA’s Tori Penso. AR1 was a recently announced invitee to the 2022 World Cup, NISOA member Kyle Atkins. While not a NISOA member due to living in Canada, if she ever comes south of the border, we will look forward to signing her up; AR2 was Chantal Boudreau, World Cup and Olympic referee. Finally, the 4th official was also an active NISOA member, Matthew Corrigan.

The game ended and after the crew completed their paperwork and showered from running in the Texas heat, they came out and met with the Summit attendees. Joe Fletcher introduced the crew and the crew talked about their game, discussed why they made certain calls, and offered advice to the referees in attendance who wanted to achieve higher referee levels. It was an engaging Q&A session, and the referee crew spent over 30 minutes answering every question and posing for photos afterwards.

It was another memorable NISOA event, and the first of this scale in many years. We had great feedback from our NISOA members about opportunities in the future to improve upon this, and we will look to make next year even better. Once again, we thank the amazing North Texas chapter and our key sponsors: Official Sports, DLE, Schlotzky’s, and Richland College. We look very forward to our next Summit, which will be in December for the NISOA Women’s Summit!

© 2021 NISOA

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