A Note on Professionalism

by John Puglisi, NISOA Vice President, NISOA National clinician and NISOA local assessor.

As I finish my second term as chapter president and a new college soccer season approaches, I get to deal with many issues affecting our members and their responsibilities to maintain good standing status. Typically, these issues concern preparing for and taking the fitness test, taking the refresher test and attending the rules interpretation and requisite number of business meetings. The other day I received a copy of an email from a friend who happens to be a National Referee which made me think of what it is to be professional.

All of the National Referees and Candidates took a written test last month at National Camp. However, many chapters (including ours) ask our National Referees and Candidates to submit an answer sheet for the refresher test as well. The email had to do with taking the NISOA Refresher Test twice in the same month. Here’s an excerpt from the email:

I personally feel it is important to take the test several times every year, just to stay fresh and current with the rules. A few years ago at National camp I finished the Rules Refresher test first out of everybody and handed in my test to George Noujaim. In the hall outside I asked Ken Andres why there were so many of the same questions on the test from year to year. He said it’s because those are the ones that referees miss the most from year to year and they are the important questions that come up on the field the most often. So I study really hard every year and review.

This is the essence of being professional. Without regard to the minimum administrative requirements, the professional does what is required to be prepared and capable. Please note I used the word “minimum.” The professional is never concerned with the minimum standard.

Most of our chapter’s National Referees and Candidates took the fitness test with the chapter as well as at National Camp. They certainly didn’t have to take the fitness test twice. The Executive Board did not suggest taking the test twice. Leading by example is a distinct characteristic of a professional. A professional does not need to be told what is expected of them.

Our mandatory rules meeting offers the opportunity to participate in several instruction clinics. For many officials, this is the only classroom instruction they will experience all year. However, there seem to be two distinct attitudes about attending the rules meeting:

  • “I have to waste my time at this meeting because if I don’t watch the rules video, I won’t be able to work games this year.”
  • “This is a chance to learn something and hopefully become a better referee.”

Based on the number of requests to be excused from the meeting to attend another chapter’s rules meeting and my observations of members reading the newspaper or dozing off during the rules meeting, too many members are satisfied meeting the required minimum standard.

How professional are you? Here are some criteria to consider (special thanks to chapter friend and NISOA National Clinician John Kipp for sharing his thoughts):

  • Do others know you are dependable?
  • Can you be trustworthy?
  • Do you enjoy helping others even though there may be no personal gain?
  • Are you “teachable”?
  • Are your needs from the game stronger than what the game needs from you?
  • How well do you prepare for your assignments?

Just some things for you to consider as we prepare for a new college soccer season. I suggest it takes time, effort and commitment to be professional. Do what’s required and then do some more. As a footnote, we adhere to the NISOA principle that officiating is a third priority after your family and your job. Never compromise either for officiating. Have a great season.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 at 12:32 pm and is filed under Instruction with keyword(s) . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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