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DS soccer ref program brings opportunities

Dover Sherborn Soccer Club is providing an excellent opportunity for local kids to find meaningful work in their own back yard through the Genesis Referee Program (GRP).

The Genesis Referee Program (GRP) got its start in Danvers through Jeff Chambers and Janet Gargan, both USSF certified referees. The organization’s purpose is to recruit, develop, train, and retain referees in parallel with in-town/intramural player/coach development programs. Dover-Sherborn jumped onboard the pilot of the program, which subsequently was adopted as a collaborative effort between Mass Youth Soccer and the Mass State Referee Committee Referee (MSRC).

To qualify as referees, applicants must be 14, or turn 14 before the next soccer season starts. As Dover-Sherborn is part of the BAYS league, and BAYS is affiliated with US Soccer, candidates will need to qualify by taking the referee course; Dover Sherborn Soccer Club reimburses the fee for this initial certification course. On completion of the course, newly-minted referees will be eligible to work grade 3-8 games for the Club.

The course has several parts: an online prep component, an eight-hour classroom course, and a final online exam. Refs can make $30 per game for approximately 1 hour and fifteen minutes of field time. They can also ref two games per weekend and make between $60-$85, and can expect to be on the field for 2-2.5 hours for two back-to-back games. Games are played from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at local Dover Sherborn fields: Laurel Fields and Fessenden Field in Sherborn, and Caryl and Chickering Fields in Dover. There are also opportunities to work the postseason tournaments hosted by Mass Youth Soccer and BAYS. Dover Sherborn Soccer Club is happy to write references for its referees for the National Honor Society, college applications and job references. 

The club also has a number of younger trainee referees, aged 13 or younger, who officiate grade 2 intramural small-sided games on Saturdays. An initial training session for these new trainee referees is held in January or February before the spring, and in August before fall season. They then continue their training under the guidance of mentors during the games. High-school-aged referees mentor these trainees in their on-field training, and are themselves mentored are coached by MA Youth Soccer ref mentors Jeff Chambers and Janet Gargan. Trainee referees are paid a training stipend of $20 per game and $20 for attending training courses. The Club will purchase referees’ first uniforms and equipment for them.

“I appreciate the maturity that the referees bring to the game,” explains Alexis Madison, a parent and volunteer coach of second-grade girls and boys. “They are patient with the young players who are just learning the rules, and treat them with the utmost respect. Jeff Chambers and Janet Gargan take their roles as mentors seriously and are effective in helping the refs and coaches alike. They offer direct feedback after each ref’s turn on the pitch to ensure they understand the different scenarios that play out between the players and teams.”

Interested potential referees for the Dover Sherborn Soccer Club are encouraged to reach out to Amy Davis at to begin the process - Amy will help potential candidates navigate the various ways to enter into the program and become certified.

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