Ben Glass has been a soccer referee for over 45 years, but recently the game has changed. Toxicity, poor sportsmanship, and referee abuse among parents and players is on the rise, and as a result, the Washington Post reports that the area is experiencing a youth referee shortage.
The National Federation of State High School Associations says that only two of every 10 officials return for their third year of officiating, and those that remain are often the victim of verbal assaults and personal insults.
Glass, a father of nine, decided to launch the BenGlassLaw Varsity Soccer Sportsmanship Challenge, which rewards teams for avoiding cards for profanity, dissent, or unsportsmanlike conduct. Teams in the Cardinal District, Cedar Run District, and Gunston District were eligible for $500 per team (potentially $1,000 per school) for making it through the regular season and playoffs with no cards for poor sportsmanship.
So far, eight winning teams have been announced, and their programs will enjoy an extra $500 to spend: Hayfield Secondary High School Girls, Annandale High School Boys, Mount Vernon High School Girls, Woodbridge High School Girls, Potomac High School Girls, Forest Park High School Girls, and Gar-Field High School Boys and Girls.
More information can be found at www.SportsmanshipChallenge.com or by emailing Colin Lynch (firstname.lastname@example.org)