One of the most important components in hosting a successful soccer tournament is providing USSF-certified, skilled referees. While Alaska is fortunate to have many qualified, accomplished officials, the referee community appreciates the expertise and savvy of Lower 48 referees.
Paton Stott, 2017 Alaska Airlines Cup Referee Assignor, has been working since the close of last year’s AAC to find proficient guest referees to join the local ranks this year. While there will be fewer than in past years, the level of experience and qualifications is higher, he said.
“These referees are excited to see the level of soccer and meet local referees,” Stott said. “Also, they are looking forward to visiting the great state of Alaska and see the sights here.”
As the largest competitive soccer tournament in the state, the AAC draws some of the best talent, both from a player’s standpoint as well that of a referee. Referees must be fast on their feet to keep up with the action, as well as fair and accurate in their judgments.
“We supplement our referee workforce with these referees from the Lower 48,” Stott said. “It also does get the word out about our tournament if teams from other states want to visit.”
Alaska has many talented and skilled referees, Stott said, but having the opportunity to meet visiting officials keeps them motivated to pursue the highest levels of referee certification.
“We couldn’t do this without our local referees,” he said. “We will be using between 60 and 75 of our local Alaska referees.”
After all the games are complete, Stott, said, many of this year’s guest referees will then get to have their own chance to play. For some, it will be their first time visiting Alaska, so he has encouraged them to get out and enjoy the surroundings beyond the soccer fields.