On the Site:


UYSA enforces zero-tolerance abuse policy amid referee shortage

May 2, 2022, 8:19 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:12 pm

SANDY, Utah — The Utah Youth Soccer Association is enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for any inappropriate behavior toward referees during its games. The association says abuse from the sideline has contributed to a severe shortage of refs and hundreds of canceled games.

UYSA is one of the largest youth sports groups in the state with 60,000 members, up 10,000 from last year. And they are struggling to keep up with the demand for referees.

In a letter to its members and families pleading for more certified referees, UYSA’s president said, “we are facing a dire situation that will see more and more games canceled and severely affect the ability to grow, or even play the game.”

The association says it loses about a third of its refs every season. Last season, they had to cancel 570 games and reschedule nearly 1,500 because officials were not available.

In a follow-up letter from the league commissioner, they announced that effective immediately, UYSA would enforce “a zero-tolerance policy in regard to any inappropriate behavior towards referees.”

In other words, any coach, player or spectator who berates, harasses or threatens a referee, risks forfeiting the game and losing the team’s spectators for the rest of the season.

“Referee abuse has always been an issue,” said Bryan Attridge, CEO of UYSA. “But we have to do better.”

Referees can start as young as 13 and can make anywhere from $35 to $60 a game. Before they get on the field for a game, they have to complete training and become certified.

“Just like a soccer player starting out, they need time to practice and get better,” Attridge said. “They get yelled at, and sometimes mercilessly.”

“They have a love of the game of soccer, and unfortunately, they’re running into situations where they’re being threatened,” said Jen Rader, UYSA’s media manager. “They’re having to wait in the middle of the field until police are called to get an escort off the field to feel safe. That’s not OK.”

Rader interviewed several referees about their experiences. One of them said, “I’ve had people yelling and swearing at me, at the center referee, at the calls. Not liking anything.”

One ref said when she was 16, she had to be “escorted off the field by police officers because people were coming after us.”

Another said, “they told me to be confident in all my calls, otherwise you’ll have parents start yelling at you.”

Attridge acknowledged referees make mistakes and bad calls. And he said they are committing more money to the referee association to improve training. But he urged those on the sidelines to “bite their tongue” and to allow coaches to report it to UYSA, which will then review it and take action, if needed.

“There’s never been a positive interaction from someone being upset at a referee going and approaching that referee after the game,” he said, adding that he hopes the new policy will “start improving the culture around soccer and the culture around referee treatment.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(KSL TV)...

Lindsay Aerts

Student accused of attacking Kearns High teacher has special needs, district says

The Granite School district is now investigating what it calls an “egregious” attack on a teacher in the classroom. That teacher is said to be recovering, as is an Assistant Principal and a resource officer who assisted the teacher.

2 hours ago

(KSL TV)...

Shelby Lofton

Park City vet thinks he’s treated dogs with mysterious respiratory illness

A Park City veterinarian suspects he has treated dogs with a mysterious respiratory illness reported in other states, but a state veterinarian says Utah still has no confirmed cases.

2 hours ago

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

KSL files motion seeking release of AG’s calendar in public records fight

After a yearlong fight for a copy of the Utah attorney general’s schedule, KSL’s attorneys have asked a judge to order the release of the records, without the case going to trial.

2 hours ago

The news of the Winter Games coming to Salt Lake City in 2034 was huge for young Utah athletes with...

Dan Rascon

Young athletes excited, looking forward to 2034 Olympics

The news of the Winter Games coming to Salt Lake City in 2034 was huge for young Utah athletes with Olympic dreams on their mind.

3 hours ago

FILE: The New SLC Airport. (Jed Boal/KSL-TV)...

Eliza Pace

Hawaiian Airlines announces daily nonstop flights between SLC and Honolulu

Hawaiian Airlines announced sales for daily nonstop service between Salt Lake City and Honolulu. 

4 hours ago

The National Park Service announced Wednesday that Kolob Canyons Road in Zion National Park is back...

Mark Jones

Kolob Canyons Road now open in Zion National Park, NPS announces

The National Park Service announced Wednesday that Kolob Canyons Road in Zion National Park is back open.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

UYSA enforces zero-tolerance abuse policy amid referee shortage