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Michigan Referee Program / Newsletter  / August Newsletter

August Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue 1
June 1, 2022

Brad Barlog
MRC Newsletter Editor-In-Chief

Welcome to the August issue of the MRC newsletter.

As always, our August newsletter is full of exciting stories and information. We have Brandon Barlog as the feature official in “Who’s Who.” We also have a great article from Ken Wikle on “Breakaways”.

Beyond this newsletter, please be sure to follow our Twitter (@MichiganReferee), check out our blog, and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

New Editor-in-Chief

Welcome! My name is Brad Barlog and I am so excited to carry on the tradition of the Michigan Referee Committee Newsletter. I have been an active member of the referee community in Michigan for a while. I am the District Director of Referee Development in the Saginaw/Flint area and currently a grassroots referee and a referee mentor. I look forward to working with you all to highlight the amazing accomplishments and involvements our Michigan referees are producing.

I want to give a huge shoutout to Yuya Kiuchi for starting this newsletter and all of the guidance and wisdom he has given me to take on this role. Since the first newsletter March 2020, Yuya Kiuchi has been the Editor of this newsletter. In his newsletters, we have featured both high-profile officials including current FIFA officials as well as local officials. I hope to continue on his tradition and excellence in these newsletters!

US Youth Soccer Midwest Presidents Cup

Congratulations to these Michigan Officials who were chosen to represent the Michigan Delegation at the 2022 US Youth Soccer Midwest Presidents Cup event help in St. Louis, MO:

Last First
Barnett Evan
Cross Jason
Diget Ashley
Dunavant Brendan
Festian Amber
Heers Justus
Kositz Olivia
Lindsay Christine
Schultz Jeremy
Smiley Ian
Weingarten Avi
Wensley Jared

A special congratulations to Evan Barnett, Jason Cross, and Brendan Dunavant who were chosen to represent Michigan and the Midwest Region at the 2022 US Youth Soccer President Cup Nationals!

US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships 

Congratulations to these Michigan Officials who were chosen to represent the Michigan Delegation at the 2022 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships event help in Westfield, Indiana:

MI delegation as follows: (the highlighted names were selected to attend Nationals – Blue = Top returner from 2021 – Green additionally selected this year)

Last First
Aguirre-Rivera Luis
Barnett Evan
Barnett Marcus
Brasseur Meghan
Budd Eric
Cross Jason
Dunavant Brendan
Girbach Kaitlin
Homik Ryan
Howard Jordan
Janulewicz Justin
Koziara Michael  
Lorkowski Mark
Martenis Kerry
Ruta Rob
Scherer Aaron
Siegrist Eric
Weingarten Avi

A special congratulations to Evan Barnett, Marcus Barnett, Meghan Brasseur, Jason Cross, Ryan Homik, Micahel Koziara, and Rob Ruta who were chosen to represent Michigan and the Midwest Region at the 2022 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Orlando, Florida!

Request a Mentor

Do you want to become a better referee? Or are you looking for a few tips so you can be a more effective official on your next game?

Regardless of the motivation and reason, having a mentor on the field to watch you and give you feedback after the game can be beneficial. Now we have a system through which you can request a mentor.

Please fill out this form at least 2 weeks before your game and we will send you a mentor to your game.

Who’s Who in Michigan: Brandon Barlog

Brandon Barlog
Regional Referee, Referee Mentor, and DDRD

When and why did you start refereeing?

I first started refereeing in 2007. After one game I played in, I got home and thought I could do a better job than the referee that I had in that game. So, I had signed-up to take an AYSO Referee course. I worked in AYSO then in 2009, I cross-certified into USSF. From there, I started working low-level youth games until I started refereeing State Cup matches in 2011. Refereeing, from then on out, became an integral part of my life.

What do you enjoy the most about refereeing?

Refereeing has provided me with three gifts: friendships, entertainment, and an ability to deal with pressure situations. I have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people over the years. I have learned from great mentors that were instrumental in my development. I also have been a part of many entertaining matches. As a referee, we have the best seat in the house. Finally, refereeing has taught me to handle high pressure situations and to make decisions in a short period of time. This skill has been invaluable, especially in my professional career.

What are some of the best memories from refereeing?

I had the privilege of representing Michigan three times at US Youth Nationals (2012, 2014, 2015). I was also honored to give back and participate as a mentor at Youth Regionals in 2019. Some of the best memories have also been off the field, including dinners and great conversations with fellow referees. I also am lucky to be in a family of referees, and it is an absolute treat to referee a game with Brad or our father, Brian.

What is some of your soccer engagement?

Currently, I am a Regional Referee and the DDRD for Metro-Detroit East. I also am a Referee Mentor, and, this winter, I hope to expand and enhance my skills to become a Referee Coach.

What do you do when you are not on the field?

Off the field in my professional career, I am a prosecutor. I am an advocate for victims of crime and try to do the right thing in each and every case. Both law and soccer are interconnected in so many ways. As a prosecutor, I have to interpret and apply statutes and rules – as a referee, I have to apply the Laws of the Game during every match. And of course, in both the legal and refereeing world, I have to deal with unhappy, frustrated, and, often, vocal individuals who disagree with me. Outside of work, I love to golf, go boating on Lake St. Clair, and spend time with family and friends.

Do you have any advice for new referees?

Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to you; do not be afraid to ask questions of your fellow referees and mentors; review the Laws of the Game on a regular basis; be open to constructive feedback and apply it to your next game.


Ken Wikle
Emeritus Regional Referee

A common tactic for some teams who are playing an opponent that is accomplished at controlling the ball with short passes while on attack is to try and tackle the ball away and immediately start a counter attack making a long pass up field to a team mate. This team mate will run unto the ball and either dribble towards the goal himself or make a successive pass to another team mate doing the same. Occasionally skilled goalkeepers will save a shot and start the counter attack punting the ball from inside the penalty area.

In either of these situations the referee, in a matter a second or two, will find himself 40 yards or more behind the play and likely near the center of the field looking through players without a good angle on the play.

For the officiating crew this can an especially challenging situation. The referee, positioned for a short passing attack on one end of the field, is in a very poor position trying to judge whether a challenge during this counterattack is fair or foul. If a foul is committed by the defense the referee needs to call the foul and additionally decide whether to caution for SPA or send off for DOGSO.

When an attacking team is advancing the ball with one or two quick long passes towards the net, it will be physically impossible for any referee to regain a position with the proximity and angle to judge whether a foul has been committed or not. There may be players blocking the referee’s vision with so much distance involved. He may be looking “Dead on” at both players where he cannot see whether there has been an illegal challenge by the defender or not.

There are many possibilities if the attacker with the ball ends up on the ground or loses possession of the ball. The attacker may have been held, tripped or charged by the defender. In youth games on uneven grass fields the attacker with the ball may simply stumble on his own without being fouled. The defender may have made a fair tackle or fail charge to dispossess the attacker.

What are the best defenses by the referee and the two ARs to avoid misjudging a critical incident on a breakaway?

  1. In a case where the referee has lost proximity and a good angle the referee needs to try and get as wide as possible within as few steps as possible. Hopefully by achieving a better angle on the play quickly he can at least see from a distance well enough to judge the challenge.
  2. Empower the lead AR to assist on a call in this scenario. The lead AR, on a breakaway, will already have a wide angle on this challenge and can assist. This empowerment of the AR to assist in an area of the field where he normally would not assist should be specifically covered in the referee’s pregame with the AR’s. The AR must have the courage to assist and make a call for the referee.

Missing a foul by the defense on a breakaway is a breakdown the officiating cannot afford, especially if misconduct is not punished. Alternately, calling a foul where there is none would be terribly unfair to the defending team. It is critical that the referee and the two ARs are mentally prepared for their roles should this occur and have the courage to act accordingly.

Michigan Referee Committee

State Referee Administrator (SRA): Carlos Folino
State Referee Chairman (SRC): James Wheeler
State Youth Referee Administrator (SYRA): Ronald Grobbel
State Director of Referee Development (SDRD): Yuya Kiuchi
State Director of Assignors (SDoA): John Corbett
State Director of Futsal (SDF): Richard Gilbert
Manager of Performance Observation (mgr.observation): Tim Deters
Manager of Field Sessions (mgr.field): Jeff Dornseifer
Manager of Video Analysis ( Nichole Kramer-Kiuchi
Manager of Pedagogy (mgr.pedagogy): Kalani Burghard

Email addresses are the title in parenthesis plus

Please reach out to us!

If you have any referee-related stories to share or someone you think should be featured in this newsletter, please reach out to the Editor-In-Chief, Brad Barlog at

MRC announcements

If you know anyone who would like to become a referee, we offer numerous grassroots referee classes, as well. You can find relevant information here.

Contact one of us on the Michigan Referee Committee if you have any questions.

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