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Michigan Referee Program / Newsletter  / November Newsletter

November Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 9
November 1, 2022

From the Editor

Welcome readers, yes it is actually November! The time continues to fly as we near the last 2 months of 2022. For many of us it has been a busy fall season working games. As we head towards the end of our fall seasons, we eagerly await the 2022 FIFA World Cup as it will begin later this month. We will get the opportunity to watch the best teams, players, and of course referees in the world. Make sure to stay tuned to the Michigan Referee Committee social media channels for updates about the US referees and the matches they will be working. As we wrap up October, a special thank you to all of the officials, administrators, and support staff who helped make both MSYSA State Cup weekends a success. All the best to everyone as their fall seasons start to wrap up. As always, if you have a topic or story that you think would be a good feature in our Newsletter, make sure to share it with me at Make sure to follow the MRC on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and our Blog

Coming up in Michigan

  • November 8, Nichole Kramer-Kiuchi will be teaching a webinar for referee mentors and coaches on behalf of the US Soccer. USSF asked her to teach the class on the topic of challenges with another referee coach. The link for the session has been shared with all mentors.
  • Nov 11-14, Yuya Kiuchi will be in Arkansas as a USSF observer at the first-time referee coach certification class.
  • Nov 19, Regional referee recertification class
  • Nov 19, Mentor recertification class

2023 Recertification

The process for 2023 recertification for grassroots referee is happening. If your badge says 2022, make sure to sign up and recert here: 2023 Recertification. This year, the entire recertification process is asynchronous and online. You must have a 2023 badge if you wish to referee after January 1, 2023. Please get recertified before the end of the year.

Referee of the Month: Brittany Weller

How did you get started in soccer and refereeing? 

I started refereeing in 2018 as soon as I could get my badge. I have been playing soccer since I was eight and my dad was my referee when I played AYSO. He convinced me and most of my soccer team to also get our badges and start refereeing our local adult league that was run by the same people as our travel club. I loved refereeing from the start, remember being drilled on knowing how to make the perfect offside call, and having my dad as my personal mentor through it all made it even better. I was able to spend time with him but also make money and learn so much from him and by watching him. On Sundays we would both have four games, have a break right at lunch, and we have hotdogs and Gatorade waiting for us at the tent. 

What is a goal you have in the near future? 

I would love to get to the next level by getting my regional badge eventually and hopefully I can keep refereeing until I’m too old. It is a great way to still stay connected with the sport I love. 

What is life like off the soccer field? 

When I am not actively refereeing I love going to watch my friends play, whether it’s collegiate soccer, or going to see some old friends that are still playing youth soccer. 

What are some fond memories that you have so far refereeing? 

As a female referee sometimes it’s hard to find other female mentors that I look up to. Being connected with the Michigan Referee Committee allows me to meet other female officials. At State Cup I was able to work with an all female crew and we were given the new breast cancer awareness pink jerseys and got a pink whistle too. Just having the opportunity to do that was amazing. 

When I went to Presidents Cup as a player I was able to see so many high-level referees working around us and I was able to sit and just watch them sometimes in between my games. Being a referee brings me so much pride and joy and I would never change it for the world.

Fall State Cup Report

For our fall State Cup report, we talked with 2 referees. Ashley Vredenburg who attended State Cup for the first time and Meghan Brasseur who has attended multiple times. They shared their experiences with us. 

Ashley, this was your first State Cup weekend, what from the weekend stood out for you? 

All of the mentors as well as my crews at the tournament were very warm and welcoming. There were many new strategies and tips I was able to learn from our clinics and on the field. My first game at the tournament was a U-17 AR and I had the opportunity to be recorded and watch back the footage to see my positioning on the line which was incredibly helpful. 

You got the chance to be a center referee, share a few things from that match. 

I was able to be the center referee my last game of the tournament and got a lot of wonderful tips and help on the game from my assistant referees John Kloosterman and Gavin Bergquist. They both definitely helped show the importance of working together as a crew. During that game we went into extra time and eventually my I ran my first ever kicks from the mark (KFTM) where a few mentors and fellow referees came out to watch and support me in that as well. 

What is your biggest takeaway from the weekend? 

The tournament was ran very professionally and was one of the greatest opportunities I have had in my refereeing career so far. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget and I encourage every referee to keep pushing for the love of the sport because these are the moments that make it all worth it! 

Meghan, you have been to State Cup Finals multiple times, how have the previous experiences helped you going into the Finals again this fall? 

Based on previous finals, knowing that I have a solid support team behind me, whether it’s people from the MRC, MSYSA, or other referees, made my confidence higher. I also think having made so many friends throughout my years at State Cup has made me have a lot more fun on the games!

What is your favorite part of a Finals weekend? 

My favorite part is definitely hanging out with the other referees! I love to watch games with everyone and catch up on life updates. There’s only a handful of times a year we can all be together, so I cherish all the time we get.

What is a piece of advice you would give to a referee at the Finals for their first time? 

To first-timers, I say remember to have fun and make friends! You’re going to make mistakes, but we all have your back. Refereeing has brought some of my favorite people into my life, and every game I get to do with them is a blast!

Thank you to our Mentors! 

Thank you to Mentors that attended State Cup: Mike Wint, Brad Barlog, Kristy Bos, Bruce Falberg, Ray Kuhr, Steve McGuirk, Matt Krause, Tim Deters, Kaitlin Girbach, Jim DeBrabander, and Andrew Hoard. Some of them stepped up and reffed when there were not enough referees.

First Year National AR: Jake Brochu

How was your first experience at National Camp and tell us a little about it? 

2022 was my first year and it was a great experience. Camp was hosted at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in Southern California.  The first day of camp was a travel day. I got in and we had dinner and a meeting. The second day was the fitness test along with some classroom sessions. We discussed US Soccer points of emphasis and Laws of the Game changes for 2021-22. The fitness test is a very important part of camp and one that you need to be prepared for both physically and mentally.  On the third day we had breakfast, a quick presentation, and then we were all off to the airport to make our necessary flights to return home. 

Tell us about your NWSL debut this summer:

My first NWSL game was over the summer on July 8th as AR2 for Racing Louisville FC vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC. I didn’t have much time to prepare for this game as I was assigned the day before. I quickly booked my flight and then began to mentally prepare for the game. You should always be physically ready to do a game. The morning of the game I boarded the first flight out of Detroit and headed to Louisville. I arrived in town around 11am, got some work done, and grabbed some lunch. The game kicked off at 8pm, so we arrived at the stadium around 6:00pm. Luckily for me I had worked with the referee for the match previously and I know how she manages a match. Overall the game went very smoothly. The game ended with NJ/NY Gotham FC winning 2-1. Went back to the hotel and was back in my driveway the next day at 9:35am.

My motto for the game assignment was “Time to make the best out of a good situation.” With

having received the assignment just hours prior I needed to mentally get into a game mode that

I normally have a couple of weeks to prepare for and be physically prepared for the game.

What was your best memory from your first year as a National? 

My best experience from 2022 was the US Open Cup game with Detroit City FC vs. Columbus

Crew. What a great atmosphere with a sellout crowd, and Detroit City hosting a team from

Major League Soccer. This was the first game all year in which I feel like I had put everything

that I had been working on together. Everything went well for me that night. All of the feedback

that I had been given all year was finally put together in one game. The whole game went by in

what felt like slow motion. The crew really had everything together and we all worked well

together. What a great honor to have been given the opportunity to work that game from US


What are you most looking forward to in your 2nd year as a National Official in 2023? 

I am really looking forward to year 2. I learned something new every match, whether it was from my crew or assessor. Each time I went out I implemented things I learned from the previous matches. I look forward to growing as a National Official and getting to experience new teams and stadiums in the coming year!

Instructional Material Update

Throughout the year there are a number of ways to get instructional material from the Michigan Referee Committee. Stay tuned to the MRC Youtube Page for the “Video of the Week” from Yuya Kiuchi. Each week a new video is released on a wide range of topics from DOGSO to teamwork, player management to mechanics. 

Another way to get material is to follow the Michigan Referee Committee Referee Tips Blog. Different topics are discussed with videos used for training purposes. 

2022 FIFA World Cup

Every 4 years, soccer fans around the globe gather for the most watched sporting event on the planet, the FIFA World Cup. In 2018, over 3.5 billion people tuned in at some point to the World Cup. That’s nearly half the population of the entire planet! As the World Cup is fast approaching we want you to see names and faces of who will be representing the Stars and Stripes at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

REF- Ismail Elfath
AR- Corey Parker
 AR- Kyle Atkins
AR- Katheryn Nesbitt
Video Match Official- Armando Villarreal

National Coaches at Work

Out of about 110 US Soccer National Referee Coaches, fewer than 30 also work as PRO assessors. Michigan is fortunate to have 2 of them, Carlos Folino and Yuya Kiuchi. They had a very busy year watching matches and giving feedback to referee crews at multiple levels. 

Carlos’s 2022 games: NWSL- 14, MLSNext Pro- 11, USL League One- 5. For a total of 30 PRO matches as an assessor. He also attended the MLS Next Pro showcase in Dallas as a PRO assessor for talent identification.

Yuya’s 2022 games: MLS- 27, NWSL- 2, MLSNext Pro-6, USL League One- 2. For a total of 37 PRO matches as an assessor. 

In addition to all of these matches worked by both Carlos & Yuya, they worked on assessments at the state/regional levels (e.g. USL2 and MWPL) and multiple other events (USYS national and regional events). Thank you to both for their countless number of hours watching matches, reviewing film, and providing feedback. 

Regional Referee Assessments

The MRC conducts assessments on all regional referees who wish to keep their badge the next year and all regional referee candidates for the following year. In 2022, we have completed a total of 74 maintenance/upgrade assessments. Those who wish to upgrade to the regional referee status in 2024 should look for the upgrade information on the MRC website in December 2022.

New National Assignor for Michigan

Yuya Kiuchi was named the new national assignor in Michigan effective as of September 16, 2022. In addition to MLS Next, he will be assigning USL2, NPSL, UWS, National Team ID events, and more. Referees who are interested in officiating in these upper-level adult games should contact local assignors, mentors, and/or Ron Grobbel SYRA so they can move up the referee development pathway. You can also watch this video to better understand how you can get more competitive games in the state: Referee Development Pathway 

Academy Award Soccer

Ken Wikle
Emeritus Regional Referee

Good acting and bad acting have been a part of soccer for some time whether for good or ill. Professional players rolling on the ground after a foul may be injured or just acting. I have seen players who have been bumped in the chest falling and rolling on the ground holding their knee or their head trying to get the referee to believe they are seriously injured. Everyone watching the game is wondering if this player is seeking an “Academy Award” for their acting. Americans not used to international soccer always comment on what a bunch of babies’ soccer players are after seeing a player who one minute is rolling around on the ground in pain and the next minute up and playing again. Injured American football players never engage in enhancing their injuries. Bad acting in soccer is an affront to good sportsmanship and detracts from our sport.

How about referees? Should referees be caught acting during a match?

One of the most famous FIFA referees, Pierluigi Collina is most often pictured with a fierce look on his face confronting players after calling a foul. Even highly experienced international players deferred to him because of his imposing personality. He was a great actor. He played the role and embodied decisiveness and fair play.

Whether you realize it or not some amount of acting is part of refereeing amateur and youth soccer.

A case in point is something I see regularly mentoring young referees in youth games. Most of these referees are accurate in their decisions, a characteristic we should admire. Unfortunately, while they are accurate, what they lack is the body language that sends a message to the players, spectators and coaches of, “I am sure of my decision and we are going this way.” This takes a little acting. The referee needs to blow the whistle authoritatively, stand up straight, face the touchline and make a precise straight-armed signal to everyone within hearing and sight distance demonstrating the nature and direction of the next restart.

A weak whistle followed by a tentative signal with a bent elbow does not sell a decision. It may not even stop the players. A referee who hangs their head as they signal appears to be embarrassed about their decision. A late whistle for a foul when there is no advantage sends a message, “Ok, I guess I should call this!” It’s not decisive in anyone’s opinion, although it may be correct. A referee putting their whistle up to their mouth but not blowing it sends a message “Maybe it’s a foul but I’m not going to call it”, is truly not indicative of selling a call. Everyone at the field can see a player go down and they immediately look to the referee for a decision. The referee’s body language needs to be decisive.

For many younger referees, officiating soccer may be the first time they find themselves “in charge” of something. Even though the players may be 5 years younger and only half their size the young referees should understand the game requires a role of leadership. This is a great opportunity, a valuable life experience for a young person. What the players, coaches, and parents expect is a referee to take charge of the game. In order to do this referees need to act like they are in charge with their body language, their whistle, and their signals. Even though your calls may be accurate, if your body language is poor, you are inviting dissent. Believe it or not, it is possible to be 180 degrees out on a call and if the referee whistles strongly and makes an immediate clear signal, players may buy the decision. It is more important to be accurate in your decisions but if you cannot sell them with some “good acting” you may be in for

dissent. While they don’t award Academy awards for acting while refereeing, good acting can pay off.

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
State Director of Recruitment (mgr.recruitment): Kristy Bos
State Director of Communication (mgr.communications): Eric Siegrist
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, Nick Balcer 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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