The addition of field turf and consistent quality coaching has slowly turned boys’ and girls’ soccer into the most elite sport the Moore League has to offer.
The Long Beach Poly, Millikan, Cabrillo and Jordan boys’ teams are all part of CIF Southern Section Division 1. On the girls’ side, Millikan, Poly and Wilson are also in the premier playoff division. Seven teams in Division 1 is by far the most of any sport in the league, and now the city is looking for playoff success in this rescheduled season that will have all teams at all levels playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
That schedule creates an issue with available referees because five or six different sites will be simultaneously hosting games. The CIF-SS soccer officials assigner Robert Cravens already sees how difficult it will be to get qualified referees at every game.
“It’s going to be a struggle,” Cravens said. “But we anticipate that we’ll be able to cover the games.”
Cravens, who is in his first year as assigner, knows there’s a way schools can make his life easier.
“I understand the dynamics of keeping school administrators late to be at the games, but if they plan their games a little bit later it opens up a bigger variety of referee pool because I’ve got (referees) who still work and they get off at 4 or 4:30 p.m. and so sometimes I’m stuck assigning the same referees,” he said.
The other issue will be which games get the two-referee crews and which games get the classic three referees with two of them serving as line judges on each side of the field.
“It’s actually more difficult for me assign a two-referee crew,” Cravens said. “I have to have two strong refs with a whistle. I’m going to do my best to get three-referee crews on the games that absolutely need them. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”
Overall importance of the game and the style of play for the teams involved will help Cravens know which games need the extra referee. Any games with only two referees could see a big discrepancy in fouls called. Offsides is also a lot more difficult to call correctly with only two referees on the field.