Tournament of Champions, Dec 2021
L to R: Jennifer Garner, Jacob Cohen, Alexa Richardson
It’s no secret – the North Texas Soccer community relies HEAVILY on our referees! They’re constantly training, prepping and learning to better serve players, and their hard work pays off. This year, referee Jacob Cohen was named the Region III Young Referee of the Year, a huge accomplishment that we are excited to celebrate. Enjoy this interview with Jacob!
Jacob, how long have you been a North Texas referee?
Almost three years! I first became certified as a Grade 08 in February 2019. Like everyone else, my life was disrupted by the pandemic - I was just getting into stride when everything shut down in March 2020. When I returned to refereeing at the end of summer, I had to retrain my skills and confidence.
How did you first decide to join the NTX Soccer community as a referee?
My father was a referee when he was my age. He knew it was a good opportunity for teenagers interested in soccer and suggested I give it a try. I’d played competitive soccer for most of my life, but stopped the previous year due to injury.
What’s your favorite thing about being a referee?
I love opportunities to travel around North Texas, see new places and meet new people. I’m not yet at the level where I’m afforded opportunities to travel across the country or worldwide, but the trips I take around our area are delightful. I can expand my knowledge of the community, and each new complex I work at comes with new people – referees, coaches, players – that I get to meet, befriend and learn from!
What do you wish people knew about referees?
We love the game! Between all the time we spend at the fields plus training, studying the laws and match situations, and keeping ourselves in shape, referees dedicate a substantial portion of their lives to soccer. Such a time commitment requires a true passion. When we step onto the field, we are there to support the international community of like-minded individuals who share that passion.
How is receiving this award significant to you?
This award strengthens my confidence in both myself and our community of referees, assignors and mentors. I would not be who I am today without the exceptional individuals I’ve encountered over the past three years. Refereeing has become a huge part of my life, in no small part thanks to the efforts of those who surround me, supporting and encouraging my progress. I am but one of many qualified officials across North Texas, our collective success is a tribute to our mentors’ efforts.
Anything to add?
I cannot emphasize enough how much I value the support, advice and encouragement of others. While it would be impractical to name every person who has guided and inspired me, I would like to thank Ann Hicks who has driven my growth and nominated me for this award, Trent McColly for his advice and inviting me to the Jr. Elite Referee Progra and the organizers of the same for the training, education and experience it provides.
Congratulations again to Jacob!
Interested in becoming a North Texas referee? Visit http://www.ntxsoccer.org/referee/referee_about/!