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Soccer Referees Give RefEdge Pro Two Thumbs Up

Soccer Referees Give RefEDGE PRO Two Thumbs Up

RefEDGE PRO product image

Stand-up vanishing spray gets on-field workout

By Jackie Pearase, Officials101.com

            Soccer referees are saying that RefEDGE PRO, a new stand-up vanishing spray, is a stand-out product.

            Vanishing spray, or vanishing foam, is used by soccer referees to provide a temporary visual marker to keep players of the opposing team to the minimum distance from the ball during a free kick and to mark the spot from which the kick is taken.

            The use of vanishing sprays is said to have reduced free-kick downtime by almost 50 per cent and resulted in fewer yellow cards and more goals since becoming part of regular play about five years ago. It ensures rules are followed and fair play for all. 

            The new take on the vanishing spray intrigued Officials101 founder Jim Clarke and when he wanted to test it, Michael Radchuk came to mind.

      Michael Radchuk RefEdge game      As owner of Rent-A-Ref, Michael has connections with officials of all the major sports so getting him to test a sports-related product was a natural fit.

            Michael, a 13-year referee in his second year as a USSF national referee, first gave RefEDGE PRO a try at a USL match in September and found it to be a superior product on many levels.

            “RefEDGE PRO was very convenient to carry. I actually forgot I had it at times,” he said after the game. “It was very easy to use and very easy to return to the holster. Some competitor products require you to unclip the spray to use it, while RefEDGE allows you to take the can out of the holster and allows you to put it back in so you don’t have to search for the clip itself.”

            Michael has used different vanishing sprays in various weather conditions as an official for USL, NCAA D1 and US Soccer matches with mixed results. He had some difficulty using RefEDGE PRO on wet grass and Jason Record, co-founder of RefEDGE PRO, said practice is all that is required.

            “There is no way to make a perfect spray in all conditions but we have come close since you can vary the spray on your own and with a little practice, you’ll know what is required for different situations and you then have the perfect spray,” Jason explained.

            He said slowing down the spray speed creates a more foam-dense line that will stand up to such conditions. A normal speed pass will create a line lasting about 45-60 seconds.

            “You can truly vary the dwell time from about 30 seconds to 5+ minutes if you wanted.  The typical target for most is 60-90 seconds and is easily achieved with practice,” he added.  Soccer referee equipment

            A small can of RefEDGE PRO contains approximately 130 linear feet of foam – or two to four games depending on the game and usage.

            But the thing Michael likes best about the product is the ability to use the spray while standing.

            “We’re always told to keep our eyes out on what’s going on,” he explained. “Dead balls can be one of the more troublesome situations as players tend to get into extracurricular activities like pushing and stuff. By staying upright, it benefits the referee by having him/her keep an eye out on what’s going on.” 

            Jason said feedback on RefEDGE PRO has been positive from soccer officials and associations such as CONCACAF, NCAA, NASL and US Soccer.

            He said the company is also making some changes to improve its performance including an updated, locking Gripcage™ holster (patent pending) that will ensure the holster cannot go upside down when using its top-, side- or tilt-entry. A new, paddle-style VersiClip™ will include a larger back clip to make the can more stable.

            Michael said RefEDGE PRO is something he will definitely use again and recommend to others.

            “I recommend it to all, especially as you move upward through the ranks,” he said. “It’s lightweight, easy to use,and provides immediate communication and understanding to the players and the audience that it is a ceremonial free kick (on the whistle) when spray is pulled out.”

RefEDGE PRO’s proprietary formula is safe for all grass and artificial turf and contains no parabens. The Gripcage™ comes in four colors and easily attaches and detaches from the belt.


If you like this article, you may also enjoy these Officials101 Collections:


Soccer – Football 101 Collection
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You can watch Michael using RefEDGE PRO Vanishing Spray in this exciting 2016 USL season finale match between the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and the Orange County Blues FC at Anteater Stadium in Irvine, California. Check it out here!


Full Disclosure: As a result of these positive trials, RefEDGE PRO is now an affiliate marketer on the Officials101.com website. This article was written by Officials101 using information provided after testing by Michael Radchuk of Rent-A-Ref and comments from RefEDGE PRO co-owner Jason Record.


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Olympic Referees Share Referee of the Year Award

Alhambra Nievas Rasta Rasivhenge

Alhambra Nievas Rasta Rasivhenge
Olympic Referees Share Referee of the Year Award


Alhambra Nievas and Rasta Rasivhenge earn honour at 2016 World Rugby Awards 


Spain’s Alhambra Nievas made history Nov. 13 when she won, along with Rasta Rasivhenge of South Africa, the Referee of the Year Award at the 2016 World Rugby Awards in London, the first woman to win the honour. “I’m so happy and I consider this a team achievement,” Alhambra told Officials101 after accepting the award.

Alhambra and Rasta were nominated for the prestigious award along with South Africa’s Jaco Peyper and Jérôme Garcès of France. Alhambra was also nominated for the award in 2015 alongside Jerome Garcès and Nigel Owens. Nigel Owens, who earned the honour last year, is considered by many to be the top referee in all of sports.

2016 World Rugby Awards NomineesThe elite ranks of rugby referees are a very close knit group. They are the best in their home countries and they take great pride in their selection to the international level.  The referees support, encourage and motivate each other and work very hard to be the best back home and abroad, making it a true honour to have one of their group recognized. 

Alhambra and Rasta are friends (use the hashtag #refteam to follow along) and she is happy that two of their group can share the award. The pair were part of an elite team of international rugby referees that impressed the whole world at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where the sport was played at the Olympic level for the first time since 1924. As one of the #RefsofRio, Alhambra was awarded the first ever Rugby Sevens women’s Olympic gold medal game while Rasta had the honour of officiating in the men’s gold medal match. 

A friend’s encouragement to help out at a children’s rugby camp led to Alhambra taking up the whistle and she has certainly made her mark. She has refereed at a Women’s Rugby World Cup and in the Women’s Six Nations, and is a regular on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Series Sevens Series.  

Alhambra thanks all the people who have supported her and those she has learned from over the years – first as a player and then as an official. “All of them are behind this award,” she said. 

The latest accolade will give Alhambra even more motivation to conquer new horizons – like her upcoming appearance in the international men’s match between Tonga and USA and the 2017 World Cup in Ireland in 15s rugby.


Written by Jackie Pearase
Officials101 Content Editor


Read More about Alhambra Nievas here:

Officials101 Olympic Chat – July 2016


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7 Trends to Watch for Referees and Umpires

7 Trends Technology

7 Trends Referees and Umpires

7 Trends to Watch
for Referees and Umpires


Sports officials today and in the future


7 Trends to Watch for Referees and Umpires


Referees and umpires are by no means being left out of our fast-changing world. 

Sports officials are experiencing huge changes in the wide world of sports and Officials101.com is shining the spotlight on 7 trends that referees, umpires, and everyone else, will want to watch out for in the coming years.


1. Multi Sport Service Companies


7 Trends JobsWith so many sports and leagues for every ability and age group, the need for referees and umpires continues to grow. Organizations everywhere struggle to recruit and retain sports officials. Sports entrepreneurs have seen a gap and companies are now popping up to fill the need. The basic premise for such companies is to recruit, train and schedule referees and umpires for a multitude of sports – matching up leagues, tournaments and games with the officials they need. It offers a cost-effective way for associations to get qualified coverage without the expense of training and re-training their own sports officials. More businesses like these will make sports officiating more appealing as a way to earn a living for people of all ages.


2. Women’s Sports


7 Trends WomenThere is a growing number of women participating in sports and a rise in females officiating professional levels of sporting events – men’s and women’s. The quality of women’s sports and the officiating is exceptional and has resulted in a growing fan base for all sports and increased employment opportunities for all sports officials. The 2016 Rio Olympics gave everyone a chance to witness female officials’ superb talent in the online forum, #RefsofRio. Women are making inroads not only in women’s sports but also in male dominated sports in North America and across the world. Watch this trend grow.

 


3. Technology


7 Trends TechnologySo much going on here for sports officials and changes are afoot at not only the professional level but also for amateur, high school, college and university sports. Video technology has been part of many sports for decades and its use will continue to grow and enhance officiating. Cricket has used video replay as a third umpire since the early 1990s and hockey wouldn’t be the same without the net-cams. The 2016 Rio Olympics used expanded videography on many occasions and with huge success and FIFA is currently in the midst of video assistant referee (VAR) trials. The type and use of such technology will continue to expand for all sports.

Wearable technology will be even bigger for sports officials. Communication devices are commonplace in most sports but ref-cams with open mic broadcasts are going to be huge and will put a whole new spin on sports at all levels. New technology for failsafe timing on the field will enhance all sports for players and fans alike while goal line technology will indicate when a ball or puck crosses the line. Referees and umpires will also start taking advantage of wearable fitness tracking technology and high-tech apparel as a path to more elite levels of officiating and improved physicality. And, of course, there will be an app for that when it comes to everything referees need to excel.


4. Media Attention


7 Trends MediaGlobal boundaries are disappearing in just about every realm, and the world of sports officiating is no different. The internet gives global reach to even the smallest developing sports organizations, allowing them to learn and benefit from additional knowledge and information to better grow their sport. Mainstream media may only give a passing glance at sports like quidditch and floorball but both of them garner huge global followings of fans, players and officials through today’s social media options. Internet media companies and online organizations with a focus on sports are popping up every day that provide support, information and a place to unite.

 


5. Fitness


7 Trends FitnessToday’s athletes are incredibly fit so it stands to reason that the officials of these sports must follow suit. A hockey player may have several shifts during a period but the referee is on the ice the entire game so his/her fitness level is key to excelling and advancing. A focus on improved fitness training at all levels and the use of fitness technology will better hone the critical thinking skills that are so important to officiating. Watch as referee and umpire governing bodies will continue to put more emphasis on top level game preparation that includes rules, research and incredible fitness levels.

 


6. Positive Sports


7 Trends Positive SportsViolence, crazy parents and a crazed animal mentality can be a big part of today’s sports but that does not mean that most people are OK with it. There is a push to bring civility back to sports and sports officiating. There is the integration of gender and a variety of physical abilities and ages, which fosters respect in a fun environment. There are organizations working to ensure young people have positive, character-building experiences when they play any sport. There is a lot of extremism in today’s sports culture but a pendulum swings both ways and one day it will come to pass that being a jackass parent, fan, player or official is just too politically incorrect. We are positive about this.


7. Training


7 Trends TrainingWith a growing demand for sports officials across the world, training will come to the forefront. All it takes is a click online to find hundreds of improved training techniques in a wide variety of sports. Many sports organizations already offer free online training courses, with some scholarships available for advanced training opportunities. The online availability of officiating information and training opportunities will continue to grow. Sports officials will take advantage of their basic skillsets and look to employment in multiple sports, thus increasing the demand for both specialized and broad-based training. Being a sports official may not always pay the rent but the leadership and management skills required to be a good one are being recognized as transferable skills in the business world, making it all the more important to stay ahead of the game – so to speak.


Co-Written by Jim Clarke and Jackie Pearase
Jim is the Founder of Officials101
Jackie is the Officials101 Content Editor
Thanks for reading!


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NBA Referees and The Transparency Initiative

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NBA Referees and The Transparency Initiative

The Last 2 Minutes


NBA Referees and The Transparency Initiative The Last 2 Minutes june 2016

NBA referees and anyone else involved in sports knows that the last 2 minutes of any close game is an intense and chaotic moment. The NBA is even much more intense and chaotic than the games you and I might play in. It is a pressure packed situation for everyone involved. The players are focused on winning at all costs. The coaches are desperately looking for any advantages to exploit. The fans are on their feet, screaming and cheering for the home team to come out on top. There is chaos everywhere. Excitement echoes off the rafters. The air is alive with ripples of noise. The referees are in position and alert. They are watching everything. Through the roar, a whistle blows and suddenly the ball is in play.

Players start running in every direction in a feverish attempt to get into the best position. Blocks are made, screens are run, everybody is picking and poking. The excitement level in the building explodes through the roof. The MVP of the home team nails a 3 point buzzer beater from center court. The game is over. It is beautiful. The losing team is disappointed, but they know they were involved in something special, and they are proud.

This is what sports are all about. All of the fans are ecstatic and can’t wait to buy another ticket. The fans at home, watching the game on TV are just as excited. ‘What an awesome game!’ is the catchphrase everywhere. Well, almost everywhere.


The fans from the losing team are not quite so thrilled as the rest of us. In fact, they are pretty cranky about the whole thing. With their high definition televisions, they saw that little push and even that tug on the shirt. They think these are penalties that should have been called, even during an intense buzzer beating moment. I think that is up for debate. ‘If the referees had called a penalty, we would have won’ they all say. The TV sports news keep running the highlight reel over and over. Now, everybody can see the push and the tug. Everyone is talking about it instead of the game. Sportscasters bring in experts to talk about it. They all agree that something should have been called. Technically, they might be correct, the fans, the sportscasters and the experts are all correct. I am not impressed though. For me, the human element of sports is what makes them great and exciting. Unpredictable.

As a sports fan who just loves the game, don’t you wish those ‘technicality people’ could just love the game, too?swoosh 2 basketball june 2016 Love the excitement of it all. Celebrate the home team superstar draining the 3 pointer. Celebrate the fans. The lifelong fans who just watched one of the most amazing games ever. The new fans are now hooked for life. The kids that will pass on the legend of their first game when they take their own grandchildren to watch their first game at some point long into the future. Generations of sports fans loved that game. Sigh. What a nice dream, eh? But, no. The unfortunate reality is that the media, especially in the town of the losing team, are not going to let it go.

Some fans would rather gripe about a non-call in the last 2 minutes of the game. Break it down, follow every possible ‘other reality’ scenario that might have happened if the non-call had actually been a call. They might be right, they might be wrong. At the end of the day, who really cares? It means nothing. Being right or wrong about something that can’t be changed, changes nothing. The game is over and everybody went home. Get a life and get over it buddy. Better luck next time. Time to put on your big boy panties and get ready for the next game. But, wait. Hang on a minute. The media is loving this. ‘Look at all these whiners’ they say in the boardrooms. Let’s give them a platform, help them whine some more and maybe we can sell some extra advertising.


Now, one would think that the league would want us all to focus on the full awesome package of such a big game. What a spectacular game! Look at all the superstars! Did you see that buzzer beater?! Cater to all those new fans. Sell some tickets. Create more excitement. Make more money. That would all seem like a logical course of action. But, no. Wait a minute. That is not what is going to happen. The NBA has other plans.

There is something called The Transparency Initiative. It is a catchphrase that surrounded the coming of Adam Silver. He is the big boss at the NBA. The Transparency Initiative sounds impressive and it is intended to give better access to the fans and media regarding the referees and the decisions they make during the games. At this time, I haven’t been able to track down an actual written copy of this initiative but it is referred to often by the NBA and it actually sounds like a great idea. For the most part.


Under the umbrella of this initiative is the new NBA Replay Center. I am very impressed with the replay center. It is a thing of beauty. Technology and sports is an exciting field to watch and the NBA is one of the leaders in the world when it comes to innovation and progressive thinking. This replay center is pretty incredible. This part of the Transparency Initiative is most definitely working.

So what is wrong? It is something called an L2M Report. L2M is short for the ‘Last 2 Minutes’.2 minutes digital clock What is the Last 2 Minutes Report, you ask? Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. It is a detailed report of everything that happens in the last 2 minutes of close NBA games. These are only for the games where the point spread is within 5 points at exactly 2 minutes remaining. Not 2:06 or 2:02, but 2:00 left in the game. If the games go to overtime they will use the L2M for the final overtime period.

At the end of these games, there will be a couple of people in Secaucus, New Jersey, who are going to use all of those fancy resources available at that beautiful replay center, including the 94 monitors they have. They are going to rewind and slow-mo every second of that last 2 minutes window of the game. They will zero in on every single player, every movement, every pattern. Nothing will get missed with cameras from every angle covering every high resolution bead of sweat that hits the floor. The push and the tug are pretty obvious with the benefit of all of this technology. The L2M Report is written and distributed around the league so it can be discussed amongst teams and officials and they can work together to improve things for the future. Great idea, eh? Yep. But wait, what?


The NBA is releasing these L2M reports to the media. Within 24 hours. No interviews with the referees. No way for them to explain their logic or their reasons for allowing the play to continue. Basically these reports are useless to me personally as a sports fan, and also for the purposes of running the Officials101 website. Apparently, this is some kind of homage to The Transparency Initiative. Somebody has determined that taking a small 2 minute window of the most chaotic part of the most intense basketball games is a great place to publicly critique exactly 3 of their employees in the name of The Transparency Initiative. Huh? Not just any employees either. Not the star players. The ones that make more money in one game than most of us make in a year. No, there won’t be any breakdown of their missed assignments or bad passes. There will be no criticism of the foolish players that committed the push and tug fouls. The managers, coaches and executives are all safe. Even the beer slingers and the floor sweepers are safe. None of them are going to get thrown under the bus tomorrow morning. The only people that will get publicly chastised in this report, are, wait for it… the referees.

I am not sure who decided there is some kind of value in publicly ripping any employees after a pressure situation, but I think they may be a little off base on this one. In any other high stress job in the world, this negative handling of employees would immediately be recognized as just a preposterous plan. It wouldn’t have even gotten started because nobody would ever dream of such a ridiculous notion. It seems that just because these are professional referees, that this is all somehow okay. I don’t think so.


Can you imagine if your boss was to hire somebody to go over the most chaotic part of your day. Analyze it, break it down and find every tiny detail of what you should have done differently and then post it on the bulletin board in the lunchroom. Or, even worse, post it on the internet. Nobody else at work gets analyzed or chastised. Just you and the other 2 in your department. That is it. The report doesn’t take into account how awesome you were all day, it just focusses in on that little period of chaos. Some people may find this kind of feedback to be helpful, and maybe it is, but any real value was certainly lost as soon as it was posted on the lunchroom wall. Co-workers and customers can now see it. They can comment on it, write jokes about your mistakes and even keep copies of everything in case there are future opportunities to rub your nose in it again. Suddenly, your helpful little critique isn’t so helpful is it? It became negative and it is now an obstacle to your growth and progress. Imagine having it posted on the internet.

swoosh 1 basketball june 2016Personally, I don’t have a problem with workplace critiques that are meant to help people make progress and improve. I just don’t think they should be hung on the bulletin board in the lunchroom or posted on internet. A work critique should just be a work critique. That is it. This L2M thing has, or at least had, some good intentions in the beginning. It was meant to be used as a tool to connect with fans and to explain what happened in all those final moments of chaos in the most exciting NBA games. I don’t really believe that it was intended to publicly throw the NBA referees under the bus, but that is what is happening. The NBRA (NBA Referees Association) is not happy about the L2M and I don’t blame them for a minute. (Read the NBRA Official Statement here). If my boss ever posted such a redundant report as the L2M about me on the bulletin board for no real good reason, other than he thought it was a good idea, I would have a few harsh words to say to him, too. I might write him a Jackass Critique and post it on the end of his nose. That is just me though. The NBA Referees don’t have those kinds of options, and hopefully not that attitude either.


What kind of options do the NBA Executive have for resolving this issue? How can they deal with this and not lose face in the boardroom? You have to remember that the NBA boardrooms are filled with very rich, very powerful, alpha personalities. They don’t change their minds easily. This will probably have to be ‘handled’. I am not as smart as all those billionaires so this is just pure speculation on my part, but I think they probably just need to stop publishing the L2M Reports to the media. Don’t stop making them completely because it is possible the reports themselves are actually beneficial to the teams and the referees. Overall, I don’t think taking the time to make the reports is a horrible idea, but they completely lose all positive value as soon as the media gets a hold of them and crushes the referees just so they can sell some advertising. Referees who also happen to be employees of the NBA and, unbeknownst to many, human beings as well. If it is so important to the NBA to release these L2M results to the public, they should at least release their accumulated data for a set time period rather than releasing them each day for each individual game.

If the NBA really wants to help it’s referees, then maybe they should consider giving referees free access to that fancy new room in New Jersey for the last 2 minutes of the really close games. Maybe just for games that are within a 5 point spread, for example. Or how about in overtime? That way the referees can see the same obvious push and tugs that the fans can see at home. Maybe, they can do something useful about it before the game is over. Maybe, everybody in New Jersey can work together and actually make things better. To me, that is a Transparency Initiative that will help get the calls correct in The Last 2 Minutes.


While researching for this article, I had to do a lot of digging around about the coming of Adam Silver because he is the catalyst for The Transparency Initiative. From all reports that I read, and I did read a lot of them, Mr. Silver is a master negotiator who just wants everyone to get along and make money. His handling of the $24 billion TV package and the Donald Sterling debacle were pretty incredible displays of his skill sets. I believe he meant well with this whole Transparency Initiative thing and I believe that he will fix it. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading.
Have an awesome day!
Jim


The NBA Referees

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NBA Referees

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The NBA

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Sources

NBRA Public Statement 
NBA Memo #10 Feb 24 2016
NBA Respect for The Game Memo Oct 29, 2014
1st L2M’s on March 2, 2015
Joe Borgia explains L2M on Making The Call
NBA Officials Media Guide 2015 – 2016
NBA Press Release announcing L2M Feb 27 2015
Josh Robbins article Orlando Sentinel May 1 2015
Jeff Zillgitt article USA Today June 7 2016
Luke Duffy article at Hoops Habit June 9 2016
Jolene Nacapuy of Campus Times mentions a Portland trial on Jan 19 2015
ESPN discusses Adam Silver Jan 29 2015
Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated talks transparency and Adam Silver Apr 1 2014


If you enjoy Basketball, you may also enjoy these Officials101 Collections:


Basketball Referee Collection 
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NBA Referees Collection
NCAA Collection 


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