Ephrata’s Smith is National Young Referee of the Year
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Ephrata High School senior Kyle Smith comes from a family of soccer referees.
He says tagging along to his mom Tina and older brother Brandon’s games gave him the itch to try it out as well.
"I was going to the games that they were reffing so I just decided to try it," Kyle said.
A Grade 8 referee since 2008, Smith has earned the right to take the field in some of the most prestigious events in the area. He has worked the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Region I Championships in 2011 and took the field as center in the Under-12 final at the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships.
This past weekend, Smith, a First Team All-Star this past season for the Ephrata High School soccer team, was honored for his excellent work on the pitch.
At the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala, held in conjunction with the 2012 US Youth Soccer Workshop in Boston, Smith was named the national US Youth Soccer Young Male Referee of the Year award winner.
Recipients of the Young Referee of the Year awards are selected by the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors based on their strong work ethic, knowledge of the rules of the game and service as positive role models.
"There are four regions, and I went against the regional winners from those regions and I ended up winning against all four of them," said Smith, who represented Region One (East). "It’s pretty cool but I must say I was shocked when I found out I won."
To be eligible for the national award, Smith had to first receive a recommendation for the State award. He won that, and from there he was entered into the regional competition. For that, he had to submit a resume with all of his accomplishments, as well as other interests.
He was then selected as the winner of Region One, which stretches from Virginia to Maine.
"I really didn’t know what I had won," Smith said of the regional award. "At first I thought it was something from the State level, and then I read it again and I was like, ‘wow…’"
He was then invited to the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala, where he took home the top honor this past weekend.
"It was quite an honor to win it," Smith said.
As for the future, Smith, who is headed off to Lycoming College in the fall, plans to continue his passion when he is able.
"I’m planning on continuing to ref," he said. "With going to college, I’m not going to be doing as much reffing while I’m there but I’ll come home and do tournaments."
He also hopes to continue to work at the professional indoor level where he has officiated a total of three games.
"I’m the fourth official so I’ll do things like take the stats, keep track of how many fouls each team has, and talk to the coaches, things like that," he said. "It’s pretty cool. It’s a big step up for me."
Kyle is the son of Tina and the late John Smith, who passed away recently. While his father wasn’t here to see him win the national award, Tina said Tuesday, "his dad would be so proud of him." More SMITH, page B-3