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Apr, 2019

Aidan and Rich, celebrating referee milestones

This week we celebrate two exceptional referees Aidan Pearce and Rich Eimers, and their service milestones.

Aidan Pearce

Aidan is 13 years old and in his short career, he’s earned his Regional Referee certification, completed 20 hours of training, and refereed 50 matches over five seasons. He leads the youth in our region for completed assignments this season and the Hall of Fame.

 Aidan expressed a strong desire to be a referee at the tender age of 9 years and 6 months. It seemed like an eternity waiting six months until he was old enough to take the Regional Referee course. Being a referee is challenging and his first obstacle was a uniform too large. It had to be tailored so he wouldn’t trip over his own shirt! Aidan says that refereeing has taught him to be more mature than some of the parents who act more like kids.

Aidan provides service in other ways to the region, re-netting and repairing goals, filling gopher holes and mentoring new referees. He’s also earned his 12U coaching certificate and has helped coach 10U and 12U teams. Last season he was offered money to referee for a team short of referee points, but he refused it, saying “we don’t take money, we’re volunteers”. 

Aidan has big plans for the annual city-wide Pilot Cup, coaching for the first time and refereeing for his third time. This summer he plans to attend the Ken Aston  referee camp and earn his Intermediate Badge in the fall season.

 If Aidan was once the youngest referee in the region, Rich Eimers is attempting to set the opposite record. At the spry age of 74, last week Rich completed his 200th documented match since 2015.

Rich Eimers

Rich began volunteering for AYSO in 1977 when his oldest son Michael was just five years old. Michael was on a co-ed pee wee team and they needed a referee. Since Rich had never played soccer himself, he learned from a book given to him. As his son grew, Rich moved up in the divisions too, taking on more difficult games. He earned his Advanced Referee certification in 2003 and in his 42 years of service he estimates he has refereed well over a 1,000 games. He has an AYSO jacket covered with pins he has received at different tournaments. When he wears it all the players love to admire it.

Rich is a no-nonsense referee and tries his very best to be fair. Back in the early eighties he was refereeing a Thanksgiving playoff game for his daughter’s team. The game was tied and clock expiring when he promptly called her team offside twice. His son, G14U Coach Matt, reports the family almost made him walk home in the rain.

Rich has learned a few tricks along the way. When both of his sons were 18 and playing a game under the lights at Te Winkle Field, he realized the teams were overly competitive and planning to play rough. He quickly calmed them down by giving them all a yellow card, before the game even started!

Rich has no intention of slowing down. Some of his favorite soccer is the Pilot Cup were, he may referee at least four games a day, topping out one year at 23 games. Now that he is retired, he is able to take the early games and keep going until he is refereeing under the lights. But refereeing isn’t his only service, he recently traveled to Paradise, Ca for a week after the wildfires as a CERT volunteer. 

 Aidan and Rich are examples of service and commitment we can all follow. American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is a nonprofit and the oldest national youth soccer program in the United States. Beginning with only nine teams by a handful of soccer enthusiasts, AYSO was established in 1964 out of a garage in Torrance, California, in an effort to ensure that American kids have the opportunity to be introduced to the beautiful game of soccer. More than 50 years later, AYSO now has thriving programs for kids and adults in nearly 900 communities with over eight million AYSO alumni, and a name that’s recognized nationwide. At our core, we are powered by and wouldn’t exist without our volunteers.

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