Maumelle resident, Klay Babin, was recently awarded his National Referee Badge. He first started soccer refereeing here in Maumelle 14 years ago at age 13. Klay worked his way up through the referee ranks and became a State Referee about 6 years ago.
As a National Referee, he is now qualified to do any match from Major League Soccer (MLS) through Professional Development League (PDL), college, adult amateur, high school, and all youth soccer, both recreational and classic. As a State Referee, he was already qualified to do all of the above with the exception of MLS. But now, with National Referee status, he will be called upon to do many more of the upper level matches.
Klay is also a local referee assignor and an instructor for the Arkansas State Soccer Association. In the soccer community, Klay is known all over the state of Arkansas and in the adjoining states where he has worked. He has also worked many times at Disney in Orlando in their national tournaments.
To achieve the national level, Klay was required to be assessed 8 times, at his own expense, at an appropriate match level, primarily PDL. None of them were available within Arkansas, and it was up to each assessor if that match was at an acceptable degree of difficulty, whether it was a qualified assessment match or not. There were fitness standards that Klay had to pass, too. As you can probably tell, it was not an easy process to go through, but he persevered and he achieved his ultimate goal to become a NATIONAL REFEREE.
Klay shared some valuable thoughts on refereeing, along with some practical advice:
- Any referee can take something away from every single match that he/she does, there is ALWAYS at least one thing you can take to improve on.
- Being a good communicator is key; good communication can usually stop a problem before it can become one.
- If you treat people (coaches, players) with respect, you’ll usually get it back.
- As with most anything, you get out of it what you put into it.
- The job is not done until the paperwork is done, and it MUST be done accurately and completely.
- At the higher level of matches—the more things that you have already worked on, the less difficult it becomes as you progress to higher levels.
In closing, Klay has achieved one of the highest levels in soccer refereeing that one can achieve. We are SO proud of him and his accomplishments, and we wish him the very best in his on-going pursuit of refereeing excellence in his soccer career.