In yet another exciting chapter in NIRSA Championship Series soccer history, we’ve come to an unanticipated time of change within the national soccer tournament’s leadership. With this change, I want to express our gratitude for past leaders in the NIRSA soccer world. Leaders such as Doug Ewing, Randall Ford, Howard Taylor, Sadat Khan, Stephanie McAlpine, Chad Ellsworth, and now Noah Yannie are the reason why we’re operating the greatest national tournament in the realm of collegiate club soccer.
Noah has announced his retirement from his long tenure as the director of officials for this tournament as of 2017. We sincerely appreciate his service to the tournament and we appreciate the partnerships— such as with NISOA—that he was foundational in establishing.
Following the position descriptions as established in 2016, we recruited and selected the next director of officials: Erik Jaeke from the University of Wisconsin – Madison! Erik has great experience with the national soccer tournament from the perspective of both staff and officials. He’s a NISOA-certified official who began his career with the tournament as an official a few years back in 2013. He continued his service with the tournament in the role of assistant director of competition and then most recently as the co-director of competition.
Erik impressed the selection committee with ideas for how we can enhance the current player and staff experience as well as where we can go in future years. As co-director of competition, Erik was pivotal in the development of the first spring tournament focused mainly on student official’s development that was hosted in April 2018 at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. During the interview process, Erik identified specific ways we can continue to incorporate student officials into the national and regional tournaments in order to align with the Championship Series’ mission and values. Erik has already begun his work recruiting highly-qualified officials from all over the nation to officiate this year’s national soccer tournament, which will take place in Foley, Alabama beginning November 29.
With Erik stepping into this new role, we now have a vacancy in our leadership team. We’ve now opened applications to serve as the director of competition for this upcoming year. The application closes on May 28 and the selection process will begin at that time.