The 2019 NIRSA National Soccer Championships will be held from November 21–23 in Round Rock, Texas where over 2,000 student athletes will battle it out for a chance to become the next national champion. This year, we have an exciting addition to the event: we’ll be adding a Unified Sports division comprised of four nationally-selected teams by Special Olympics North America!
In an effort to further the Championship Series’ strategic goals, the Soccer Work Team has been putting student official’s development at the forefront of our action plans. Over the past two years, Laura Thomas, previous Soccer Work Team Chair, along with Nick Singer, current work team member, and Hannah Roberts, current work team member, have been hosting student soccer officials clinics at national championships. These clinics have been geared towards students at our regional site locations. This year, we’re expanding the overall experience of our student officials clinics to encompass actual game experience with evaluations through our Unified Sports division.
Amanda Alpert, the NIRSA Championship Series Unified Sports Task Force Chair, has been an advocate to bring Unified Sports to NIRSA Soccer. “The Unified Sports movement is continuing to grow and has become an integral part of many college campuses,” she says. “Unified Sports provide the opportunity for those with and without intellectual disabilities to compete together through sport.”
She continues, “NIRSA has offered a Unified division at the National Basketball Tournament previously and we’re looking forward to bringing this division to soccer as well. This is not only an amazing opportunity for Special Olympics athletes, but also for college student partners who will have the chance the compete at the national level representing their institution. We’re excited that students will have the opportunity to officiate this division at National Soccer and that club teams will be exposed to Unified Sports, potentially going back to their campuses with the desire to start their own programs.”
We’re looking to invite six student officials to the National Championships from the afternoon of Thursday, November 21 through Saturday evening, November 22. Students will be responsible for their own travel expenses, but upon arrival into Round Rock students can expect lodging and tournament meals to be provided. Nick Singer, who is passionate about furthering student official’s development across collegiate campuses, says, “Student officials can expect an unforgettable experience that includes opportunities to talk with collegiate assignors, referee coaches, and players from all over the country, and be provided the resources to connect with people in their state that can help them to continue their officiating journey.”
He goes on to say, “We are looking for coachable officials who are hungry to learn and soak in the experience of being at a national tournament and what that experience may look like for future tournaments and events. This program will cover classroom learning, rules interpretation, evaluations for every game, and the opportunity to meet many aspiring referees who are currently excelling in the sport. If you have an open mind, are ready for the next step in your officiating journey, want to bring back new training modalities to your campus, or are looking for an exceptional Unified Sports experience, then we are looking for your application!”
We’re asking all NIRSA professionals to look around their respective departments and encourage these students to apply for the experience of a lifetime. Minimum requirements for student officials are that they must be enrolled in a minimum of six hours for the Fall 2019 semester, and must have worked at least ten intramural soccer games on their campus during the current or previous academic year. Applications close Friday October 11 with a review of applications to occur the following week. Don’t miss out on the chance for your students to grow in the sport of soccer!