Local soccer official earns big opportunity at Summer Games
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 06:00 am
The 2014 Alberta Summer Games soccer tournament not only saw the top Under 15 soccer players in the province battle it out for a gold medal at Monklands Soccer Park in Airdrie, it also marked the start of a busy schedule for local referee Mike Stacey.
The 21 year old, who has been officiating soccer games since 2006, was the co-referee-in-chief for the Summer Games event, which marked one of his biggest assignments at an event to date.
“It was more of a leadership role where I was overseeing the officials and making sure that they showed up for games and things like that,” Stacey said.
“But it was something I was eager to do, as it will help me with my development as an official.”
“I was asked by Alberta Soccer to take on the roll with Barry Anderson of Airdrie about a week before the Games, and I jumped right into it,” he added.
“It was nice to be asked to jump into that role, and especially since it was close to home as well.”
In addition to making sure things were running smoothly, Stacey also officiated a few of the games himself, and served as the head referee for the boys’ gold-medal game on July 27 at Monklands, which Zone 3 won 3-1 over Zone 5.
“For the most part during the weekend, I would just step in and officiate games for the officials who were unable to take part because they had to be called into work or things like that,” Stacey said.
“I was assigned the gold-medal game, and I would have gladly given it to one of the younger officials to have that chance, but Alberta Soccer wanted me to have that chance to showcase myself in the finals, and I think I did well in that game as a ref,” he added.
Over the next month, Stacey’s schedule will see him officiating games in both Calgary and Edmonton, as he gains more experience towards his end goal of becoming a professional ref and one day officiating matches at the World Cup.
“I’m currently involved with the Alberta Major Soccer League season, which is the highest men’s amateur league in the province, and I’ve had the chance to be the main referee for some big games in Calgary,” Stacey said.
“I’ve recently been asked to be involved with the Tier 1 Youth Provincials in Edmonton on Aug. 22 to 24, and the senior provincials in Edmonton on Labour Day Weekend (Aug. 29 to Sept. 1).”
His biggest assignment of the year will take place in Medicine Hat from Nov. 3 to 8, where he will be an assistant referee at the Canadian Women’s College Championships.
“I got the email for that about a week ago, and it was a really big honour to be asked to help out with that tournament,” Stacey said.
“Many of the top national referees will be the main officials during that week, so just to be able to help them out by being a linesman is a cool feeling.”