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Lauren Stalcup selected as Region II Referee of the Year

posted Dec 5, 2013, 5:45 PM by Cory Kramer   [ updated Jul 11, 2016, 7:03 PM ]

After five years of dedication and hard work in the field, Lauren Stalcup was recently nominated and selected as Kansas Referee of the Year and Region II Referee of the Year for her accomplishments as an official.

“It was kind of funny,” Stalcup said. “I got all these text messages saying stuff like, ‘Congrats’ and ‘Way to go,’ because all my ref friends found out before I did. And then I checked my email and my soccer team manager had emailed me with congratulations and had attached the email notifying everyone I had won.”

With the Kansas Referee of the Year title under her belt, Stalcup advanced into the Region competition. Stalcup’s mother, Lisa Stalcup, said she believed Stalcup would do great in the competition despite being on the younger side. In late November, Stalcup received an email notifying her she had become Region II Referee of the Year, and would advance into the national competition.

 “I was beyond excited,” Stalcup said. “I was totally stoked.”

Lisa said she was thrilled when she heard the news. According to Lisa, it is great to have Kansas represented out of the 16 states that applied officials for the award. Lisa said she believes all the additional training Stalcup has done, such as training with a FIFA referee who will officiate in upcoming Women’s World Cup games, has helped Stalcup achieve greatness in her job.

“Since she started officiating, she has been focused on always getting better and upgrading to the next level,” Lisa said. “This has meant many field evaluations, additional training, classes, and of course, working some tough games. She has to manage so many moving parts during a game and to do it with authority and respect is hard. I think she was selected not only on her ability to ref a game, but how she manages off the field. She proved that she is able to be very involved in school, clubs, and athletics, maintain good grades, manage outside leadership activities and still travel out of states to tournaments and officiate during weekends. I think it’s really neat she is being recognized for it.”

Stalcup is part of the Kansas Developmental Ref Program, and her mentor Andrew Fletcher, was the one who nominated her for the award. The program recruits high school and college referees recognized for their great officiating, and in return for being a part of the program, are given the opportunity to travel and officiate high-level games.

“I decided to enlist Lauren and her sister into the program because they had a good attitude,” Fletcher said. “They seemed very responsible, very polite. They listened well and took instruction well. And they knew the game. That’s the kind of person we were looking for to join.

“We have a lot of good female referees, but [Stalcup] stood out in our eyes [for the nomination],” Fletcher said. “The way she handles herself in difficult games and off the field. She’s calm, composed and looks like she’s in charge. And that’s all you can ask for.”

Officiating older U18 and U19 games as well as higher-level games used to be intimidating for Stalcup. However, as she got used to the job, Stalcup said she learned to control the game and factor out age.

“She handles it well,” Fletcher said. “The coaches and players she refs typically recognize her now. They know who she is and respect her for her job. Age doesn’t matter to her, and she makes up for it in talent.” 

As a referee, Stalcup said her priority is controlling the game to make sure it is safe for coaches, players and fans. An official has to be in shape and knowledgeable about the laws of the game. Stalcup said she has people yelling at her all the time, so the hardest part of the job is controlling those who get out of line.

“We’re always taught to ignore it [when people heckle us],” Stalcup said. “If it becomes personal, then it is inappropriate and you can kick them out. I’ve had to eject both players and coaches. Typically it is just coaches frustrated with their teams and they need to let it out on someone.”

 “The refereeing community is kind of like a family,” Stalcup said. “I love meeting new people and traveling, but I also love working and interacting with the kids and just being around soccer.”

Stalcup will be flown to Philadelphia, Penn. for an awards ceremony in January, where she will discover the outcome of the national competition. Lisa said she is excited Stalcup is in the mix, and believes she will do well.

“I’m so proud of her, whether she wins it all or not,” Lisa said. “She was top four in the country, and that’s pretty good.”