By: Don Dennison, National Clinician and Assessor

The fall soccer season is now behind us and for those who live in states where High School soccer is a spring sport,  it’s time to lose a few pounds and to get in shape.  In either case, consideration should be given to how you can improve your on-field performance and to move your game up a notch.

This summer, beginning on July 5th, the thirty-seventh annual 4-day NISOA referee training camp will convene on the beautiful campus of Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Now is the time to give consideration to attending the camp which is open to all High School, USSF or AYSO officials who have at least three years of game experience.

The E-Town camp has a dual mission; first to advance the skills and performance of referees to tune up their on-field skills for the High School game and to prepare those who so desire to move up to the college officiating ranks, and secondly to advance the skills of current collegiate officials.

The camp is operated in conjunction with a camp for youth soccer players sponsored by the varsity soccer coach of the college. This arrangement provide the referee campers with the opportunity to work actual matches under the NCAA rules both as a referee and AR under the watchful eyes of NISOA National Assessors who provide critical and constructive evaluations of their performance.

The E-Town staff of NISOA National Clinicians provide in-depth classroom instruction and discussion on many advances topics relating to rules interpretation and  match management.  The campers will have the opportunity to review and discuss film clips of actual college matches and critical incidents.  Physical fitness is also stressed and the campers will take the NISOA physical performance test.  For those who so desire, the NISOA entrance examination will also be given to prepare the camper for admission to a NISOA chapter.

Classroom topics include such subjects as the Psychology of Officiating, Gamesmanship, The Women’s Game, and How to Deal With Dissent, Proper Use of the Advantage, and Goalkeepers.

Campers from previous summers frequently write to tell us how valuable their camp experience was, how many new referee friends they have made and how the camp has improved their match performance.

The camp facilities are excellent.  Campers are housed in air-conditioned dormitory suites, two to a room and two rooms to a suite, each suite including a living room, bathroom and shower as well as a full kitchen with refrigerator and micro-wave oven.  The college cafeteria is one of the finest in the country and offers a wide variety of nourishing and tasty courses, salads and desserts.

The four days at E-Town while exhausting provide a great opportunity for the High School referee to meet officials and staff from all parts of the country, exchange war stories and have fun at the same time.

If you have the desire to move up your game to the next level and/or to become a college official, you should consider joining us at E-Town beginning on July 5th.  We have a maximum number of 50 campers and the roster fills rapidly.  For several years we have had to establish a waiting list due to high demand.  Registration will start early in January, so if you have an interest in attending or know someone who might be, watch the NISOA website at and click on NISOA Referee Training Camp for further information and also the possibility in some cases for a full or partial scholarship.