By TAYLOR GRAFFT
Liberty Hill High School soccer programs are continuing efforts to find adult-certified referees that might be able to assist Coaches Darren Bauer and Kelsey Quinn this season.
The soccer program does not have a budget in its inaugural season to pay referees to officiate the teams’ scrimmages, but they are still open to the idea of having qualified volunteers help with scrimmages. Currently, Coach Quinn and Coach Bauer are refereeing each other’s scrimmages.
Usually in soccer the match includes a head referee that runs with play in the middle of the field, an assistant, and two linesmen to keep track of the offsides rule and throw-ins.
Because the team’s matches are not official, the program is not required to pay referees and doesn’t have the budget to anyway, coaches say. This is making it tough on the coaches to find willing volunteers to referee.
The Liberty Hill Youth Soccer Association and a few parents have made an effort to work with the newly-formed school soccer program to help them find certified referees to help, but so far they haven’t found anyone in the area.
“We’re volunteering to referee each other’s games so we can play our games at Liberty Hill,” said Coach Quinn. “Originally, we weren’t going to be able to have any games at all this year. So Coach Bauer and I agreed with each other to referee each other’s games so we could play here. It’s still fun because I get to see his games and his team play and he gets to see my team play.
“Some parents were offering to help us out and some other teams on our schedule have offered to help pay for referees, but honestly we didn’t really need paid referees,” Coach Quinn said. “If someone wants to volunteer to referee, that’s not a problem. But in terms of having someone pay for them or having a third party pay for them, it’s not something we can really do right now.
“We have had one Liberty Hill coach show interest in volunteering to referee a few scrimmages,” she added. “He played soccer in college and could step in and help referee a few weeks from now, so we’ll see.”
In addition to the continued search for referees, the teams continue to make efforts to improve on the pitch.
The Lady Panthers soccer team is coming off a four-game tournament in Marble Falls. The girls showed very well at the tournament and put up a few nice results.
In their first game at the tournament, the Lady Panthers had their first win of the season, a 5-0 rout of Marble Falls Junior Varsity. In the second game, they lost 2-0 to Leander. and in the third game, they tied 5A McCallum 1-1. In the fourth game, they lost 2-1 to Salado.
“It was nice to get a win under our belt. We played well and every game we were progressing in the right direction,” Coach Quinn said. “We actually tied McCallum 1-1 and they ended up winning the whole tournament. So it just shows that we can hang with any of the teams that were at that tournament.
“A lot of our goals at the tournament came from our midfield getting really good long-range shots,” she said. “So right now we’re still working on shooting and getting our shot to shot on goal ratio to improve. The other thing we need to work on is our first and second touches. We work so hard to win the ball, but then give it right back because of a bad first or second touch.”
The Runnin’ Panthers lost to Vista Ridge Junior Varsity 2-1 on Tuesday. The boys then lost to the Vista Ridge varsity team 5-1 following the junior varsity game. In the scrimmage against Vista Ridge varsity, the Panthers were actually leading 1-0 after six minutes, but couldn’t keep up with the pace of Vista Ridge in the second half.
“(Despite the losses), we played really well,” said Coach Bauer. “The team has been showing improvement and we are continuing to take steps in the right direction. As long as we keep taking those steps, we will be on track for the first season next year.”