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Featured Student/Referee: Joseph D’Angelo

Luke Bernstein, Staff Writer

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This week’s featured student is Oratory Prep’s very own, Joseph D’Angelo. Joey is OP’s mock trial standout, expert student, and aspiring soccer referee extraordinaire.  For this interview, D’Angelo focused on that what, how, and why of his refereeing career.

Joey explains that he first became interested in refereeing when he was thirteen years old and “received a yellow card during a game where the referee was such a jerk! After I got that card, I wanted to be different from all the other guys that worked. I wanted to teach the rules while enforcing them, and that’s a goal I still live by when I work today.” D’Angelo also says that he refs with that same official today who gave him the yellow card and admits that it is tense, but he feels that it is good to work with those whom you disagree with as they will never sugarcoat anything. During his four year career, Joey has worked many excellent games, but has two games which are his favorites.  They are “a U19 girls game as a referee for the New Jersey Cup semi-final round, and my second favorite game was the U16 girls as referee for the National Championship Series. Both were extremely difficult, but were thrillers!”

However, D’Angelo’ did not automatically start out his career by referring exciting games; he has made a progression during his four-year career. Currently, he is “a Grade 8 Referee which allows me to work matches at the competitive youth level, mainly games that are U14 and higher.” Most of these games are “for the US Soccer Development Academy.” Besides this, D’Angelo says that he has done games as high level as U23 during the summer. This winter he “plans to upgrade to a Grade 7 which will allow [him] to work games at the adult level.” To achieve this status, Joey says that “practice does make perfect. After countless hours of video reviews, assessments and games, you do eventually get better.” His advice for younger referees is to “work a game and have your assistant referees tell you three things to work on. Those three things should be worked on for an entire season. That’s truly how you get better.”

For the future, D’Angelo’s dream is to “work in either the MLS or in a World Cup competition,” and he “plans to get there by repetition. I want to continue to analyze film and receive assessments on my games, all while keeping my first goal in mind: to teach the rules while keeping the game safe, fair and fun.”  As he proceeds into college, Joey plans on continuing his refereeing career and hopes to ref games at the high school and college level. He hopes that it will be a similar experience to now as he balances reffing, school, and mock trial, saying “It is and will continue to be a challenge, but I look forward to it.”

For people considering becoming soccer referees, D’Angelo leaves them with his final thoughts. He says, “I think people should really consider the job because pretty soon, no one will want to referee because parents constantly scream at the referees. It happens in my games too.” In regards to those parents, Joey says,  “They’re ruining the games honestly. It’s not just soccer, it’s all sports.” He then recommends that those parents,  “don’t yell at the referees because pretty soon, there will not be any to yell at! Also, everyone should know that despite bad calls, most of us try our best to make the right calls at the right time. We’re human. Mistakes will always be made.”

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