The prep football season is officially less than a month away, and the officials that call those games are looking for backup.
Southwest Washington Football Officials Association head Bob Berg said the organization, which covers middle and high school games for 14 school districts in Lewis, Thurston, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, has experienced a 20 percent decline in its staff over the last five years.
“The future of having enough qualified officials rests in those folks just out of high school or college getting involved in officiating,” Berg said, in a letter to The Chronicle. “Having said that, any individual is welcome to join our group. It helps if the official is in good shape, has a basic understanding of the game (former players usually make great officials), and has the personality/temperament to deal with players and coaches in a sometimes very emotional sport.”
The SWWFOA needs at least 32 officials on any given night, and up to 45 officials on some Friday nights. Last year its officials travelled as far as 150 miles on some nights to work games, and the group covers more than 200 games a year.
The organization, Berg pointed out, has a median age of about 55, and loses on average five officials for every four it recruits.
New officials will need about $150 to cover uniforms and equipment for the first season, and will work between 10 and 20 games, earning between $400 and $600. First-year officials usually work Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the group holds seven meetings through the season on Tuesday nights.
The group will meet for the first time this season on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
For more information, contact Berg at 360-269-6466 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.