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Women’s Soccer Coach Moonlights As Referee

Women’s Soccer Coach Matt Haney photo via Toron James.

Many might know Matt Haney as an elite head coach for the Bloomsburg Women’s Soccer team. Haney is in his 9th season leading the Huskies, which he has guided to two PSAC titles in the past four seasons, most recently in 2021.  But did you know Haney also serves as a PIAA high school referee in the offseason? 

As his Huskies soccer season ends, he gets right into refereeing PIAA winter sports. 

“I’ve  been a referee longer than I’ve been a college coach. I have been refereeing basketball and soccer for 28 years,” said Haney. 

As a college coach with a lot on his plate, why would Haney still want to referee games? 

“I just enjoy giving back to the game. I don’t coach basketball, but I referee it so it lets me stay in it. Basketball was a sport I love playing growing up,” said Haney.  

As much as he loves refereeing there is a problem going on for PIAA referees that he wants to address. The PIAA is facing a shortage of referees nationally. The group of referees have gotten older and as they retire, the PIAA hasn’t been able to replace them at a fast enough pace. 

“ There’s an issue of how we are bringing young officials up; they are thrown into places where they might not be quite ready for,” said Haney. “We need to structure a mentoring program a little bit more and that could help with that,” Haney added.  

The shortage puts a lot of pressure on Haney and his colleagues. 

“We end up having to work almost every day of the week. It puts a load on the people that are doing it,” said Haney. 

If you are interested in becoming a PIAA referee, they offer junior programs and a simple way to get started. Go to PIAA.org  and click on “Become An Official.”  It offers a test online, after which applicants can  join a chapter, which will help match new referees with  games to officiate. For more information, go to https://www.piaa.org/officials/become/default.aspx

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Toron James, Sports Editor

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