For the last six years, Redmond’s Jordan Price has donned a referee’s uniform more than 1,000 times while helping his fellow officials run the show during youth, high school and college soccer matches around the country.
The 20-year-old Western Washington University junior has a vast knowledge of and appreciation for the sport and last month was chosen to participate in the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, Kansas.
From his center-ref spot on the field or running/managing the sidelines, Price enjoys watching players control and deftly move the ball up and down the pitch.
His favorite part is witnessing “the way that teams play together. I’ve seen a lot of teams that have just really good chemistry together and all of their players know each other and you can tell that they get along really well,” said Price, adding that solid passing was at a premium at nationals.
Reffing can be a tough life when coaches, parents and players disagree with the officials’ calls.
Price — a 2017 Redmond High graduate who majors in financial economics at WWU — said that US Youth Soccer and Washington Youth Soccer have worked to better educate teams and coaches so there’s less verbal abuse or dissent aimed at the referees. Price added that screaming won’t help when a referee makes a questionable call.
“Now I have a lot of experience under my belt and I feel pretty comfortable in most of the youth games that I do. Unless I make a big mistake, I won’t really get yelled at. I’ve learned a lot of different ways of dealing with coaches yelling at me. I know how to handle it if it does happen,” said Price, noting that first, referees will ask coaches to keep their voices down and treat the game with respect; if that doesn’t work, they’ll tell coaches that same message; and finally, coaches will be sent off the pitch if they don’t halt their verbal barrage.
Price — who gets paid per match with varying fees — said that when players challenge a call, he’ll discuss his angle of seeing the play with them and admits if he makes a mistake.
Price issued his first two red cards in the same game at regionals in Hawaii last year. Both were on double yellow cards, and one red was the result of a player first making a dangerous slide tackle, and then running forward from the wall, jumping and getting hit by the ball on the subsequent free kick.
The Redmond ref flashed his first straight red card at the recent nationals when a player flew late into a header with an elbow raised toward his opponent. Price reffed seven matches at nationals — two each day of group play and one semifinal — for boys and girls ages U13-U19.
While at Redmond High, Price played varsity soccer his senior year and junior varsity as a junior and sophomore. Beginning at age 10 and rolling through age 18, he joined his best friends on the Redmond Rebels recreational squad.
Nowadays, Price stays in shape while participating in 6-versus-6 intramural soccer games at WWU and remains immersed in the sport, which has become his lifelong passion since he watched 2014 World Cup matches on television.
“I like that it’s the most popular sport in the world. And that so many people (with) different backgrounds play the same sport — it brings people together,” he said.