Friday, September 18, 2020

Soccer official Robert Wassick enjoys staying involved with a game he loves

By Matt Pascarella

Official Robert Wassick has been officiating soccer for roughly 17 years. He coached his kids in travel recreational soccer leagues, but once his kids left the leagues, he still wanted to remain connected to the sport.

Wassick who is honored as this week’s “Official of the Week,” says for him it’s a great way to stay in shape and he really enjoys watching a good game that is played fairly, where everyone plays hard, but clean.

Robert Wassick of Windham is being
honored as this week's 'Official of the
Week' by The Windham Eagle. He has
been officiating soccer games for 17
years and currently officiates games
at the prep varsity level but is certified
to officiate games from the rec level
through middle school up to varsity. 
He said that he became an official to stay involved with soccer after he stopped coaching. He became an official through the Western Maine Board of Approved Soccer Officials (WMBASO). Their website describes the organization as a group that provides officials for high school and junior high soccer games in Southern Maine. WMBASO has a training program for new officials that runs every year.

Wassick does more Windham games now that his kids aren’t in the schools. He does officiate mostly varsity, but depending on where he is needed, he can officiate games from middle school on up.

“I really love the game and it keeps me involved at a level where I can still help the players learn the rules of the game a little better which makes them better players. It also keeps me active from a physical standpoint. I can't just go for a run as it bores me; but doing a varsity game, I get plenty of running in without thinking about it, maybe three to four miles ... depending on the quality of the teams,” he said.

Since he’s been an official for a little while, he’s been able to tune out any criticism that might happen during a game. Sometimes, complaints are going to come in no matter what.

Wassick enjoys watching the competition and watching the kids play a solid game.

“Besides being involved in a good competitive game which I don't have to pay to watch and get paid to
do,” he said. “I enjoy the physical activity I get from doing games and also to see quality players who at times I have seen (play) since middle school days.” 

With the start of the season on the horizon, Wassick is not overly concerned about COVID-19. For the athletes, as long as they limit the amount of high fives, don’t share drinks, keep their mouthpieces in as much as possible and keep their distance from other players when not in the game they should be okay.

He said it will affect him based on the amount of games played as the season is going to be at least four games shorter at the varsity level. “Monitor (athlete’s) temperatures daily, (wear) a face covering as much as possible, coaches especially, only one person per seat on the bus and to be aware of what can happen to their family members (who are at) high risk.”

Wassick has been married for 33-plus years and has four children. He is a graduate of the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science in Wood Science.

He is a Safety and Training Administrator for Portland Public Works after retiring from the Portland Fire Department as Deputy Chief, a job he performed for 31 years. Aside from officiating, he enjoys mountain biking in Maine’s many wooded areas. <

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