February 23, 2024

Close to 1,000 soccer referees from around Southern California have launched a boycott against working Southern Section boys’ and girls’ soccer games in a dispute over compensation. The season begins for high school teams on Nov. 13.

The action is “to bring representatives of the Southern Section to the table to discuss adjustments to the fee schedule mandated by the Southern Section,” according to a news release from the Southern California Soccer Officials Assn.

Not all units are participating in the boycott.

Officials received a pay raise from the City Section last year and will be working City Section games, getting paid $88 each for two-person crews. The Southern Section is paying $75 to each crew member in a three-year contract that went into effect last year.

Southern Section commissioner Mike West has told schools not to deviate from mandated pay structure and to find alternative officials, such as college students or assistant coaches.

Games in Los Angeles County are likely to be most affected.

“We requested discussions with CIF about the fees in November of last year and again in January, March and May of this year; each time, our requests were met with silence,” said Nico Esquivel, president of Unit I of the Southern California Soccer Officials Assn. in the news release.

Schools have begun to seek other officials. Harvard-Westlake coach Mike Erush, who also is head coach at Cal State Los Angeles, said he hopes to recruit students from CSLA and UCLA to work games.

The Foothill League has informed parents they will seek officials from local colleges.

Others will consider switching nonleague games against City Section schools to the opponents’ site.

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