PLAYER SPOTLIGHT- Deniz Muhittinoglu
At the age of 12, Deniz Muhittinoglu (Surf B05) has already served as a referee in over 125 youth soccer matches. This year, Deniz was the youngest referee working at the Washington Youth Soccer (WYS) State Cup, including semifinal and final matches.
Deniz officially became a referee in October 2016, after he and his father successfully passed their USSF-Grade 8 clinic together. Since then, Deniz has been reffing WYS matches and local tournaments. Deniz’s favorite summer tournament is Snohomish Bigfoot Tournament “because they set up tents and you can sit in a chair and watch the games going on outside.”
Deniz believes that his experience as an official has improved his soccer playing. Not only does the experience give him new respect for the game and the refs, but he has also improved as a result of all the extra field time and exercise. The games get more physically demanding for the refs with older age groups, he said. “You have to stay one step ahead of them or you can’t see much.”
Ultimately, Deniz wants to become a professional Grade 1 referee for FIFA. “My minimum goal is to at least go to Regionals in my teen years. This year it’s in Hawaii, but it switches locations. You get to see the different levels of play between the states and be with a great referee crew,” he said.
“Every time I go to a Sounders game, I watch the refs and how they do their stuff,” he added. Deniz is most impressed by the ability of professional refs to tune out 40,000+ screaming fans and how they have “perfected the art of not caring.”
His advice to others interested in becoming refs: “Don’t really pay attention to parents. They most likely don’t know as much as you.”
For more information about upcoming referee certification courses, visit WA Referee Committee website.
For general questions about referee needs in our area, contact Larry Metz- firstname.lastname@example.org.