Not only does the Schwan’s USA CUP attract teams from all over the world, referees are needed from around the globe to make the more than 1,100 soccer team tournament happen.
Adie Hughes is one of the many people with interesting stories to travel to the National Sports Center in Blaine. She is a 15-year-old referee from Maine who is certified to ref up to U18/19 games.
Hughes hopes to continue building her officiating resume.
“I really like to play soccer and watch soccer every day,” she said. “So just getting more involved in soccer and more opportunities within it is something I’m interested in.”
Hughes said she finds no intimidation refereeing players older than her. And when she’s playing as a goalie, she finds herself thinking like a ref sometimes.
“I love arguing with the refs,” Hughes said. “Just like weird stuff, like obstruction or a dangerous play that I see and I’m thinking about it as a goalie how I’d call it as a ref. I think it’s kind of fun.”
Hughes found out about the USA CUP online. She talked with Eric Besse, the referee coordinator, and plans worked out for her to experience the largest youth soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere.
Two flights from Maine later, and Hughes was in Minnesota for the first time.
“It’s really awesome,” Hughes said. “I get to see players and refs from all around the world. I’ve met a lot of really cool people so far.”
Different courses are required to become certified at the different referee spots. In Maine, Hughes refs everything from U12 to U19.
Her goal is to referee at the college level.