Cambridge Students Work as Youth Soccer Refs


Vera Targoff

Pictured: Graham Quigley

Nathan Kolodney, Contributing Writer

Cambridge Youth Soccer (CYS) is an independent charitable organization designed to give children in Cambridge from 3rd-8th grade access to the game of soccer. The mission of the program is to get young people active in a healthy and competitive environment. This program, which has been running for decades in Cambridge, is a great way for children to get exercise during both the fall and spring seasons. It is also a way for them to meet others their age and make new friends. However, it is not just children who are involved in this program; high schoolers can both referee and coach CYS teams.  

This opportunity is an excellent way to give back to the community. It is especially appealing to those who participated in CYS themselves when they were younger. Refereeing and coaching both instill leadership and help high schoolers learn how to interact with younger kids in a productive and positive way.

Vera Targoff
Pictured: Adam Dincher

The CYS program allows different generations of soccer lovers to connect with each other, giving children the ability to learn and older kids the ability to teach. Junior Adam Dincher, who is a CYS referee, explains, “My experience as a ref has been great so far. It’s something that gets me up in the morning on the weekends. Reffing in the same program that I played in when I was seven or eight really brings me back.” Working for CYS is an experience that several high schoolers partake in, and for some it may feel less like a job and more like a fun thing to do on the weekends.

Though it is much more of a time commitment than simply being a referee, some students have even begun to coach CYS teams. When reflecting on his coaching experience, 10th grader Oscar Mendoza stated, “There are ups and downs [and] you have to be patient at times. Overall, [it’s] a very enjoyable experience.”

Nick Herbold, a coach for team Germany in the middle school league, commented on the dynamic between the referees and the players in the league he coaches.

“It’s nice that we have consistent refs in this league,” Herbold said. “We get to see folks like Graham [Quigley ‘21] on a weekly basis, and they know our players and do a great job with the players on the field.” Herbold said that the consistency of the referees allows the coaches and referees to have a very straightforward and easy relationship. He also said that the familiarity of the local referees can spur interest in the players.

“We’ve had players that have asked us—because they recognize that [the referees] are high schoolers and just a couple years older [than the players]—‘How do I do that?’” Herbold stated, continuing, “It’s awesome. We definitely think that’s a great part of the program.”

If you are a high schooler looking to get involved with Cambridge Youth Soccer, the process is very straightforward. Go to the CYS website, then go to the referee or coaching sections of the page. There, you will find the contact information for the in-town as well as the Boston Area Youth Soccer coordinators. Getting involved in CYS is a unique experience whether you are looking to earn some spending money, or you just want to further your connection with the sport of soccer.