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Washington Youth Soccer is proud to announce Ben Oakley, a professional, collegiate and youth referee in Washington, as its new Referee Program Director. As Referee Program Director, Oakley will oversee all of Washington Youth Soccer’s officiating programs and referee development. Oakley will continue to improve refereeing standards statewide through courses, seminars, up-to-date training programs and materials, and other initiatives designed to prepare both male and female referees at all levels of Washington Youth Soccer.
Born and raised in Colorado, Oakley began playing soccer at a very young age, and eventually discovered his talent for goalkeeping. Oakley moved to Spokane where he was the goalkeeper for
Whitworth University for the 2001 season, helping the Pirates win the first Conference Championship since 1993. Oakley played with the former Spokane Shadow Men's PDL team in the summer of 2002, starting in goal for the majority of the season. Beginning the 2002 season, Oakley transferred to the University of Washington on a soccer scholarship to play for the Huskies and helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA tournament in 2003 and 2004, including a trip to the Sweet-Sixteen.
Since his University days, Oakley has accumulated 8 years of refereeing experience and has quickly risen as a top referee. On the youth soccer level, Oakley has been selected as a referee for the US Youth Soccer Region IV (Far West) Regional Championships and for several years, attended the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy Playoffs and Showcase. Oakley currently referees regularly in the Developmental Academy, NCAA Divisions 1, 2, and 3, and has refereed in the PDL, former MLS Reserves, and now USL Pro.
"Ben is the right person to lead our referee program. He is a great leader with a ton of soccer credibility and high level professional experience,” supports Will Niccolls, former Washington Youth Soccer Referee Program Director. “All of us in the Washington referee community are excited to see where we will go with Ben at the helm."
Washington Youth Soccer is very excited to bring Oakley onboard and continue to improve referee development throughout the state, and would like to thank Will Niccolls for his contributions to referee development.
“Washington Youth Soccer has been incredibly fortunate to have Will Niccolls as the Referee Program Director for the past four years,” exclaimed Washington Youth Soccer CEO Terry Fisher. “His intellect, enthusiasm and leadership will be difficult to replace, but we believe Ben can be that person. We wish Will the best in the future and always will consider him a valuable member of Washington Youth Soccer.”