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2016 Young Referee of the Year Regional Award Winners Announced


US Youth Soccer honors regional Male and Female Young Referees of the Year
National winners to be named at US Youth Soccer Awards Gala 

Twitter: @USYouthSoccer, live announcement of national winner

FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 15, 2016) — US Youth Soccer is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2016 US Youth Soccer Male and Female Young Referee of the Year awards. The Young Referee of the Year Award honors those who have a strong work ethic, have knowledge of the rules of the game and are positive role models.

The national Young Referee of the Year winners will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Friday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop in Los Angeles, held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention.

Brief bios of the regional winners are below based on the submitted nomination forms.

Young Male Referee of the Year regional award winners:

Region I – Max Hartman – South Park, Penn. 
As a Grade 8 Referee, Max Hartman shows maturity, professionalism and a strong work ethic. Hartman received an invitation to the US Youth Soccer National Championships and was selected as an assistant referee for Under-18 Boys National Championships Final. In addition, Hartman has a willingness to give back and share what he has learned. He takes time to mentor referees who are younger than him, and he instills the confidence in them to perform to the best of their abilities. 

Region II – Philip Meersman – Delavan, Wisc. 
“Curiosity” and “humility” are a couple words that were used to describe Philip Meersman by one of his mentors. Meersman has expanded his refereeing knowledge by working in the Wisconsin State Championships, US Youth Soccer Region II ODP Camp and the Midwest Regional League. Meersman, succeeds off the pitch, as well. He was invited to participate in Stanford University’s High School Summer program, where he earned eight college credits prior to his senior year of high school. 
Region III – Jaelin. E. Rainey – Newnan, Ga. 
Jaelin E. Rainey became interested in refereeing when he was 9, and by the time he was 13, he had already attended his first referee academy. Since then, Rainey has refereed in the US Youth Soccer Regional Championships, three times at the US Youth Soccer Regional Presidents Cups, the Disney Showcase and the Georgia State Cup. At Northgate High School, Rainey is the Senior Class President, and he is involved in Beta Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Spanish National Honor Society and the Student Government Association. One of the most important skills that Rainey has learned is the ability to interpret body language both on and off the field. Furthermore, Rainey enlisted last June as a UAV Operator in the United States Army.
Region IV – Samuel Rozinski – Chandler, Ariz.  
Known by his peers for his knowledge and enthusiasm for the game of soccer, Samuel Rozinski is always willing to challenge himself and dig deeper into refereeing. On his 17th birthday, Rozinski became a Grade 7 Referee. Rozinski has worked in some significant games, including a girls State Cup Final and the Under-15 Girls Presidents Cup Final. Off the field, Rozinski is in the National Honor Society and he also received the AP Scholar Award. To give back to his local community, Rozinski coaches a recreational soccer team. 

Young Female Referee of the Year regional award winners:

Region I – Katherine Highsmith – Springfield, Va. 
Always committed to improving her performance, Katherine Highsmith has developed as a referee in many different ways. Communicating effectively is key to being a good referee, something Highsmith has learned throughout the years. During her breaks at tournaments, she often tries to speak with mentors that are there and find ways to improve upon her already preexisting skills. Highsmith has refereed six NVSL matches and eight US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional League matches.

Region II – Jackie Spiegel – Ada, Mich. 
A leader and a creative teacher in her community, Jackie Spiegel reaches out very well to young players. Through soccer, and more specifically refereeing, Spiegel has become more outspoken and confident both in the game and outside of it. To better her knowledge, Spiegel has attended refereeing clinics and watched countless videos on Outside of refereeing, Spiegel is a member of the National Honor Society and she is a Youth Action Board Member.

Region III – Laurel Theriot – San Antonio, Texas
A Grade 7 Referee, Laurel Theriot’s ultimate goal is to be a FIFA international referee. US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup and State Cup finals are a couple of tournaments Theriot has officiated. Moreover, Theriot has 14 years of experience playing soccer, which has substantially helped her refereeing. She is currently a student at Texas A&M after finishing her high school career ranked in the top 10 percent in her class.  

Region IV – Suhani Abdullah – Berkeley, Calif. 
As a Grade 7 Referee, Suhani Abdullah has learned punctuality, commitment and how to produce high-quality work that is necessary in all settings. Abdullah was also named the 2015 State Female Youth Referee of the Year. She has always loved working with young people and she enjoys giving back to the local community in any way she can. As for community involvement, Abdullah organized a charity soccer tournament that raised over $3,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charity. 
The US Youth Soccer Workshop will take place in Los Angeles from Jan. 11-15, 2017. The annual Workshop will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention. The week is designed to further the education of coaches, administrators, referees and enthusiasts involved in the game. For more information please visit


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