I Am the Y: Rich Radocia, Volunteer Referee

Rich Radocia volunteers his time and energy several times a week as a referee for YMCA soccer games. He keeps players safe, provides guidance to players, and of course, makes sure everyone follows the rules of soccer. Here is more about Rich and his desire to help kids in our community learn this international sport.

Q: How long have you been volunteered as a referee at the Y?

A: Since fall 2011, when we moved to Elmwood.

Q: How many games a week do you referee?

A: I average 4-5 games per week, some at the Canton Y and some for the Canton Jr. High team in Galesburg.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: I enjoy the enthusiasm of the children. If you see the look on their faces, the intensity of certain kids as they play, it makes it all worth it. I think of a game as both recreational and instructional. If I see something that needs improvement, I take the opportunity to talk to kids and coaches during the game.

Q: What do you hope kids will gain from playing the game of soccer?

A: Kids age 13 and 14 need physical activity and interaction. I hope that the game of soccer provides a way for 13-14 year old youth to focus their energy in a controlled environment. I also hope that it also teaches them what the rest of the world appreciates about the game.

Q: How did you get started refereeing?

A: I started in 1987, when my two daughters were playing soccer. They needed volunteer coaches, but since I traveled for work, I could not coach. So, I decided to be a referee.

Q: What do you hope to see in the future for soccer in our community?

A: I wish more high schools would have soccer teams. If they combined schools to have a team, it could work. But, it’s not up to me. I also hope we get some rain to grow the grass seed for our new fields!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself outside of being a soccer referee?

A: I am originally from Boston. I have two daughters, one who lives near me in Elmwood with my three grandkids. My other daughter lives in Connecticut, with 3 more grandkids. Before retiring, I was a structural engineer for the construction division of a company that built power plants.