Got to attend youth regionals this year. Always an honor and always fun. You get some good swag; best thing I got was a nice Adidas jacket. The best part is that you get to officiate and work with some real talented folks. It’s not like a Tourny where some of the people are there just to make a buck. The only reason your there is to work games. Most of the officials don’t even get paid. Their state association pays all their expenses but that’s it. Even the states that do pay are only paying a honorarium. It doesn’t come close to covering the time spent. So your there to work with the “best” officials from your and other states working games with some of the best youth teams from those states. All in all a great experience that is worth the effort.
I was running the line on a match on the first day of group play when I heard a loud cheer go up on a nearby field at the final whistle. This was not a cheer of we just won the game, greater than that. I found out later it was a team from North Dakota that had won. It was their first win at Regionals in 5 years.
You only work 2 or 3 games a day and most of the games are “assessed”. If you mess up you will be told that you messed up and what you need to do to correct your mess. If you don’t correct your mess you will be sent home. This includes your behavior on the field and off. The folks in charge are watching you all the time. There is a bit of a boot camp mentality the whole time your there, which isn’t a bad thing. It seems to help people keep their focus on why we are there. You have to keep in mind that for some people this is their job. For quite a few of the folks that coach at this level this is a full time job. If they don’t win they can lose their job. One guy had 5 or 6 teams in the finals. Only one made it through to nationals. He didn’t lose his job, but the pressure has be over the top.