Randy Vogt is a native New Yorker who, outside of his marketing career, has become a decorated soccer referee, officiating high profile games with thousands of fans in the stands to six-year-old’s soccer games with passionate parents on the sidelines.
By the time the calendar turns to September, Randy Vogt will have refereed his 10,000th soccer game.
If you asked 15-year-old Randy in 1977 what he thought about refereeing 10,000 soccer games, he would have said “why would anyone want to become a referee? They’re the ones who get yelled and booed at.”
In fact, that is what the teenager said to his former soccer coach when he was offered a job as a referee at his local soccer club.
A year later, Randy became a volunteer soccer coach for a summer league. As the league did not have any referees, the coaches officiated a half per game. It was then that Randy realized that he was much better at refereeing than coaching, and he enjoyed it.
From that summer on, the spark was lit within Randy and refereeing became his passion. He kept a log of each game, noting the date, location, score, teams, and divisions.
His first major milestone that made him stop and reflect on refereeing came while he was a college student at Parsons School of Design when he recorded his 1,000th game.
While he was amazed to see how many games he officiated, he knew his refereeing career was not about the number of games he worked, but rather his passion and commitment to growing the game.
“As a referee, you get to serve as an educator,” said Randy. “You learn how to turn negative situations on the field into moments of teaching and learning that’ll hopefully have a greater impact outside of the game.”
Knowing the impact that soccer had in his life, Randy connected with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to help grow the game of soccer and its impact. “The work of the Foundation helps bring soccer to the inner cities around the country through playing soccer and by helping to build fields,” said Randy. “Not only is the sport a great form of exercise, but it also keeps the kids safe by providing them with after-school programming.”
While he is approaching his next major milestone, Randy doesn’t see his officiating career slowing down. “As long as I am having fun and enjoying the game, I will continue to referee,” said Randy.
With only 50 games to go until his 10,000th game, Randy launched a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to support the U.S. Soccer Foundation in helping young people embrace an active and healthy lifestyle, using soccer to cultivate critical life skills that pave the path to a better future.