Training session for prospective female football referees

Referees in training: Sasha Lee and Samantha Sumstine greet Pearl City Junior Chargers coach Guy Paredes before a JPS Oahu game at Aloha Stadium. Photo courtesy of Matt Sumstine.

Matt Sumstine has seen plenty in his years as an on-field football referee, and more as an NFL replay official today.

What he would really like to see is more women in the world if football officiating in Hawaii. Sumstine hopes to see a large turnout when his officiating association teams up with the ‘Iolani Raiders, who will have an intrasquad scrimmage on May 7. He calls the endeavor “Women’s Introduction to Football Officiating.”

“I’m committed to it, so long as people are committed to the craft. We will work on position mechanics, show them some of the footwork and see if they interested in the game,” said Sumstine, the HHSAA coordinator of football officials. “Then we will see if we can take them to the next step.”

Interested prospective officials can contact Sumstine at 808-927-8665.

The plan was approved by school administrators on Monday. Interested participants must notify Sumstine before the training session and abide by the school’s safety and protocols requirements.

“I think it’s a good idea,” ‘Iolani football coach, co-athletic director and ILH football coordinator Wendell Look said.

Working with JPS Oahu, the youth league, will be a key part in developing new officials, Sumstine said.

“What I’m focused on now — with a steady stream of men coming in — I want to target the missing element, which is women,” he said. “I need to find them.”


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