Everyday Ballers - FIFA Referee Edition
Name: Nick U.
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Role: FIFA and MLS Referee
Why did you become a Referee?
Soccer is a passion of mine - I played for 20+ years and always had a goal to be involved with the sport in any capacity. When I was just 11 years old, my dad used to officiate our local Sunday amateur league. He would always invite me to watch, but instead of just watching, I ended up grabbing a tree branch to use as my flag and start to mirror his movement and mechanics. After a few matches, I started getting used to every step and eventually felt natural. Every now and then, an Assistant Referee wouldn’t show up, and I could step in and finally have my chance! I was a very excited 11 year old. Eventually, years later after my playing career started to slow down, I attended my local Youth State Cup tournament and really fell in love with the idea that refereeing isn’t just for fun – it can be taken seriously. From there, I started to attend Youth Regionals and Development Academy events, and progressively moved up every year to my first D2 match in 2013.
(Nick pictured first from the left)
Best part about being a referee?
One of the best things that comes to mind without a doubt is the brief moment of walking onto the pitch for the walk-out. That is the first moment you can take a deep breath, look around the stadium, listen to the chants and fully experience the atmosphere. Also, it is the last few seconds of putting in work for the next 90+ minutes. The feeling is indescribable.
Most memorable match you refereed?
I've been very fortunate and blessed to be a part of many memorable matches - from stadium openers, record-breaking capacity, national TV and first games for new clubs so I cannot just list one.
Why UNOZERO cleats?
There are three areas of focus for cleats for an official; stability, comfort and traction. UNOZERO provides all three but more importantly, quality. Since I've worn UNOZERO, I feel the impact on each game.
Upcoming Match: Mexico vs Honduras June 12
Custom FIFA Referee UNOZERO boots