Local man finishes as soccer Official of the Year finalist

Local man finishes as soccer Official of the Year finalist

He’s now staying involved in the game as an official and is picking up some recognition for his work as well.

The former Meade County High School forward was chosen as a 2020-21 Kentucky High School Athletic Association Out­standing Official of the Year finalist for soccer officiating, finishing as the runner-up behind Michael Samaan of Nicholasville.

This comes one year after Terry Linscott, another soccer official from the area and a former North Hardin boys’ soccer assistant coach, was named the 2019-20 KHSAA Outstanding Soccer Official of the Year.

“It’s an honor,” Melchor said. “The past couple of years we’ve had some referees get recognized for the state, so that’s pretty big for us.”

Melchor, a 2015 Meade County graduate, began playing soccer when he was around age 7 or 8, and has been officiating the sport since 2016. In addition to playing for the Green Wave, he also played for the Atletico Flames travel team based in Elizabethtown.

He began officiating while in college as a way to stay connected to the sport.

“I wasn’t playing in college and it was just a way to stay involved with the game at first,” Melchor said. “But it worked out for me pretty well, I guess.”

Melchor added the opportunity to stay connected to soccer through officiating is what he’s enjoyed the most about it over the last few years.

“I love the game obviously,” he said. “I just love being able to stay involved and get it to a higher level within the state.”

In a statement from the KHSAA listing the fall season winners and runner-up finalists, the association said finalists are selected “through a combination of not only on-field/court performance but local association activity and leadership, training efforts and the mentoring of newer officials.”

In addition to his work during games, Melchor has made an effort to mentor new officials and help show them how it’s done.

In terms of what makes a great official, Melchor said a lot of it comes down to knowledge of the game, physical fitness and attention to detail.

“You have to know the rules of the competition of course, your fitness needs to be good and you’ve gotta get the right angles to see what’s going on,” Melchor said. “You’ve gotta study. We take a test to be able to referee, so study those rules of the game.”

With officiating numbers declining for many sports nationwide, Melchor said opportunities to stay involved are one of the reasons to begin officiating in the first place. Other positives he mentioned included schedule flexibility and financial incentive.

“It’s a good way to stay with the game, especially at the high school level. It’s whenever you want to referee. It’s basically pick when you want to referee and when you don’t want to referee,” Melchor said. “The money’s not bad, so that helps, too.”

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