Adal has been with Creative Memories for 14 years, doing fantastic things like developing product and program marketing pieces to help Creative Memories’ Spanish-speaking Consultants and customers. He was pretty excited about being selected to officiate such an important game and I was pretty excited to hear about it. Thought some of you might be too!
Greg: Tell me a little about your soccer experience as a player.
Adal: Being born in Costa Rica, I was exposed to soccer from the moment I was born. From the most basic playground pick-up games to elementary school teams, to neighborhood teenage games and high school varsity teams and a bit of college exposure too, my relationship with soccer has been almost as close as my relationship with drinking water!
My Dad, uncles, brother, cousins and closest friends all played soccer. So it was only natural that I would play. My Dad was famous in his time. They used to call him “Murallita” (Little Wall) as a defender. I admired him so much it made me also want to play defense. Here in the United States, I had a great chance to join an adult team, where I played defense for about eight years. I eventually had to stop playing due to a back injury.
Greg: How did you get started as a ref?
Adal: After I hurt my back, I HAD to find another way to stay connected to “the beautiful game.” So officiating at the high school level was a neat way to get back in the game and also to maybe positively influence the next generation of players. I started officiating junior varsity games. For those, you don’t need to be certified by the Minnesota State High School League. I had been doing that for about six years when I had a conversation with Lee Morgan. At the time, Lee was the CEO of The Antioch Company – Creative Memories’ parent company. Lee was a seasoned official and told me about the huge advantages and opportunities of officiating at the varsity level. After hearing that, I didn’t even have to think twice. I was officiating varsity games the next season.
Greg: What’s the most important lesson you think you can teach the kids in those games?
Adal: My message as an official has been, and will continue to be, work hard to achieve your goals, respect your opponent and have fun in the process. There’s a huge opportunity for me, as an official, to have a positive influence on these kids. In the game, just as in life, you have to follow rules, play fair and work as a team while giving it your personal best. I also think that as an official, by controlling the game and keeping tempers on an even keel, I can help kids see that there’s nothing wrong with losing sometimes if you’ve given it your best. These days, society seems to be extra concerned with a “winning only” attitude. And that really deprives young adults of the chance to learn how to deal with defeat or failure.
Greg: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from them and from the experience?
Adal: From almost every player I’ve learned that no matter how young or old you are, the spirit of competition and team effort can help you achieve your goals. When things don’t turn out the way you expect them to, adjustments and action can redirect your life and get you back on track to succeed. And, if all else fails, just keep kicking with a positive attitude, while you have the most fun of all!
Personally, experience has shown that you have to stay in shape, you have to prepare mentally and you have to keep your focus. The excitement and passion a game throws at you is to be enjoyed. You have to be proactive and anticipate sudden changes of direction in order to keep control and, by all means, communication is a must. Communicate with your officiating team, with the players, coaches…and even sometimes with the fans. When everyone’s aware of what’s going on and what the goals are, it definitely becomes more fun and successful!
Adal’s a guy who’s got a lot of things figured out. Those girls from Orono and Rogers were lucky to have him. And so are we!