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Adie Hughes paves the way for young referees

07/15/2017, 6:45pm CDT
By Mary Brickner, Media Intern

Hughes has been climbing through the referee rankings and is making her Schwan’s USA CUP debut to learn from international referees and add experience to her already impressive resume.


Adie Hughes makes calls from the sideline of a game in Maine.

There are only two states in Schwan’s USA CUP history that haven’t sent a team to play in the tournament: Rhode Island and Maine. But one referee is paving the way for the state of Maine – in more ways than one.

Adie Hughes is a grade eight referee who has been officiating games for two and a half years. She is certified to referee U19 games, and by the way, she’s also just 15 years old.

All referees start at level nine, with level one being the most prestigious. Referees have to take different courses and officiate a certain number of games in order to move up to different levels.

Hughes has been climbing through the referee rankings and is making her Schwan’s USA CUP debut to learn from international referees and add experience to her already impressive resume.

“On the first day I got to ref with someone from China and Romania, and that was just on the first day,” Hughes said. “It’s really cool to meet all these people from different places and kind of see the different styles.”

Adie plays goalkeeper for Dutch Soccer Academy United in Camden, Maine. Her role in the game as a player is what first got her interested in pursuing a referee career.

“I’m a goalie, so I kind of get to watch the field a lot, and seeing it from a ref’s point of view was something I was interested in,” Hughes said.

Being the youngest out on the field when officiating games doesn’t seem to intimidate her too much, where confidence is key.

“You’ve got to be confident,” she said. “You’re going to hear stuff from parents, you’re going to hear stuff from coaches, but you’ve got to stay with your calls and not be afraid to make them in the first place.”


Adie Hughes, a 15 year old referee from Camden, Maine, is certified to officiate U19 games.

USA CUP boasts a strong contingent of FIFA referees, the highest level of prestige in soccer officiating, and Hughes has enjoyed soaking up the way they call the game. But it may not be much longer until she is among their ranks.

“I’d like to upgrade to a grade 7 in the next couple years and see where that takes me,” she said. “I would like to [pursue a referee career] in the future.”

Hughes has a passion for soccer and likes to be surrounded by the sport as much as she can.

“I kind of decided I wanted to just get more soccer in on the weekends when I’m not playing,” she said. “I get in three, four, five games on the weekends. The more you do it, the more you get used to it and it just gets easier from there.”

So how about checking Maine off the lists of teams yet to make an appearance at USA CUP? Hughes plans on coming back, but who knows to what capacity.

“We gotta get a team from Maine,” she said. “I’d definitely like to come back.”

For the young referees out there looking to get started in the game, Hughes has a few words of encouragement.

“Take the course. They’ll start you on low levels and you’ll really get to see if you like it and then you just keep moving up,” she said. “It’s really fun, so definitely do it.”

Tag(s): July 15, 2017