Morales, age 18, has been a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) certified referee since he was 15. Through hard work, discipline and determination he has worked his way up the ranks to a Grade 6, which is classified as a State Referee. Morales is now officiating soccer matches at many levels including the community college level, USA national teams, the Development Academy and has had a taste of Major League Preseason Soccer.
Morales began playing soccer with AYSO and later with Santa Barbara Soccer Club as keeper for the U13 and U14 bronze teams. Morales wanted to have soccer be a larger part of his life and signed up for referee certification classes; soon afterwards he began refereeing club youth and adult soccer league games. Though he was only 15 at the time, his above average height of 6’ 1” and older appearance gave him confidence while officiating adult league games with teams consisting mostly of players in their twenties and thirties.
In the past few weeks Morales was selected as an assistant referee at a preseason game at the Home Depot Center featuring Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA and USL professional division team, L.A. Blues. He traveled to Washington D.C. this past weekend to officiate at the Annandale Premier Cup. Two days later he was invited to officiate at the Far West Regionals in Hawaii in June.
When asked about his recent trip to the capital he said, “I had never officiated games in extreme cold with snow on the ground, it was fun, but a challenge. “ Morales was referring to the numerous road blocks, traffic restrictions and long walks to get to the various fields. “It was also difficult since several scheduled referees did not work the tournament because of cancelled flights due to the snow storms.” As a result many of the referees, Morales included, had to officiate 8 games per day instead of the scheduled 4 or 5. “I was extremely tired at the end of the day and we didn’t get back to the hotel until almost midnight but I’m glad I did it.”
Morales continues to build on his knowledge of the game he loves and seeks out higher level competitions in his quest to becoming a Grade 1 FIFA level referee ( Federation International Football Association) while simultaneously working part-time with the Santa Barbara School District while completing his high school studies. He will graduate from San Marcos in June and plans to continue his studies at Santa Barbara City College.