A Rising Star in the Referee World
After being selected as the District IV Young Female Referee of the Year, the Cal North Young Female Referee of the year and the US Youth Soccer Region IV Young Female Referee of the Year, Suhani Abdullah is a rising star in the referee world. On Friday, January 13, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop and NSCAA Convention in Los Angeles, the national Young Referee of the Year winners will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala. Cal North congratulates Suhani, who is included among the four finalists for this prestigious award. The Young Referee of the Year Award honors those who have a strong work ethic, have knowledge of the rules of the game and are positive role models and Suhani epitomizes these standards.
Youth sports have long been an integral part of Suhani’s life and she credits the teamwork and cooperation learned through her participation in sports as an important element in her personal development. Learning that girls could do anything boys could do and that she should not be held back simply because she is a girl was a lesson that has served her well.
Her life changed forever when she discovered soccer in 5th grade and for the next 10 years, she dedicated herself to the sport and loved every second of it. She made some of her best friends, had the opportunity to travel, and created some of the best memories of her childhood.
When she was 14 years old Suhani started refereeing to supplement her playing career. She spent most weekends at the local soccer fields, using the referee tent as her “base of operations” where she could change from team uniform to referee uniform and back throughout the day. She continues to push herself to be a better referee as she pursues more challenging games. Suhani participates in CNRA’s Tier 1 Referee Academy and has worked toward participating in tournaments, including US Youth Soccer Regional and National events.
As a Grade 7 Referee, Suhani Abdullah has learned punctuality, commitment and how to produce high-quality work that is necessary in all settings. Abdullah was also named the 2015 State Female Youth Referee of the Year. She has always loved working with young people and she enjoys giving back to the local community in any way she can.
Although during her junior year of high school she made the decision to take a break from competitive soccer to concentrate on pursuing collegiate opportunities through her academic success, the values learned in soccer soccer, especially in her role as a goalkeeper, stayed with her. She continued her involvement in soccer through her role as a referee.
As a student at UC Berkeley, Suhani organized a charity soccer tournament for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, where over $3,000 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House Charity. She has recently become involved with West Coast Soccer Association as an administrative assistant and will be writing monthly newsletters, helping out at off-location tournaments, and aiding the assigning process.
As a result of refereeing at some of the statewide and out-of-state tournaments, Suhani has met some of her best friends and established a network of connections that she would never have had outside of soccer. She recognizes the importance of the existing educational programs and the support system within the referee community. Having been groomed by mentors and now mentoring younger referees is her way of paying it forward.
In her pursuits outside of soccer, Suhani recently spent a summer in her parent’s birthplace, Dhaka, Bangladesh, to immerse herself in the culture and connect with her heritage. She is pursuing degrees in Business Administration and Economics at UC Berkeley where she is involved with a variety of extra-curricular activities. She is a junior consultant at Berkeley Consulting, a professional, student-run consulting firm and has experience as a rotational intern at Microsoft Corporation.
Soccer and refereeing in particular have provided Suhani with lessons and opportunities that will help her to succeed both personally and professionally and have given her the skills necessary for navigating through life.
Cal North wishes Suhani the best of luck in the selection process for US Youth Soccer Young Female Referee of the Year!