Ref retiring after four decades.
Soccer ref to retire after 40 years on job
“HE UNDERSTANDS THE GAME BEING PLAYED WITHIN THE GAME.”
LEO MOSCONE ON FRANK PAVICIC
His tall, slender physique and unflappable nature remains unmistakable on local soccer fields, but after four decades of upholding the laws of the game Frank Pavicic will hang up his referee’s whistle at the end of this summer.
The 72-year-old has been described as a fixture on the local soccer scene, but Pavicic jokes he really knew that was true in recent years.
“I started out refereeing games involving the grandfather, then the son and now it’s the grandson,” laughs Pavicic. “It’s been a long time, but I still love it.”
It’s been 40 seasons to be exact.
During that time, Pavicic has witnessed the evolution of the local game and been in the middle for much of it.
“Local soccer has really changed over the 40 years,” said Pavicic, who was one of the founders of the Croatia Club in 1962. “It used to be arranged along all ethnic lines because there were so many immigrants coming here.
“Now, it’s not like that. There are still some of the ethnic clubs involved, but kids come from all over.”
It was those youngsters arriving from Croatia that finally convinced Pavicic to trade his soccer boots for a referee’s whistle in 1972.
“The younger guys were coming over from the old country and it was hard to compete with the 21-year-olds,” Pavicic said. “It was time to step aside.
“I had done some high school games and enjoyed it, so I thought refereeing was a way to stay in the game.”
Pavicic eventually worked his way up to become a Level 1 referee. His reluctance to travel outside the area with three young children and working for General Motors and later Chrysler, from which he retired, kept him from advancing further up the provincial ranks.
“I was happy doing the local leagues,” he said. “It would have been too much to travel.
“I always joked my wife (NADA) was already a widow to three sports — soccer, bowling and bocce — without me travelling to officiate.
“Now, that I’m finishing refereeing, I’m thinking about taking up golf. I’m not sure she knows that yet.”
Though his long career was limited geographically, it was rich with wonderful experiences.