Carmel Man Scores Himself a Dream Gig as Major League Referee
Most people only dream of doing certain things in their life, while others are lucky enough to not only dream it, but achieve it. For Robert Sibiga of Carmel, he turned a career ending injury into his life-long dream job.
It all started about 10 years ago, when Robert Sibiga's soccer career was cut short with severe knee injuries. Knowing that it was very likely that we wouldn't be able to play the sport he loved, he turned his attention to the next best thing. He got his certification and became a High School Referee.
Patch.com reports that during a game, Robert caught the attention of a senior referee administrator named Enrico Romano, who encouraged him to sign up and ref with US Soccer. In just a short time, Robert was refereeing games in the local East Hudson Youth Soccer League and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association, then he made the big jump, and was one of the officials used for the US Youth Soccer’s national championships in 2010 and 2011.
Sibiga told patch.com:
I have been working extremely hard and went to every possible tournament in the United States to gain experience. It worked for me but the sacrifice was great, much bigger than people would imagine.
His hard work and determination finally paid off, as Robert made it to the big leagues in 2014, when he was assigned to ref in the MLS. He started with just a handful of games during his first few seasons, but now is up to 20 games so far this season, and on August 1, he was given a full time referee contract. Needless to say, he's leaving his real estate job, at least for now. Robert says it's tough to juggle the two jobs because being a full time referee is a lot of work.
It is virtually impossible to find time for another job once you become a full-time official. Every day training, three-day camps twice a week, games every weekend and the travel associated with it.
Robert does thank his family for being so supportive of his demanding schedule.
My family is the foundation my career is built on and my anchor to stay humble and appreciate every day.
When he's not handing out red or yellow cards on the field, Robert is busy training the next generation of Pro Refs as part of the Eastern New York and the Hudson Valley Soccer Referees Association.