In conjunction with Father Christmas Cup, Inc. and In Memory of Rick Johnson, this scholarship program seeks to promote the recruitment, retention, and recognition of qualified officials in our local soccer community. The “Rick’s Refs” Scholarship Fund will contribute towards an individual’s cost of official recertification and equipment, based upon their game participation levels and recognition by referee mentors and supervisors.
Richard Scott Johnson (Rick) passed away November 19, 2021 at the age of 52. During his childhood years, Rick developed what proved to be a lifelong love of soccer, to which he excelled. He played in his youth successfully earning regional All-American honors at Scotch Plains Fanwood high school in New Jersey. His playing career continued at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro where he won a soccer national championship in 1987 and runner up in 1989. Most would have hung up their cleats after college, but Rick continued playing in many amateur recreational leagues throughout his adult life, including ADASL, Roswell Adult Over 30 & Over 50, and Silverbacks Park. Some of his best friends came from his club team Vintage Genesis (VG Forever) where Rick continued to play at a competitive level, some would say too competitive, as many yellow cards were accumulated each season.
In fitting tribute to Rick’s overly competitive regard for the game and all the backchat to the officials, his family and incentivize referees to continue their often-thankless jobs. Although Rick was known for his consistent complaints to every referee after every foul called against him, he did grow to appreciate and respect the officials that give their time to the game he loved to play.
For the inaugural year, referees who regularly officiate for Roswell Soccer Club and Alpharetta Soccer Club are eligible. Scholarship recipients will be selected from officials who work a minimum number of matches and are recognized for outstanding effort by their mentors and supervisors. As this program develops success and popularity, we anticipate that other local clubs and assigners will be added.
"Rick’s Refs" Scholarship Fund Committee Members:
- John Jackson, Referee Assignor for Roswell Soccer Club and Alpharetta Soccer Club
- Steve Bevilaqua, Certified Referee, Rick’s friend and teammate
- Mike Balsamides, Rick’s friend and teammate
- Madelaine Johnson, Rick’s wife and family representative
- Jeb Smith, Secretary-Treasurer for Father Christmas Cup, Inc., Rick’s friend and teammate
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