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Brockton’s Cavaco making his mark on the pitch as a referee

Jordan Cavaco, left, won the national young referee of the year award.

Jordan Cavaco, left, won the national young referee of the year award.

Assumption player polishing skills as ref

Any college soccer player would thirst for the opportunity to play at the professional level. Not Jordan Cavaco . A freshman at Assumption College, Cavaco hopes to find himself working on a pro pitch in the future, but as a referee, not as a player.

“People call me crazy, but that’s just the path I’ve decided to take,” said Cavaco, a 2012 Thayer Academy graduate who grew up in Brockton.

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“I have a passion for refereeing the game of soccer. Everything’s been working out for me to follow my dream.”

Earlier this month, the 19-year-old Cavaco was honored as National Young Referee of the Year by US Youth Soccer. The award represents a key developmental goal for Cavaco’s desire to advance up the soccer officiating ladder.

“It was a great honor and it hopefully opens the door to more opportunities,” said Cavaco, whose eventual goal is to officiate at the MLS level. “My goal is to work at that level and to officiate those games.”

He has been officiating games since age 12, when he realized there was a strong need for referees and that he could earn extra money. He started out at the Grade 9 level, the entry point for the US Soccer Federation. Cavaco is certified at Grade 7, which allows him to officiate high-level games at the youth level, as well as amateur contests.

Last year, he worked as a line referee for the championship game of the Bay State Soccer League, a premier adult amateur league. In 2011 he officiated in the Region 1 Presidents Cup, and last year he attended the Referee Developmental Academy. To date, he has officiated 700 games.

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Cavaco did not see playing time on the men’s soccer team at Assumption this past fall. Aside from playing at Brockton High and then Thayer, where he repeated his junior year, Cavaco suited up for two years at the club level (FC Blazers).

“When I’m on the field as player and there is a situation when a referee is making a decision that impacts the game, I try to look at it from their standpoint and understand what they are calling,” said Cavaco.

“I can definitely say I’ve learned from some calls and of course there have been others that I didn’t agree with. Although I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes along the way, too.”

His next goal: to referee at the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Kansas, in March. Cavaco can usually be seen refereeing games at the Bridgewater Sports Complex during the summer and when he is home on break.

Cavaco said he likes the challenges of working the field, as well as the ability to demonstrate his knowledge of the game and interact with players and coaches on the field. That was on display when he refereed one of Assumption’s intersquad games during the preseason.

“He came out with his full ref kit and refereed the game and everyone was blown away by his presence, personality, and his ability,” said Assumption coach Ryan Levesque.

Levesque said that Cavaco showed great poise for one of the toughest calls referees face, deciding whether to allow a play to continue after a foul has occurred if the team possessing the ball has a chance to move into scoring position.

“To take the half-second needed to assess the situation and not make the call immediately is very difficult to do and he did that incredibly well,” said Levesque. “Blowing the whistle in that situation is one of the most contested calls for coaches.”

And Levesque hopes that Cavaco will suit up for the Greyhounds next fall.

“I’ve told Jordan that if he applies the same discipline he uses for refereeing to his training on the field as a player, that he’ll do very well,” said Levesque.

Court and track stars

Weymouth’s Sarah Collins  reached another milestone for the Babson College women’s basketball team, pulling down the 1,000th rebound of her career in a 75-36 NEWMAC victory over Coast Guard. A senior captain, Collins became only the fifth player in school history to reach the milestone with her 11-rebound, 10-point, 6-block performance. The 6-foot-2 center leads Division 3 with 16 double-doubles. Babson (17-2, 12-0 NEWMAC) is ranked No. 22 in the USA Today polls. . . .

Pembroke’s Matt Devine  was named Player of the Week in the Massachusetts State College Athletic Association after averaging 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks in a 2-0 week for Westfield State. The 6-foot-7 senior center scored 23 points and recorded 14 rebounds and seven blocks in a 70-65 win over Salem State. He has recorded four double-doubles this season and averages 11.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Devine is shooting 54 percent from the floor, including 68 percent (30 of 44) in his last five games. . . .

Rockland’s Terrence Gibson, a sophomore at Worcester State, was named the MASCAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Week after placing first in the 60 meters (6.99 seconds) and the 200 meters (23.03) at the MIT Co-Ed Invitational. Gibson also set a new school record in the 60 meter hurdles (8.46) and qualified for the All-New England tourney.

John Johnson can be reached at jjohnson49@comcast.net.

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