LISBON - National Soccer Referee Tad LeVac has called over 600 regular season college soccer games and 75 postseason matches including five NCAA finals since 2002.
He has a open invitation from Camp Director Bill Reed to attend the Section 10 High School Preseason Skills and Conditioning Camp at Lisbon Central School and comes and speaks to the campers whenever he can.
On Wednesday, he opened his presentation to the campers by saying that Lisbon Central will also be a special place for him because it was the site of one of the big breaks of his officiating career.
A break which he capitalized on with the help of some makeshift tayloring.
In 1996 he was a probationary high school official and came to Lisbon with a fellow official Bill Dyke to watch Lisbon play Harrisville.
When one of the officials, Tom Corneau, suffered a torn achilles tendon LeVac was asked if he had a whistle and if he wanted to fill in.
“I had a whistle but I didn’t have a pair of pants so they pinned Tom Corneau’s pants on me and I did the game. I worked the game with a future New York State Hall of Fame Coach in Rick Bearor of Harrisville and a great coach in Lisbon’s Bruce Richardson,” said LeVac while standing on the field which is now named for Coach Bruce Richardson.
“I felt I earned their respect that day and earning the respect of coaches is the most important thing in officiating.”
LeVac, who is now the President of the Lieutenants Union in the NYS Department of Corrections, went on to call Section 10 games until 2000, to call games in Section 3 when he moved to Syracuse in 2001 and began to officiate at the college level in 2002.
The 1987 graduate of Norwood-Norfolk Central and 1990 graduate of Mater Dei College in Ogdensburg now calls NCAA Division I Soccer in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Ivy League, the Atlantic 10, the America East, the Sun Belt and the MAAC and independent colleges.
He told the story to emphasize his message to the campers: be committed, take advantage of every opportunity and be ready to do anything possible if you feel you have a chance to excel in the sport of soccer.
LeVac cited the High School Skills and Conditioning Camp as an opportunity which the campers can use to their advantage.
“You are learning from a great staff here. You will have a higher soccer IQ when you finish the camp,” said LeVac.
“Make sure you share the information with players who weren’t able to come. And make sure you to thank your parents and everyone who made it possible for you to attend the camp.”
LeVac also advised the campers that they can better themselves as players by their demeanor on the field.
“Don’t yell at an official over a call. If a player speaks properly to me, I will always take time to answer them if I can.”
“When we call a game, the book is the book. We honor the book.”
5 OFFICIALS SIGNED BY ACC, IVY LEAGUE
Five Section 10 officials who are well known for “honoring the book” have been signed by the ACC and Ivy League to work games as Assistant Referees.
Jim Myers, Mike Girard, Mark Pepin, Mark McCormick and Jeff James were also signed by the conferences after attending an ACC clinic with LeVac this summer.