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President’s 2024 Message

By Brian Brennan

At the beginning of each New Year, we speak with one another about what we would like to accomplish before the start of the upcoming football season. Generally, it goes something like this; get in shape, get an early start on the rules and mechanics, and make sure the uniform looks good. As an “early warning,” another area to get a head start would be to update Arbiter and circle on your calendar the in-person instructional dates. All worthwhile accomplishments but sometimes our expectations and our results do not match up.

There are more “points of emphasis” and each of us will address them in our manner. But one thing is for sure, the 2024 season promises to be more compelling than any in the recent past. While it is true that we have overcome the “Covid” season and its aftermath, there are many new hurdles. We are experiencing firsthand the retirement of experienced officials creating many openings. This is the natural order, and it is expected to allow younger officials to move up. However, with this movement comes the responsibility that accompanies this evolution. As the younger officials move up so does their responsibility to come into each new season with a deeper understanding of both the rules and mechanics. They should also have refined their communication skills so that working with coaches and other officials becomes more natural and less of an emotional strain. As an official accumulates experience his or her face and actions become known. It is incumbent to monitor one’s actions when “on campus” as well as when on the field. All of us are the “face” of the Orange Country Football Official’s Association and as such we have a responsibility to represent the association knowing full well our actions have consequences.

This upcoming season will see Flag Football in full swing with its own assignor, instructional chair, rating chair, and fee structure. Flag Football is an association within an association and will remain so throughout the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Come the end of the 2025 season the OCFOA membership will vote on whether to fully absorb Flag Football within the OCFOA or to allow Flag Football to embark on its own and become both a self-sufficient and singular association. The current OCFOA Board has lots to due to position the Flag Football segment so that it can succeed regardless of whether it stays or leaves. It should be noted that Flag Football while catering to young high school women throughout the county it may very well branch off to incorporate a “boys” division down the road. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Most of us leave work to get to our afternoon or evening games. Traffic isn’t showing any signs of lessening so be prepared to “outsmart” the normal congestion points and get to your games on time. On-time doesn’t mean 5-10 minutes before an afternoon kickoff. The minimum should be 20-25 minutes so that you can go over the most pressing of matters before kickoff. As for evening games, our guidelines call for arriving 90 minutes before kickoff. Some crews get together two hours before so that they have ample time to get in the “right” frame of mind to officiate. The lack of preparation will lead to failure.

Before any of us experience the first kickoff of the 2024 season we will notice a change in Crew White Hats reflecting the “aging out” of some of our officials. There will also be upwards of several dozen crew vacancies filled with new faces. In other words, there will be lots going on before the first whistle blows or the first flag falls. Knowing this, now is the time to get into the rules and mechanics materials, attend study groups, and seek 7-on-7 or flag tournaments to work on getting yourself ready.

And did I mention the league realignment throughout Orange County with the one exception, the Trinity League? From what we have seen so far, the realignment will lead to many more competitive games demanding our best-efforts week in and week out. The so-called “mismatch” while always possible should be less likely in 2024. When league play begins the games will become even more intense and demand our absolute best.

And for all the new officials joining the OCFOA – welcome aboard. Don’t hesitate to contact me, any of the board members, or possibly another official you may know to help you navigate these early days. The OCFOA membership is proud of our tradition of “excellence in officiating” and we invite all our new officials to become part of this tradition. The first kickoff is getting closer by the day.


Should you have any questions please drop me a line at

Brian Brennan


Orange County Football Officials Association