Nobody likes referees, and it's fair to say Major League Soccer officiating -- like that all over the world -- could be better, but the ratings fans provide on certain referee-centric Web sites are nuts.
Consider MLSRefs.com, where Southern California's Kevin Stott gets 1½ stars out of 10. It's only 38 votes, and the comments are a blast:
“How do you sleep at night knowing you’re getting paid to fail at your job? Please do the only honorable thing and fall on your own sword.”
“Please go play in some traffic.”
“You are the reason I’m beginning to believe soccer needs to have booth reviews and challenge flags like football. … I don’t know what your problem is, but your bias is very clear.”
“You are an absolute disgrace. I am outraged by your mockery of the sport.”
Fortunately for Stott, the coaches, players, GMs and media think more highly of him. The 43-year-old whistleblower learned on Friday he's MLS's Referee of the Year for the first time.
Stott, who attended Brethren Christian High School when the campus was in Paramount, deserves high marks for his calming influence on proceedings and a measured approach to discipline. He issued only two red cards in 17 games this season, the fewest among officials who worked at least 15 matches.
Stott had been a finalist seven times previously, including last year, when Alex Prus won the award.
Craig Lowry is MLS's Assistant Referee (i.e. linesman) of the Year.