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Ricky Nelson Selected as 2018-19 Referee of the Year

USQ announces the referee of the year for 2018-19 season: Ricky Nelson

Now in the fifth season of the program, the Referee of the Year award is selected from the 2018-2019 Referee of the Month recipients. The Referee of the Month award is open to all US Quidditch-certified head referees. The winner of the Referee of the Year Award is determined based numerous considerations, including but not limited to; the number of games officiated in both head referee and lead assistant referee positions; evaluations from coaches, other referees, and tournament directors; and any additional contributions to the sport. The Referee of the Year Award comes with a commemorative plaque and a travel reimbursement for US Quidditch Cup 12.

USQ is proud to select Ricky Nelson as the 2018-2019 Referee of the Year. Nelson has been one of the most active and highest-reviewed officials in the league this season, with more than 40 games under his belt. Nelson maintains an average rating above 4.5/5 in evaluations from coaches, players, and fellow officials, and is consistently praised for his communication on the pitch and his noteworthy ability to maintain control of the game.

A three-time winner of the Referee of the Month award, Nelson has been a highly respected official for many years. His officiating career began eight seasons ago, during his time as a player for Maryland Quidditch. He has officiated at every US national championship since World Cup V in 2011, and has shown consistent improvement every year since then.

Nelson attended three regional championships this season; the Mid-Atlantic, West and Southwest Regional Championships. In addition to working as a head referee, Nelson is also a certified snitch runner. He is widely regarded as a key component in helping tournaments run smoothly, due to his ability and willingness to work games as a head, lead assistant, or snitch runner in order to help make scheduling easier. Nelson also serves as a field test proctor for both referees and snitches, in addition to his role on the USQ Rules Team in making changes to the rules so that they may improve the experience of both the players and the officials.

In reflecting on his development as an official, Nelson credits the other early referees he found himself surrounded by at the University of Maryland: James Hicks, Sarah Woolsey, Josh Marks, Erin Mallory and Sam Medney. “Having so many referees in one place bred an environment both to support me and push me to get better among my peers,” he says. Nelson’s principles as an official are inspired by Theodore Roosevelt—“his political ideology to speak softly and carry a big stick embodies the idea that a referee should be confident in their position, but not make themselves the center of the game by throwing around their power.”

The highlight of Nelson’s career so far occurred at a tournament he attended at Arizona State University in January 2018. He flew out to Arizona on short notice to help make the tournament possible, and in return, he was not only well received and respected by the teams on the pitch, but was also shown a level of hospitality that impressed and inspired him.

Members of USQ’s Referee Team are eligible to be selected for the award. However, any member who is up for discussion as a potential winner is required to recuse themselves from the conversation to avoid potential conflicts of interest. In addition, any Referee Team member who is selected as a Referee of the Month is not eligible for the US Quidditch Cup travel grant.

For questions about the Referee of the Month or the Referee of the Year program, please email