A New Royal Palm Tradition: Coaches Vs. Referees Soccer Game

Team coaches Mal Hasan and Fernando Casal. Photo by Ana Casal

On Friday, April 26, the Katz Soccer Complex in Royal Palm Beach was the venue for a new annual athletic tradition in the western communities — the second annual Coaches vs. Referees soccer game, organized by the Royal Palm Beach Strikers and Royal Palm Beach Soccer Inc.

A crowd of more than 400 younger players, friends, fans, family members, fellow coaches and other referees were in attendance to watch both teams compete. A total of 39 participants — 24 coaches and 15 referees — competed in the game.

The head coach for the Coaches team was Mal Hasan, who is also the head coach of the boys varsity soccer team at Royal Palm Beach High School and the coaching coordinator for the Royal Palm Beach Strikers program. The Referee squad was headed by longtime local referee Fernando Casal, who is a member of the Soccer Referees of Palm Beach County.

For the second-straight year, the Coaches won the game. This year’s score was 2-0. The two goals for the Coaches were scored by Micah Santiago and Matthew Cruz.

According to Hasan, the game symbolizes the positive camaraderie that exists in the Royal Palm Beach Strikers soccer program.

“The game was started to cultivate fun and appreciation for our coaches, referees and fans,” Hasan said. “This is just another event that exemplifies the family culture of our soccer program.”

The Coaches won last year’s game, too, 5-3.

Prior to the kickoff of this year’s game, members of the Royal Palm Beach High School band played the national anthem.

The referees for the match were Richard Miller and Karl Ferguson.