Protect the Game, a non-profit committed to certifying military veterans and their families to become sports officials, announces its 2024 nationwide training schedule. More than 15 unique training opportunities spanning six sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Softball, Volleyball and Wrestling) will be offered in 2024.
For each training, veterans and their family members will go through a multi-day teaching with experienced officials and trainers. PTG will provide a starter kit of officiating equipment/uniform and will connect certified officials with assignors for immediate earning opportunities.
"We're delighted to reveal our 2024 training schedule, marking a significant stride in expanding our reach across various sports and regions," said Patty Harsch, President of Protect the Game. "As the shortage of certified officials affects youth and high school sports, leading to game cancellations, our mission gains even greater significance. We're dedicated to equipping military veterans with the training they need to become skilled officials, offering them the opportunity to contribute their expertise while simultaneously addressing the nationwide shortage of qualified officials. It's a dual-purpose initiative that underscores our commitment to the sports community and our honored veterans alike."
Veterans who execute the training and certification process through PTG are eligible for funding assistance from Battlefields2Ballfields. B2B was founded in 2017 by Mike Pereira, former rules NFL analyst on FOX Sports broadcasts and longtime football official, who took inspiration from conversations he had with military veterans struggling to find a path in civilian life. Over time, B2B has established a scholarship fund to help veterans gain a foothold in the world of sports officiating.
The dwindling number of qualified officials has hit crisis level, as youth and high school sporting events around the country are being altered, and at times canceled, due to the lack of officials. PTG believes military veterans have displayed the established skills and situational awareness to thrive as a sports official, finding a natural fit with the knowledge of rules and concepts of teamwork.
Since our inception in 2019, PTG has empowered more than 180 veterans and their families through certification. In the remarkable year of 2023 alone, PTG achieved the certification of 92 officials following training sessions held in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Nevada, and Texas. This achievement not only highlights our commitment to expanding our impact but also underscores the growing presence of certified officials nationwide.
If a military veteran and his/her family member(s) are interested in attending a training please contact Jordan Cohen to sign up at Jordan@protectthegame.com or by filling out this form.