Ron Cory Celebrates 750
Each week fans across the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) cheer on their favorite players and teams. Forgotten in the discussions of highlights and player achievements is the performance of the third team on the field, the referees. As he looks back on a career spanning 26 years and 750+ games, Ron Cory wouldn’t have it any other way.
Current MASL Head of Officials, Ryan Cigich said, "Ron is a talented referee who continues to set standards for others to follow, he has been a great asset to the indoor game for many years."
The league’s most experienced referee, Cory has been part of arena soccer since 1991 when he broke in as a Fourth Official. In 1992 he got his big break and first experience on the floor of a game. Originally he was assigned as a third official, who sits in the Penalty Box and acts as a second set of eyes for the two referees on the floor. When the assistant referee was unable to make it into Kansas City, Cory was given a promotion and was part of the two-man referee crew for the Kansas City Attack vs Dallas Sidekicks game that night.
The next year, long-time referee coordinator Steve Siomos started handing more and more assignments to Cory.
“He helped me so much in this game,” said Cory. “He taught me that this game is a lot more about player management than the outdoor game. I was honored every time I got the call to do a game.”
By 1994 Cory found himself doing 40-50 games per year from all across the country. That year, he and Siomos were assigned to do Game 1 of the NPSL Championship between the St. Louis Ambush and the Cleveland Crunch. Following that spirited match, both coaches requested to have Cory and Siomos do the remaining games in the series. The league agreed and Cory worked all three games in what he recalls as his most memorable playoff experiences.
Since that playoff year, Ron Cory has worked in every single playoff season, a total of over 60 playoff games. He has worked in every generation of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the National Professional Soccer League, National Indoor Soccer League, Xtreme Soccer League and now the MASL.
As a referee, he knows that sometimes his position is one of the least thankful on the field. He expects no recognition other than the respect of his peers. That’s why he was more than excited one night after a game to be stopped by a young fan.
This fan came to him with a small card and a marker, asking for an autograph. He was humbled to be asked, but then he saw the card. It was a Topps Player Trading Card special edition, one of only seven created featuring NPSL referees, and it featured none other than a young Ron Cory.
Cory bought that card from the fan (he actually had two and was happy to give it up) and kept it with him the remainder of his trip. The card now resides in his home, along with several other memories from his years of service, like a season ticket booklet from the Clevelad Crunch where Cory is shown prominently.
He enjoys being involved in the sport, but tries his best to not be a factor in the game. He was given some rare time off from assignment this past weekend. He spent that time watching multiple games, some one MASLtv and some in person. He studies players, teams and strategies to help him anticipate his own positioning for every game he works.
“It’s not about the money,” said Cory as he reflected on his career. “It’s about the passion from the fans, the players and everyone involved in this game.”
On February 12th, Cory worked his 750th game as an arena soccer referee. He has remained a consummate professional and enjoyed nearly every minute of every game.
“I love working and I try to treat every game as if it could be my last, but if I can, I would love to keep doing this for at least five years…or more.”