The way Terri Potter sees it, the longtime high school soccer official gets paid to run.
But aside from getting plenty of exercise, Potter also earned Ohio’s most prestigious honor for her 34-year career running up and down soccer fields.
The Temperance, Mich., resident was named the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s official of the year for girls soccer.
“It’s a passion when you get out there,” Potter said. “You’re not looking for recognition, but it’s nice that they appreciate your efforts. It’s nice when [coaches] want you to do their matches, but really, I get paid to run.”
Potter was among 18 referees to be named active officials of the year by the OHSAA for their respective sports for both boys and girls contests.
Potter said the award was the result of hard work and a lot of years she has devoted to the sport and its young athletes.
“It’s loving the game of soccer and trying to give something back to the student-athletes,” Potter said.
Greg Kuehnle, who is president of the Northwest Ohio Soccer Officials Association, said Potter is a highly regarded ref in the area.
“She’s done many tournament games and top-level games, not just girls but also guys games as well,” Kuehnle said.
He said Potter was singled out from among 90 to 100 officials in his organization. “For her to maintain that top level for so many years is impressive,” Kuehnle said.
Potter, who grew up in Toledo and attended Central Catholic High School, said she played sports before the introduction of Title IX.
Potter said she played intramural sports at Central, but those weren’t sanctioned by the OHSAA at the time.
“There are a lot of nice things out there now [for young female athletes],” Potters said. “I get a little envious, but I like being involved with the young kids. It’s quite a challenge.”
Potter said she went on to play for the first of three seasons for the University of Toledo women’s basketball team in 1974.
She started reffing basketball games through the Catholic Youth Organization. She said she was a basketball official for 16 years, officiating at the high school and small college levels.
“I met people who were starting up soccer. They knew I liked to run and I knew about officiating and dealing with people, and that’s how I got into it,” Potter said.
Potter, an NCAA soccer official for more than 20 years, said she has officiated in 13 regional and state title games and more than 90 sectional and district contests.
Potter estimates that she has officiated 45 games per season, or about 1,530 contests during her 34-year career.
“We will do doubleheaders with both the junior varsity and varsity games,” Potter said.
Kuehnle said Potter has volunteered for the Northwest Ohio Soccer Officials Association for many years. “She has done everything for us,” Kuehnle said.
Potter said she enjoys traveling across the state. “You see different teams, and you see quite a bit of talent,” Potter said.
She also said she has gotten to work with a lot of interesting people. “They are now friends. We get together and share stories,” Potter said.
Aside from officiating, Potter is an accomplished musician. Potter, who earned a bachelor's of music education degree at UT, plays the flute and piccolo. She has performed with the Toledo Symphony in various productions, including Music Under the Stars at the Toledo Zoo.
Potter is currently a veterinarian technician. She will embark on her 35th season of officiating this fall.
“I’ll do it as long as it’s fun and challenging,” Potter said. “I enjoy doing it. It’s the camaraderie of all the officials. Soccer people go until one of their knees goes out.”
Contact Mark Monroe at:
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