Inducted February 3, 2017
Ryan is a Jenks High School and Northeastern State University graduate. He played for Jenks Soccer Club and that’s where his referee career launched. He began refereeing at Jenks Soccer Club when each team was required to provide referees. He grabbed a few of his teammates and went to the 08 Referee course. Cigich has since ascended to the level of National Referee (Emeritus).
Ryan has officiated nearly 2,000 youth, amateur and professional matches since 1986, including more than 700 at the collegiate level. Cigich’s referee experiences are vast and monumental.
Some of the many areas he has participated in are:
- NCAA National Coordinator of Soccer Officiating
- US Soccer National Referee
- US Soccer National Assessor
- MLS Referee Coach
- MISL Director of Officials
- Region III Referee Administrator
- President of Eastern Oklahoma Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association
- OSSAA Rules Interpreter and High School Assignor
- NISOA National Referee
- Sooner Athletic Conference Assignor
- Oklahoma Soccer Association Board Member
- Area Referee at Jenks Soccer Club
Cigich attributes his success to those individuals who helped and counselled him along the way. He feels that one of his greatest contributions to the game is giving back, mentoring and providing opportunities for other referees just as his mentors did for him. Some of the mentors and encouragers in his referee career include Milo Slater, Richard Brook, Russell Staurovsky, Paul Scott, Gus Colessides, Steve Siomos, Wayne Ewing and Ed Michaud.
Among Ryan’s many professional achievements and accomplishments he is also a graduate of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He currently lives in Chicago and is a Worldwide Account Manager with FedEx.
Inducted February 3, 2017
Paul was born in Lawrence, Kansas. His family moved to Tulsa in the mid-seventies. He is a graduate of Tulsa Edison High School and Langston University. Paul’s children Alex and Nik were both soccer players. Nik’s U12 team won a State Championship. Nik is continuing to immerse himself in soccer, currently pursuing a degree at The University of Oklahoma with hopes of working in the management of soccer upon graduation.
It has been said that “Cream doesn’t rise to the top; it works its way up.” Well, when speaking of Paul Scott’s career we can certainly say the same. In the late 1970s Paul began refereeing in the Tulsa area to earn a few extra dollars and soon realized that there was an opportunity to make a career out of the game. Forty years later…he has indeed made an extraordinary career of it. His accomplishments and experiences encompass everything from the grass roots level of refereeing up to the international level. His most recent accolade was being named CONCACAF Manager of Refereeing.
With a career as vast as Paul’s, you can imagine the stories he has to tell! In an interview for PRO he recalls one such moment, “Another highlight was being on David Beckham’s first game with the Galaxy, versus Chelsea. I was AR1 and there was a mob of reporters along the sideline. The next morning as I sat down for my flight home I noticed my seat-mate reading the LA Times and there on the front page was a picture of me and Beckham. I was shocked and immediately pointed to the photo and said to the guy, ‘Hey that’s me! I made the front page and didn’t even commit a crime!’”
Another memorable moment was doing the 2013 MLS Cup Final and the All-Star game. Scott recalls, “Being the first to have done both in the season and experiencing the mental toughness required to this double.”
As with any great career there are many people behind the scenes supporting and encouraging growth. Paul is grateful for all who have supported him along the way, particularly his parents for helping him with the obstacles that being a single parent presents. Other crucial referee mentors were Peter Aradi, Robert Scott, Russell Staurovsky, Richard Brook, Manny Ortiz Sr., Bill Schofield and Frank Jewell.
Reflecting back on his MLS career, in humbleness, Paul is quoted as saying, “I’m just a ref who did my job, to be prepared for each match to the best of my abilities. Off the field, my only goal was to be a role model to the newer referees to live what it means to be a professional.” Advice for upcoming soccer generations? Paul encourages all to “embrace the passion and joy of this game. Find a way to participate as fan, player, ref, owner, and/or administrator. And then work at passing your passion on to the next generation.”
Inducted February 3, 2017
Geron grew up in an Air Force family that relocated often. He started life in Waco, Texas. After graduating from The University of Oklahoma and serving four years in the Navy, Geron is proud to call Oklahoma home. He has two daughters. Molly, who is a nurse at St. John’s Tulsa, played soccer throughout her youth, was named OSA Youth Referee of the year in 2003 and played college soccer at Oklahoma City University. Jamie, a Surgery Tech at Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, also played youth soccer and went on to play collegiately with her sister at Oklahoma City University.
Geron first became involved in the game of soccer when his daughter Molly began playing U6 in the fall of 1990 and he’s never looked back. By 1994 he was hooked and volunteered to coach Molly’s team. Geron has gone on to coach while holding many Broken Arrow Soccer Club offices such as Club Secretary, Newsletter Editor, Games and Discipline Committee, Small Sided Initiative Committee member, Field Day Coordinator, British Soccer Camps Coordinator, Director BASC U5 Program and BASC Kickstart 4U Program Director.
Since the mid-1990s Geron has coached multiple teams for games and practice. Some teams have “reluctant coaches” that facilitate games while Geron coaches practice. His assistant coaches often continue coaching the teams after they no longer practice with Geron. Typically Geron has 65-100 players he coaches per season. With this many kids he always gets the parents to help with all facets of the teams. In the Fall of 2016 he had 10U, 8U and 6U boys teams as well as the 4U program.
With his impressive and extensive history on the administrative side, Geron believes his greatest contribution to the game of soccer has been “teaching lots of children that soccer is something everyone can do and that you can have fun doing it.” He is also known at BASC as a coach mentor, recognizing how important it is to continually bring new coaches into the game. When asked who were his soccer mentors he is quick to give accolades to Suzi Page (inducted to the OSA HOF 2009), Keith Ash (inducted to the OSA HOP 2013) and Mike Vincent (with British Soccer).
Recalling memorable events from his soccer history Geron pauses remembering the multitude of events then he recalls standing on stage in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, at the US Youth annual Workshop, being recognized as the Region III Boys Recreational Coach of the Year and wondering “how did this happen?” Another favorite memory was “under 5 at the end of the first session, where there is a parent out there for every child, I had for the ending activity that kids kicked the ball through their parents’ legs, then crawl through their parents’ legs, then go to the next parent and do the same thing. Then I had the parents do the same thing, but they had to do it only once through their child’s legs. The looks on the parents' and children’s faces were priceless. I yelled GO and the laughter and giggling that broke out was wonderful!”
Through the years immersed in the development of soccer in Oklahoma, Geron has developed the philosophy of “Make it fun! Everyone, especially parents, can contribute in some way.” He also sees getting people to help as the biggest obstacle he has had to overcome, and one of his biggest successes. He encourages adults to get involved…”a little time goes a long way if there are others that help out too.”