After 17 years of committedly serving in the Liberia Football Referee Association, as a FIFA-badged referee, Jerry S. Yekeh, on Saturday, 22 May formally announced his resignation from being an active match official in Liberia to unite with his family in the United States. Yekeh’s pronouncement came as a bit of surprise to some sports fanatics all across the country. A lot of them feel that the resignation of the FIFA referee will leave a big gap in the referee association of Liberia.
It was also an emotional moment for most of his colleagues, especially the emerging young referees whom he had mentored over the period. As part of honoring the veteran referee for his long-standing and tireless service while controlling the whistle, the Liberia Football Referees Association (LIFRA) held a send-off party for the old hand at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on 22 May. Yekeh, who has been a FIFA-badged referee since 2009, won the Orange 2019 best referee of the season in the First and Second divisions at an awards night at the Monrovia City Hall on 2 November. After announcing his resignation over the weekend, Yekeh on Tuesday, 25 May left Liberia to enjoy life with his family abroad. Liberia Football Association (LFA) President Mustapha Raji thanked Yekeh for his service to football.
“Yekeh has been one of our outstanding referees, flying the Liberian flag internationally. It is now a challenge to see who will replace him when the season ends and that person will be in a challenging position to live up to the standards Yekeh set and be more than him,” said Raji, who was flanked by Vice President Sekou Konneh (Prof.). LIFRA President Joseph Kollie (His Honor), who is also LFA executive committee member, praised Yekeh for his ability to impart knowledge. “Some of us don’t like to share our knowledge. We often say we suffered to learn or we learned the hard way so others must suffer like us but Yekeh was not like that.
He was always willing to share his knowledge. He has impacted many of the young referees you see today,” said Kollie. LFA secretary-general Isaac Montgomery will officially inform the United States Soccer Federation that Yekeh is now a US resident and to allow him to continue his profession as a referee. “You were always around to teach us [the] LOTG [laws of the game]. You were my LOTG interpreter, no one else but you. I learned from you and can now interpret to others. “You trained me to take over from you. Thank you for educating me. I can’t teach without referencing you. You took me to places. FIFA, all the best as you move to the USA. Keep your phone on. Will still consult you. To God be the Glory,” Montgomery wrote on Facebook on 25 May.