Our Purpose & Calling
S.O.S was founded a vision with 6 key elements, with no idea how God was going to use this ministry. In four years God's grace, power, and love have revealed fulfillment of these 6 elements in so many ways and we remain committed to these things!
Unity & Fellowship
S.O.S believes the key to succeeding in Christ's mission for our lives is coming together as one body. We believe Jesus needed the 12 disciples not because Jesus actually needed them, but HE knew HE would be leaving and needed a group to continue on the mission. We need community for accountability, encouragement, fellowship, and support. The only people who know exactly what the life of a sport official is like is a fellow sport official.
Marked For Growth
S.O.S whole heartedly believes that each person is MARKED for God's glory and has a purpose. Here at S.O.S we desire to help each other grow into our MARKED lives, including our spiritual growth.
Very few will reach the Pro's or NCAA Division 1 levels, but that doesn't mean officiating is not your purpose. Sport officials have all been blessed with a passion and unique skills to be involved the way we are in Sport. So while you're striving to move up levels, or are content with where you are at, there is still more. As Christ followers we believe the passions and skills we are given are specifically for serving God's kingdom and spreading the gospel. So let us come together and grow personally so that we can prepare to live the MARKED lives we were called to live. S.O.S believes the source of that growth will be through our mentors in the Bible and our relationship with Jesus.
A strong relationship with Jesus leads to change as parents, friends, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, employees, bosses and SPORT OFFICIALS.
Service to Fellow Officials
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up." Romans 15: 1-2
Typically, we think of mentoring as developing new officials in their desired sport to become better officials. However, at S.O.S that is not the only way we are called to serve and mentor. Life as a sport official comes with many challenges, not only within the game, but also in our personal lives. Since there is no one else besides a fellow sport official who knows the difficulties we face, we must be there to support, encourage, and lift one another up.
Fulfilling the Competition Triad
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15: 5-6
Our God is 3 in 1. However, so is our sport. Competition is the perfect balance of 3 forces coming into each other through sport and competition. Players, Coaches, and Officials must work together to create an environment where competition, sportsmanship, and joy thrive.
While most Sport Ministries focus on the players and coaches, it seems that officials are constantly missed out. But at S.O.S we believe that is nobody else's responsibility but ours, as a body of Christ. Yes, sport officials sign up to do what we do knowing the implications that the job title entails. Oftentimes, we as sport officials can come out of an assignment feeling defeated and "slaughtered," in a sense. But like Jesus, the role we play is bigger then that and provides us an opportunity to live humbled lives. Jesus came to serve those who were persecuting Him. So we too must always humbly serve the specific sport that we work, as well as the players and coaches that are apart of it. This is not a call to be walked all over, rather a reminder for Jesus followers how we are supposed to treat each other, even those who "persecute" us.
Jesus came to reconcile and redeem relationships. For there to be change in how coaches, players, and referees interact, we must live as Jesus lived. This must start through unification of the body of believers. Therefore, S.O.S seeks to build bridges through fellow ministries to begin developing a more perfect Triune Competition.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." Matthew 5:13
S.O.S knows first hand the realities of how short handed local and regional officials associations are. The shortage of officials in some areas is threatening the existence of youth and interscholastic sports. Not only is the staple of many youth's lives affected, but those officials who are committed and have continued must now pick up the slack.
S.O.S. alone doesn't have the solution, but we know know that the place to start is with Jesus and in prayer. Many States being affected have attempted to throw money and benefits to the problem. Forced reconciliation has been tried, and even rules have been altered to try and limit abuse. However, none of those things have worked nor will they work long-term. The more money thrown at the problem creates more and more pressure and expectation. What hasn't been tried? Jesus..
Making officiating attractive and respected is standing up for something bigger than ourselves. It's leading a life that deserves respect and creates a platform that is attractive. There is nothing more attractive than the opportunity to build relationships and impact the community, locally and globally through sport.
Referees Going Global
"As the Father has sent me, I AM sending You!" John 20:21
S.O.S. doesn't just want to be impactful locally. We are looking to partner with organizations that make a global impact as well. It is our goal to be a financial supporter of local athletes, coaches, officials, or family and friends of officials seeking a life of missions; whether one trip or a committed life to the field. We also understand nothing builds relationship and community like a mission trip. S.O.S. will strive to create opportunities for local S.O.S. members and their families to join together to experience the gospel globally. To build bonds outside of officiating.
S.O.S also wants to recognize those sport officials around the world who have an even tougher environment to work in due to religious persecution and heavy abuse of officials in different parts of the globe. We are committed to seeking ways and opportunities to be a support to officials and their families that have been greatly affected by these forces.
What does S.O.S stand for?
Sport Officials Surrendered
What Do We Do?
- Strive to unite fellow sports officials who are followers of Christ Jesus
- Support each other as we all endure the challenges of being a Sport 0fficial
- Hold each other accountable to living a life dedicated to Christ
- Make ourselves known As Christ followers while serving as Referees/Umpires/Judges/Officials
- Engage in service to our communities
- Stand by our fellow sport officials, believer or not
- Seek to bring the Good News locally, nationally, and internationally
Who Should Be Considered a Sport Officials Surrendered Member?
- Any sport official, believer or not, rookie or veteran
- Family members, spouses, or friends of a sport official
- Players and coaches
- Fans of sports as a whole
- Those who disagree with the existence of referees
"Just as the Triune God wouldn't be whole without the Son or the Spirit, Sports wouldn't be whole without sports officials."
My name is Daniel DiFolco and I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ. I have been involved in sports officiating since I was 12 years old, while growing up outside of Denver, Colorado. I began refereeing youth basketball in my free time because of my dad's recommendation, as I was the athlete that every official disliked. From there it became a fun job and a hobby that paid better financially than any other part time job my friends had. My growing interest had compelled me to continue in other sports including: volleyball, flag football, and even tee-ball.
However, there was a time after my playing days were over, that I realized the impact that officiating had on my life. The biggest contribution was relationships. Officiating built friendships, introduced me to many mentors that are still a huge part of my life and success, and brought me many others who have lead me into this desire of uniting us all in Jesus' name.
Founders: Dan & Alicia DiFolco
We now live in Olympia, Washington where we have planted roots and have began growing our family. I'm a carpenter by trade and a forever student as I am pursuing dual masters degrees in Social Work and Divinity. Alicia is a certified Registered Dietitian and is the other cornerstone of my life, as my partner in Christ. She is one of the biggest reasons S.O.S has began. As a referee, I only work basketball and have been blessed by many opportunities to work from the varsity level, all the way up to Division II. I am blessed to be a part of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC), Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), Northwest Conference (NWC), and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).
These opportunities alone are proof of God's power and fulfillment of His promises for those who walk in faith, regardless of our imperfections and shortcomings. The officiating journey is full of amazing blessings, but it can also get us sidetracked from why we are truly here on this earth. S.O.S. is the product of the calling to bring God into every area of our lives, for His ultimate glory. S.O.S. is the opportunity for us as sport officials to unite in our God-given skills and passion in order to spread and promote the Good News. Officiating sports has brought me to places I never pictured being, and being with and around people I never thought I would be with. Sports alone has the power to break down barriers in society, and help unite people in the midst of the hardships that life throws at us. If sport does this without Jesus, I can only imagine what it can and will do when we let Jesus be apart of it.
There are amazing Sports Ministries all over the world, but there is a hole that needs filling. Just as the Triune God wouldn't be whole without the Son or the Spirit, Sport wouldn't be whole without sports officials. It is my desire to bring sports officials together who are sold-out for Jesus and fill in the gap that is missing in sports ministry. As we do that, I believe the relationships between players, coaches, and fans will be healed and redeemed. We will finally create a bridge of empathy and understanding between all parties, not on our own accord, but through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. It is my hope to unite the body of Jesus-following sports officials and together, take steps towards more officials and mended relationships.
I pray that through this fellowship, the power of Jesus transforms not only the sports we all participate in, but transforms the lives of those who engage in them. While I may not know what lies ahead for sport officials, or even sports as a whole, I do know and am sure of the eternal life that is to come after for those who believe.
S.O.S believes the key to succeeding in Christ's mission for our lives is coming together as one body. We believe Jesus needed the 12 disciples not because HE actually needed them, but HE knew HE would be leaving and needed a group to continue on the mission. We need community for accountability, encouragement, fellowship and support. The only people who know exactly what the life of a sport official is like is a fellow sport official.