National Referee Profiles

  • Name: Aruna Ranaweera
  • Hometown: Residence in San Francisco (born in Kandy, Sri Lanka)
  • How did you get involved in officiating? When I was a graduate student at UCSB, the President of the Santa Barbara Rugby Association, Ken Jacobsen, requested that I get registered to referee local games.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: USAR Men’s college D1A Final 2012 (BYU v Arkansas State)
  • Favorite referee: I don’t like referees.

  • Name: Tim Luscombe
  • Hometown: Newcastle, ENG
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I saw the need for referees in my area and answered the call.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Aspen or Cayman Islands
  • Favorite referee: None

  • Name: Marc Nelson
  • Hometown: Denver, CO
  • How did you get involved in officiating? A friend I played with in college thought it would be a good way to still hang out and be involved in the game.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Aspen Ruggerfest
  • Favorite referee: Chris Pollock

  • Name: Brian Zapp
  • Hometown: Boulder, CO
  • How did you get involved in officiating? After injury, my high school rugby coach signed me up for the referee course and got me out to one of the society monthly meetings. Turned out I really enjoyed still being an athlete in the game I love only now in a different position. I still love it every time I step onto the pitch. The bigger the game the better the feeling.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Pan Am Games – Guadelajara, Mexico. Brand new stadium, sold out stands, hundreds of TV feeds, and we had some fun reffing some great rugby.
  • Favorite referee: Tony "Spreaders" Spreadbury, because he reminds us of one of the most forgotten parts of being a good referee: having a good character for the game.

  • Name: Mike Kelly
  • Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
  • How did you get involved in officiating? As a player I felt like I knew the game just as well or better than the referee's. After a post-match discussion with a referee, I was challenged to take my Level I test. After I passed, the EPRRS tricked me into doing high school matches on Sunday's until an injury ended my playing career. After that, I had no where else to go...
  • Favorite location or tournament that you have officiated in: Tokyo, San Diego, Thanksgiving NYC 7's, and the CRC 7's in Philadelphia.
  • Favorite referee: That's a loaded question!

  • Name: Nick Ricono
  • Hometown: San Diego, CA
  • How did you get involved in officiating? Always knew I would end up refereeing, but took an injury to push me out of the nest in 2004.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Ireland
  • Favorite referee: Luke Peirce

  • Name: George O'Neil
  • Hometown: Pacifica, CA
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I was asked to ref a game when the ref did not show and it stuck. That was 4 years ago.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: San Diego
  • Favorite referee: Steve Walsh

  • Name: Kurt Weaver
  • Hometown: Pickerington, OH
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I took the Level 1 looking to learn more about the game, and fell in love with it.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Las Vegas 7’s
  • Favorite referee: Jonathan Kaplan

  • Name: Leah Berard
  • Hometown: Stevens Point, WI
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I was recruited as a spectator on the sidelines by Tammy Cowan. I had stopped playing due to injury and had no reason why I shouldn't give reffing a try.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Singapore 7s.
  • Favorite referee: It’s a tossup between Tom Lyons and Nick Ricono.

  • Name: Phil Akroyd
  • Hometown: Sacramento, CA
  • How did you get involved in officiating? Too many big injuries and I wanted to stay in the game, as well as stay fit. After watching the 2007 6 Nations, I decided I was missing Rugby too much, so I emailed NorCal refs. There was a Level 1 course two weeks later, so I became a ref.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: CRC in Philadelphia.
  • Favorite referee: Nigel Owens

  • Name: Ed Gardner
  • Hometown: Pasadena, MD
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I had a double compound tibia and fibula fracture when I was playing rugby. After that I picked up the whistle and started officiating.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: South Africa, Japan, Belgium
  • Favorite referee: None

  • Name: Derek Summers
  • Hometown: Tulsa, OK
  • How did you get involved in officiating? By accident, I stopped playing after my 2nd serious shoulder injury and one Saturday I was asked (more like told) to referee my old club NSU when the ref didn’t show. I was in khaki shorts and a t shirt, and used a self defense whistle that someone's girlfriend had, which ironically wasn’t very loud.
  • Favorite location or tournament to referee in: Its hard to beat Aspen Ruggerfest, the mountains, the teams, the rugby. If you have never been, you are missing out!
  • Favorite referee: Steve Walsh, I really like how he has had his highs and lows but has made it back to the top.

  • Name: Josh Houston
  • Hometown: Patchogue, NY
  • How did you get involved in officiating? It was required that every club have two certified referees. I drew the short straw...
  • Favorite location or tournament that you have officiated in: I love refereeing at the Moose Grounds in Elkhart, IN.
  • Favorite referee: Me, but Nigel Owens is a close second.

  • Name: Scott Green
  • Hometown: Wellington, NZL
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I wanted a new challenge after I finished playing rugby.
  • Favorite location or tournament that you have officiated in: My couch.
  • Favorite referee: Steve Walsh and Nigel Owens.

  • Name: Haylee Slaughter
  • Hometown: Oxford, FL
  • How did you get involved in officiating? I plead insanity.
  • Favorite location or tournament that you have officiated in: Life, Cayman, USA Club 7s Championships
  • Favorite referee: Dana Teagarden and Nigel Owens

  • Name: Miles McIvor
  • Hometown: Hamilton, NZL
  • How did you get involved in officiating? Like many people who get into refereeing, the body got tired of taking a beating each Saturday. I stopped playing but always wanted to stay involved with the game, refereeing was the obvious choice. It was at that point (after 20 years of playing) that I began to learn the laws.
  • Favorite location or tournament that you have officiated in: Turks and Caicos
  • Favorite referee: Steve Walsh, the guy is a legend.