80-year-old referee officiates last game after 40 years on the pitch

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Saturday’s City Girls Soccer Junior College Championship game at North High School between Castle and Memorial had some history in the game.

John Catt, 80, celebrated his last game as a referee on the pitch.

“One day I’m 80,” Catt said. “At 79, I was still fine, so I can still move a bit.”

Catt has been an umpire since 1983. He says it started when he was picking up games when other officials didn’t show up.

“It’s part of life, just be flexible, go with the flow,” Catt said.

Catt always loved what he did, even through the rowdies.

“Once in a while you get a game that someone gives you a hard time, but it’s still fun,” Catt said. “You ignore them, everyone else does.”

Catt was honored ahead of Saturday’s game for his years of service and said he was happy to pass on the baton.

“It actually feels good, but the best feeling is what you do for the kids,” Catt said. “That’s what’s important.”

Catt says his morning routine has kept him on the pitch for years now.

“I often get up in the morning at five in the morning to go work out at the gym to stay in shape to keep up with these kids,” Catt said.

The Newburgh Recreational Soccer League planner and mentor doesn’t plan to stop that anytime soon.

“I’m always going to play recreational soccer,” Catt said. “I will not give up.”

His advice for those looking to match his time on the pitch? Keep on going.

“Don’t let the fans and coaches get to you, keep enjoying what you’re doing,” Catt said.

After the game during the post-game celebration, Catt received a special gift, a custom-made bobblehead from a photo of himself.

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