Kermit Quisenberry began his refereeing career around age 14 in Louisville, Ky for Soccer Association for Youth (SAY). His youth soccer coach Kent Powell told all his players the league needed referee’s and that they were to become certified and be assigned 8 matches. If there was interest to continue officiating after this introductory period, then the league would pay cash game fees. In February 1985, Kermit received his USSF grade 8 certification, and thus began his career with US SOCCER. During his high school years, he worked youth games on Saturday, and Amateur games on Sunday. In 1989, Kermit upgraded to a grade 7 Referee.
While in college, Kermit worked matches on the weekend when his busy class schedule allowed him to do so. It was at this point that he started working collegiate matches and traveled the Midwest with his parents and brother, officiating at various youth soccer tournaments. In 1989 he became a referee instructor, helping him become better versed in the laws of the game and to remain current on any law changes.
From 1988 to 2004 Kermit participated as a referee at Youth state cups, youth regional championships, amateur division level championships, and then in 1990, he attended the first ever ODP regional camp for referees in Ames Iowa.
In 1991, Kermit upgraded to a grade 6 state referee, and in 1996, he upgraded to a grade 5 state referee. He was selected to referee at the 1996 Snickers Youth National Finals along with 15 other referees from across the United States.
Kermit graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and a Master of Arts in Sports Psychology. In 1997, Kermit relocated from Kentucky to Florida to work for the Jacksonville University Sports Medicine department. In 1999, Kermit became a National Referee and in 2000, he was appointed to USASA National Finals.
In 1994, Kermit began his career working professional soccer matches as an Assistant Referee in the USISL. But, in June 1996, Kermit was appointed to his first ever Major League Soccer (MLS) match between the Columbus Crew & the Kansas Wiz in Columbus Ohio. Major League Soccer was just two months old and more than 16,000 fans inside Ohio Stadium were treated to a thriller, which eventually went in Kansas City’s favor, after penalty kicks.
Thousands more were watching on television and were unaware of the “nervous” rookie assistant referee who was working on the touchline.
Kermit impressed more than enough people and 22 years later, he announced that he was going to the field for the final time, and would later join PRO as an AR coach. During his professional league career, Kermit worked 271 MLS league games, highlighted by 4 US Open Cup finals, 2 MLS cup finals, and was named MLS Assistant Referee of the year in both 2008 and 2013. In May of 2018, Kermit’s illustrious on-field career came to a close when he retired from being an Assistant Referee at the Professional level.
From 2004 to 2013, Kermit represented US Soccer on the FIFA Panel as an Assistant Referee. He represented the US on numerous FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and CONCACAF events. In 2008, he was honored with 4 other Americans to represent the US and CONCACAF at the Beijing Summer Olympics. At the Olympics he assigned with fellow US FIFA referee Jair Marrufo for three games, including a men’s quarterfinal, when Lionel Messi’s Argentina beat the Netherlands 2-1 after extra-time.
Kermit has said, “To be one of five people chosen to represent our country, it was a great honor. “Jair and myself, when we prepared for each match, whether that be in the hotel or on the train, we talked about how we wanted to do things and I still remember that.
“It’s hard to explain and it’s hard to put into words being on a field with those type of players, and it’s a feeling where you’ve got respect for them and you’re not wanting to let them down – which kept us motivated. “It’s something that gives me goosebumps every time I think about it.”
Despite the thousands of offsides and fouls that Quisenberry has called during those award-winning seasons and international call-ups, a game that stands out in his mind is one that very nearly didn’t take place.
Mark Geiger and Sean Hurd were his fellow teammates in a CONCACAF Champions League fixture on a particularly wet day. “We went to inspect the field that morning,” Quisenberry remembered. “It was underwater. “We laugh about that, because there was no possible way that they were going to get the field ready for a match on that same night, but they did. “So, that’s another favorite moment of mine, of how you have to prepare regardless. You have to almost know that these things are going to happen and that you’ve got to have a positive attitude that things are going to come out for you.”
Kermit’s accomplishments also extend off the field to include his appointments as an instructor at numerous US SOCCER referee clinics and USYS events. In 2013, he was designated by US SOCCER as a national referee coach, serving as such since that time. Kermit was appointed as the fitness instructor at the 2014 Under 20 women’s CONCACAF world cup qualifying tournament. Recently, Kermit has served as the keynote speaker for the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA), 2019 Referee Summit in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently a member of NISOA’s National Clinician Staff.
When away from soccer and school, Kermit enjoys spending his time with his wonderful and supportive wife Laurie, and their amazing children. Kermit and Laurie first met in 2004 and have been married since 2011. Kermit accredits his success to his family in Kentucky, as they spent many hours on the road with him. He also accredits his success to the support of his wife and children. Without them, his soccer officiating goals and accomplishments could not have been made a reality.
With a referee career that Kermit Quisenberry has experienced, he has to this date, the distinction of being one of the two most accomplished Florida soccer referees in the history of FSR/FLSRC.
By virtue of his work at the International Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, Kermit Quisenberry automatically meets the criteria for induction into the FLSRC Hall of Fame for the year 2020.