Soccer Hall of Fame
Class of 2008
Paul James III
Paul James has been one of the most
dedicated servants of North Carolina soccer for close to
three decades … and yet the contributions continue.
Every aspect of the game in the state has felt his impact
– youth, adult, high school, college and professional.
The impact has not been minimal. It has been felt at the
most mundane level – in the day-to-day work of soccer
officials – and on the wide plain of state and national
events – where philosophy and politics are often at
play. It is an impact that has helped to shape soccer in
Born in Philadelphia in 1959 to Dr.
Paul M. James Jr. and Janet Edith Lewis James (now Honecker),
Paul’s family moved to Winston-Salem in 1969, where
Paul attended Summit School and Forsyth Country Day School.
He attended Duke University from 1978 to 1982, graduating
cum laude with departmental distinction in history and honors,
and the UNC-CH School of Law between 1982 and 1985, graduating
with a Juris Doctor degree.
Admitted to the North Carolina State
Bar in 1985, Paul served in private practice with firms
in the Triad area between 1986 and 2003. In 2003, he moved
into the public sector as a senior assistant public defender
and won the Harvey Lupton award for best criminal defense
lawyer in Forsyth County in 2005.
Paul started his referee career in
1974 in Winston Salem. Beginning in 1981, while a student
at Duke, in addition to officiating, he served as referee
assigner for the Central Carolina Youth Soccer Association
and joined the Triangle Intercollegiate Soccer Officials
Association. He remains active as a high school game official
and has refereed five boys State high school championships.
Paul became a United States Soccer Federation National Referee
in 1990, a USSF National Assessor in 2000 and assumed Emeritus
National Referee status in 2000. In 1990 he became a National
Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association National Referee.
He served as an official in the professional ranks in the
In 1982, Paul was appointed as State
Youth Referee Administrator for North Carolina. Together
with other referee leaders he shares the credit for helping
the North Carolina referee program to become one of the
finest in the country. Hallmarks of his contributions include
introduction of the area referee administrator role and
development of mentoring and training programs to nurture
and support young referees.
Paul was appointed as principal assigner
for the TISOA collegiate soccer group in North Carolina
in the mid ‘90’s and still holds the position.
Currently he is the director of officials for the Southern
Conference, the Big South Conference and the South Atlantic
Conference. He has refereed the semi-finals of the Division
I NCAA women’s tournament twice.
Paul’s contributions to soccer
have not remained unnoticed. NCYSA honored him in 1995 as
Referee of the Year, in 2001 as the Tom & Linda Mosier
Service Award recipient and in 2002 as a Pioneer of the
Game. In 2006 NCYSA elected to permanently name its Young
Referee of the Year awards in his honor. In addition, in
2001 TISOA presented Paul with its William Utter Service
Award and in 2007 the North Carolina High School Athletic
Association honored him as the recipient of its Dick Knox
Distinguished Service Award.
An observer of Paul’s contributions
to North Carolina soccer wrote that Paul joined North Carolina
soccer as a young man in the early ‘80’s, full
of energy and enthusiasm, and that his devotion to the game
never flagged in the years that followed. There always appeared
to be two primary dimensions to his life – a devotion
to the practice of law and a commitment to serve soccer.
The two dimensions have been equal beneficiaries, each receiving
a full-time devotion of time and attention, albeit at different
times of the day and week. While all levels of soccer have
benefited from Paul’s devotion to the game, it is
youth soccer that may stand as the primary beneficiary.
Paul ranks as the longest-serving member of the NCYSA Executive
Board, having served without a break in time for 25 years
as SYRA and, for a significant part of the time, as the
unofficial legal advisor of NCYSA. It is unlikely that anybody
will ever match him in length of service.
Always identifiable on the pitch
… and off … by his red hair, Paul will be remembered
for all time for his clear, decisive approach to officiating