Cadillac Star Stays on Pitch as Rising Referee

By Tom Spencer
Special for

September 14, 2020

There are very few female referees available to officiate high school soccer in northern Michigan.

But for Bill Anderson, a registered assignor who schedules officials out of the Cadillac area, there has been Little.

Alexus Little that is. And he’s darn glad he’s had her for 15 to 20 games each boys fall and girls spring seasons the past four years.  

“I think her greatest asset is a natural ability to stay calm and see the entire field,” Anderson said.  “She has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to take a moment and see how things play out before blowing the whistle or raising the flag.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Lexi from the beginning and watch her develop, and gain confidence in her ability.”

Little, a former four-year player at Cadillac High School who graduated in 2017, loves officiating the game she has played since she was an 8-year- old.  She started officiating with the Michigan State Youth Soccer Association. Anderson assigned her those matches as well.

“It is the most fun job I’ve ever had, and it is super convenient for varying schedules,” she said. “You get to learn more about the game of soccer, watch plenty of games, stay active, and meet a ton of referees that share the love of the game and may have even officiated your own games.”

Little, a big challenge for high school defenses as a striker, sees herself in almost every girls soccer player she refs.

“When I played I was a center striker so my playing style was pretty scrappy and aggressive, yet still heavily based on footwork and constant runs with my teammates,” she said. “I see players like me all the time during the girls season.”

Anderson recalls her playing days similarly.

“She was a no-nonsense, hold-her-ground type of player who wasn't afraid to play with her back to goal and challenge defenders to come get her,” Anderson recalled.  “More than once I blew the whistle and received a little dirty look from her, because she felt she could have kept going despite being fouled.”

As a senior, Little earned Division 2 all-state honorable mention. She now attends the University of Michigan. COVID-19 is allowing her to stay home, go to school and earn money refereeing fall soccer. She also refereed in the Ann Arbor area during her freshman year of college.

“I love to stay involved with soccer,” she said. “I’ve been doing it since middle school, and it's a fun and active way to earn some money. 

“Being a referee also allows me to pick up games that fit my schedule.”

Little is among a just a handful of female soccer referees in the northern Lower Peninsula, that group also including Grand Traverse Area Soccer Association members Josephine Arrowood and Amanda Field. 

“It can be a bit intimidating at times,” she said.  “Most referees are men, so I feel like I lack authority in the eyes of the players/coaches/parents as a young woman, and even more so during boys games where most of the players are much taller than me. 

“But, there have been several instances where I have received compliments from coaches or spectators passing by after a game related to being a young female officiating because they claim to not see that very often and would like to see more of it.”

Anderson agrees.

“When doing a boys game, I think there is still a general tendency to see if the female is up to the challenge,” he said. “However, she doesn't let that bother her and it doesn't take long for others to realize she is more than capable.”

Little gets a lot of satisfaction out of the game of soccer and recommends others get involved in officiating.

“The types of games where I am very glad I’m a referee are the ones where I get to watch crazy talent and skill from players I never would have seen play otherwise,” she noted.  

Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Alexus Miller inspects the nets with officiating partner Jeremy Barrett before a game this season. (Middle) Miller checks her watch during a break in the action. (Photos courtesy of Tom Spencer.)

Performance of the Week: Trenton's Chloe Wishart

April 11, 2024

Chloe Wishart headshotChloe Wishart ♦ Trenton
Junior ♦ Soccer

Trenton is off to a 3-0 start this spring, and Wishart is playing a leading role. She scored four goals in a 6-0 opening win over Gibraltar Carlson, then two more in a 3-0 victory over Riverview that was a rematch of a Division 2 District Final from a year ago. She added another pair of goals in Monday’s 4-0 win over Allen Park. Wishart also had three assists through the team’s first three games.

After earning a Division 2 all-state honorable mention as a freshman, Wishart missed most of last spring with a knee injury and played only a few games at the end as the Trojans finished 15-3-2 and reached the Regional Finals. She’s providing a major boost back at full strength and with a bit of a positional switch into more of a scoring spot as she previously played near the back of the midfield. Trenton improved to 4-0 with a 3-0 win Wednesday over Brownstown Woodhaven and was ranked No. 4 in Division 2 in this season’s first coaches association state rankings posted this week.

@mhsaasports ⚽️POW: Chloe Wishart #soccer #trenton #letsgo #goal #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports ⚽️POW: Chloe Wishart #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #tangled #chickfila #beyonce #vampirediaries #nighttime #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

March 28: Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)