Some of those supporters include major collegiate soccer coaches, state representatives, and even the Indiana Soccer Association, and it's all due to the young athlete's determination to work his first job as a soccer referee. Now, he's taking his fight all the way to Indianapolis. "Matthew Burkart has been playing soccer since he was six, and those who know him say it's a sport he is passionate about. "Outstanding young man. He plays in our mid-field. He's very intelligent. He's very helpful and likes to get other kids involved, so he's always on the spot with things," says Burkart's coach Steve McCollough. Thirteen year old Matthew Burkart has been scoring goals on the soccer field for years now, but now he has another goal in mind.
"I was making the decision on becoming a referee and I was ready for it. I took these online classes and I watched videos. I took notes and stuff to get ready for it. Then finally I get a call saying I can't do it. I was a little dishearted," says Burkart. After Indiana child labor laws ended his hopes of refereeing, he decided to do something about it. "I started writing a letter out and I guess my dad thought it was all right, and so we kept going on with it. It got better and better until finally we seen it off to Senator Becker."
With a local lawmaker in his corner, the thirteen year old took his fight all the way to the state capitol with high hopes to change the law. It took courage, determination, and most importantly passion, obviously a winning combination. "Watching him up there in front of a committee of twelve people and watching him give a presentation and hand out this binder of information, I was clearly a very proud of him," says Burkart's father Bob. "I took a couple of deep breaths and I was like here we go. I just said it and I guess it was very well, and they liked it," says Burkart. Burkhart's proposal made it all the way to the floor of the Senate where it passed a committee unanimously. "If all of this goes through i'm going to be super happy. I'm going to be really excited. I'm going to become a referee. I'm going to help ref little kid's games. Im going to learn a lot more about soccer that I don't know and learn how to become a better player," says Burkart. "If he goes out there and starts refereeing, I will be cheering very, very loudly," says Burkart's sister Emily. His heart is in soccer, but after this legislative experience, he's ready for politics if things on the field don't pan out.
This week the Senate voted ten to zero to approve Matthew's bill. Now it will have to pass through the house one more time, and Senator Becker tells me she's feeling positive it will.