U.S. Soccer

U.S. Soccer Referee Crew in Full Swing at 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup

Selected as match officials for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, U.S. Soccer FIFA Referee Jair Marrufo and his fellow crew members, U.S. Soccer FIFA Assistant Referees Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell, are documenting their journey through India.

Learn more about the crew’s journey to India, what it’s like to be a referee at the world’s top youth national team tournament.

Greetings from Kolkata, India once again. It is hard to believe, but the three of us are now entering Day 20 in India. It has continued to be all business since our arrival. Unless we are traveling or on the field refereeing, we have watched most of the 36 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup games that have been played so far here in India. Every night, Jair, Frank, and Corey have gathered in Corey’s room with two TV screens watching the four games per night. We discuss each game, but our discussion is more than “Should that be a yellow card?” or “Should that be a handball?”  Jair has us focusing on, “If that happens in our game, how will we communicate on the microphone to each other? Will our flag go up in that situation? What will we say to keep us all focused during the game?” We discuss and come up with the optimal way to communicate in key match situations in case the same situations happen in our game.

Speaking of games, we have had two assignments so far. We were assigned to Germany vs. Iran in Goa and Iraq vs. England in Kolkata. In the picture above in blue, Jair is giving us final instructions just minutes before we take the field for our first game. In the picture at the top of the article, we are on the field for the national anthems of Iraq and England. We are happy with our performance in both matches but look to improve each game and be ready if/when our name is called for another assignment. The FIFA Technical Staff continues to keep us prepared with daily physical training sessions and video clip review of key incidents (positioning, penalty area incidents, offside, etc.) from each game.

Once the 36 group matches were concluded, we had our first rest day of the tournament. We started the day with a recovery session workout in the hotel pool – no complaints from us! Then, we put on our casual clothes, and were taken for a sightseeing trip in Kolkata, stopping at one of its most famous tourist sites, the Victoria Memorial. 

We had quite a crowd gather as we got off the bus as everyone (even the security guards) wanted to take our picture or take selfies with us. We were then ushered into a special entrance to tour the grounds. Pictured is the scene as we exited the bus at the Victoria Memorial.

Finally, I included some pictures from our travels to our games. All referees travel in casual clothes so we do not draw unnecessary attention. We did encounter some flight delays, so during these delays, Corey catches up on work, Frank catches up with a good book, and Jair catches up on sleep J.

Thank you for everyone’s kind support and messages from back home in the United States. We read every one of them. We hope to continue to perform well and make everyone cheering for us proud.

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Oct 18, 2017