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U.S. Referees Selected for Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers

CHICAGO (May 18, 2004) - U.S. Soccer learned this week that organization's Referee Department will be well represented when the next phase of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region begins in June. After already participating in the start of qualifying play for Germany 2006 earlier this year, the U.S. Soccer Referee Department and the Federation’s referees will have seven referees, three assessors and one commissioner working six games during the preliminary competition which commences the second weekend in June.

Kevin Stott, in his 10th year as a FIFA referee, will lead a four-person U.S. crew during two matches. Coming off a year in which he worked the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the FIFA World Youth Championship in United Arab Emirates, the California native will lead the June 12 match between Mexico and Dominica in Aguascaliente, Mexico, at Estadio Victoria, and the Haiti-Jamaica match on June 27 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. Stott was involved in two earlier qualifying matches this February, handling the whistle in one match and serving as the fourth official in another.

Working alongside Stott in Mexico will be assistants Robert Fereday and George Vergara, and fourth official Ricardo Valenzuela. In Miami, Stott will have an entire new crew with assistants Chris Strickland and Craig Lowry, and fourth official Ali Saheli working with the man in the middle.

In addition to those on the field, three U.S. Soccer representatives will serve as referee inspectors, including two members of the U.S. Soccer Referee Department. U.S. Soccer Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast and Manager of Referee Development and Education Alfred Kleinaitis, along with fellow inspector Vincent Mauro will each handle at least one match. Kleinaitis will work two first stage matches, Panama-St. Lucia on June 13 and Bermuda-El Salvador on June 20. Baharmast and Mauro will handle one match each, with Baharmast inspecting the Dominican Republic-Trinidad & Tobago game on June 13 and Mauro handling the match between St. Vincent/Grenadines and Nicaragua on June 20.

As the lone commissioner from the United States, Joseph Machnik will handle the Dominican Republic vs. Trinidad & Tobago match.

Additionally, when the U.S. Men's National Team takes the field against Grenada on June 13 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, the all-Canadian crew of referee Mauricio Navarro, assistants Hector Vergara and Simon Fearn, and fourth official Bogdan Stanescu, will be the officials for the match.

All of the referee assignments were handed down this week from FIFA Director of Competitions Jim Brown in Zurich, Switzerland.

U.S. Soccer Match Officials for CONCACAF First Stage Qualifying
June 12-27
June 12: Haiti vs. Jamaica – Kevin Stott (Referee), Chris Strickland (Asst. Referee), Craig Lowery (Asst. Referee), Ali Saheli (Fourth Official)
June 13: Dominican Republic vs. Trinidad & Tobago – Esse Baharmast (Inspector), Joseph Machnik (Commissioner)
June 13: Panama vs. St. Lucia – Alfred Kleinaitis (Referee Inspector) 
June 20: Bermuda vs. El Salvador – Alfred Kleinaitis (Referee Inspector)
June 20: St. Vincent/Grenadines vs. Nicaragua – Vincent Mauro (Referee Inspector)
June 27: Mexico vs. Dominica – Kevin Stott (Referee), Robert Fereday (Asst. Referee), George Vergara (Asst. Referee), Ricardo Valenzuela (Fourth Official)