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Deleana Quan, Caleb Mendez, Kristen Salazar and Danny Thornberry

Expanding Platinum Program Field Gains International Experience

U.S. Soccer’s Platinum Program is in its second cycle as some of the country’s top referees continue their progression manning matches in the Development Academy and on the international front.

The second half of the 2013-14 Academy season is getting back into full swing, but in between regular-season games, Platinum Program officials had an opportunity to gain some international and high-level Academy exposure at the 2013 Nike International Friendlies and Academy Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

This season’s class has a fairly even split among those focusing as referees (five members) and assistant referees (four members). Alex Chilowicz, Bernhard Hosu, Elvis Mahmutovic, Caleb Mendez and Kristen Salazar make up this season’s head referee class and Ramon Bermudez Jr., Kathryn Nesbitt, Deleana Quan and Danny Thornberry are on the assistant referee track.

This exclusive group came from a list of 405 applicants.

Here is a rundown of some of the officials’ duties from the 2013 Nike International Friendlies and their recent accomplishments:

Caleb Mendez was the head referee of England’s 4-3 victory against Portugal at the Nike Friendlies on Dec. 13. Mendez also was a fourth official during Brazil’s 2-1 win against England. He has been involved in Academy matches for several seasons, earning Academy Referee of the Week honors during the 2010-11 season.

Alex Chilowicz, who was a fourth official during the U-17/18 title match of the 2012-13 Academy Finals Championship last July, worked as a fourth official during the 2013 Nike Friendlies. During the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team’s match against Portugal on Dec. 9, Chilowicz was called upon to take over head official duties in the second half of that match.

Bernhard Hosu was a fourth official during the Nike Friendlies, working the Dec. 11 match between Brazil and Portugal. Hosu has been involved in the Academy for several seasons, earning Academy Referee of the Week in 2011-12 and just last year working as the fourth official in the U-15/16 title match of the 2012-13 Academy Finals Week Championship at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

Among the assistant referees, Danny Thornberry has already had an impact in Academy play and internationally, having previously worked at the 2011 Nike International Friendlies. At the 2013 event, Thornberry was an AR for the Dec. 9 game between the USA and Portugal and the Dec. 13 England-Portugal match. In 2012-13, Thornberry was recognized as an Academy Referee of the Week. He also was the fourth official in the title game of the U-15/16 Academy Finals Week Championship in 2012. In August of 2013, Thornberry was an assistant referee for a match between Italian clubs Juventus and Inter Milan.

Deleana Quan had a busy slate as an assistant referee during the 2013 Nike Friendlies, serving in that capacity for the Brazil-Portugal match on Dec. 11, and the Dec. 13 game between England and Portugal. Quan is a former Academy Referee of the Week during the 2010-11 season, and this past year she held assistant referee duties during the semifinal round of the 2013 NWSL campaign.

Ramon Bermudez Jr. was an assistant referee in the U.S. U-17 MNT’s Dec. 11 match against England and Brazil’s victory against England two days prior. Among his previous involvement, Bermudez was an AR at the U-17/18 championship of the 2012 Academy Finals Week between the title winner FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Kathryn Nesbitt was an assistant referee during the U.S. U-17 squad’s match against Portugal and the Dec. 11 USA-England game at the Nike International Friendlies. She also was an assistant referee throughout the 2013 NWSL season, and earlier that year Nesbitt was an AR when the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Scotland 3-1 on Feb. 13 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. Nesbitt will be working at the 2014 U-17 Women’s NTC Invitational in February, featuring the U.S. U-17 WNT, China PR, Japan and New Zealand.

Kristen Salazar was a fourth official during the Dec. 13 Nike International Friendlies game between England and Portugal. She was a referee during the first National Women’s Soccer League season in 2013.

Elvis Mahmutovic was the fourth official for the U.S. U-17 MNT’s match against England. Mahmutovic was a frequent referee during the first season of the NWSL.

2013-14 Platinum Program Class:
First-Year Members:
Referees: Alex Chilowicz (Wayne, N.J.), Bernhard Hosu (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), Elvis Mahmutovic (St. Louis, Mo.), Caleb Mendez (Miami, Fla.), Kristen Salazar (Miami, Fla.)
Assistant Referees: Ramon Bermudez Jr. (The Woodlands, Texas), Kathryn Nesbitt (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Deleana Quan (Fair Oaks, Calif.), Danny Thornberry (Chestnut Hill Grove, Md.)

Second-Year Members:
Referees: Cedric Adams (Tampa, Fla.), Elie Aguilar (Lewisville, Texas), Richonne Clark (Milledgeville, Ga.), Marcos DeOliveira (Sunrise, Fla.), Lance VanHaitsma (Boynton Beach, Fla.)
Assistant Referees: Apolinar Mariscal (Chula Vista, Calif.), Eduardo Mariscal (Chula Vista, Calif.)

The U.S. Soccer Platinum Program is an intensive training program for a select number of male and female referees and assistant referees. Participants in the program attend approximately six national training events per year, acquire experience in amateur and professional matches and participate in regular webinar training. Participation in the program is under the guidance of a local mentor and U.S. Soccer Referee Identification and Training Department staff.